Given that half the people on the planet will experience, have experienced, or are experiencing menstruation, it’s surprising that there are still so many myths and misconceptions surrounding periods. Thankfully, many of the taboos that have historically made it difficult for women to talk and learn about their periods have been broken in recent years. As a result, it’s easier than ever to understand period problems.
Yet the myths persist. This article will offer some insight into six common myths about menstruation to dispel some of the most harmful of them and make it easier for girls and women to understand what’s happening to their bodies.
Myth #1: Inserting Tampons or Cups Breaks the Hymen
Historically, an intact hymen has been considered a sign of a girl’s virginity, which used to be linked to her marriageability. While there’s less of an emphasis on virginity as a cardinal virtue today, plenty of girls still worry about whether using tampons or cups during their periods will break their hymens. Thankfully, it won’t.
The hymen doesn’t cover the vaginal opening. It’s a membrane that lines it. That means there’s no reason not to use tampons or order Diva Cup online, even during a girl’s first year of menstruation.
Myth #2: Women Can’t Get Pregnant While Menstruating
While the chances of getting pregnant while menstruating are comparatively low, they’re not nonexistent. Women who have shorter period cycles are more likely to become pregnant during their periods than those who have cycles that last 28 days or longer. They’re also more likely to get pregnant if they have sex toward the end of their bleeding.
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Myth #3: It’s Unsafe to Take Baths
Some women believe that it’s unsafe to take baths during their periods, but this myth has no basis in fact. Full immersion in water doesn’t either intensify or decrease bleeding, although the pressure from the water can temporarily prevent blood from being released. Most women who haven’t bought into this myth find that taking baths during their periods can help them relax and improve their moods, making it easier to cope with their menstruation symptoms.
Myth #4: Women Should Avoid Strenuous Activities While Menstruating
Women who were menstruating used to be treated as if they were sick and isolated from the rest of the population. This attitude carried over to modern times in the form of the assumption that women should avoid physical activity during their periods. Regular exercise can help decrease pain and improve mood while women are menstruating.
Myth #5: PMS Symptoms Aren’t Real
Some people assume that PMS is all in the mind. In reality, emotional changes like depression, fatigue, and irritability are often accompanied by physical changes and these symptoms have their basis in physical, hormonal changes. That’s good news, though, because it means they can be minimized.
Myth #6: Periods Always Come at the Same Time
That some people refer to periods as “that time of the month” doesn’t reflect reality. Some women have shorter or longer cycles and some have irregular periods. Although severe irregularity may be cause for concern, it’s no big deal for a woman to get her period every 21 days instead of every 28, to give one example.
The Bottom Line
Periods are normal and healthy, and women on their periods are still normal, healthy women. There’s no reason to avoid normal activities, nor is there any reason to worry about whether menstrual products will damage the hymen. Those who are experiencing worrying changes in their menstruation should still seek advice from their doctors.
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