Myth vs. Truth
We all hear these common myths about periods. We are here to give you the truth.
Myth: Menstruators should not talk about periods in public.
TRUTH: Do you think twice before talking about your hair or makeup while in public? Talking about your period is no different.
Myth: Girls having their periods should sleep in a different room or hut.
TRUTH: Periods are not contagious and do not cause harm to anyone.
Myth: Menstruating is unclean and menstruators should not cook, enter the kitchen, or enter places of worship.
TRUTH: Menstruation is a normal and healthy part of life. There is nothing impure or unclean about a period.
Myth: You lose your virginity if you use a product that requires insertion (tampon, cup, etc.).
TRUTH: As long as you haven't had sex you are still a virgin, regardless of the menstrual product you use. Girls who are virgins usually have a hymen, a thin and stretchy piece of tissue that partially covers the opening of the vagina. However, because the hymen is stretchy, inserting a small product like a tampon will not cause any tears.
Myth: You lose a lot of blood when you’re on your period.
TRUTH: The average person only loses about 2-3 tablespoons of blood on their period. Even if you typically experience heavy bleeding, your uterus only releases about 4 tablespoons of blood.
However, pay attention to how much you’re bleeding. Going through more than 7 tampons a day or bleeding heavily for more than 7 or 8 days are all reasons to see a doctor.
Myth: PMS is a myth.
TRUTH: As everyone who experiences a period can probably attest, PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is all too real. You may experience mood swings, fatigue, cravings, cramps, bloating, irritability, headaches, over sensitivity, and other symptoms both before and during your period. This happens because the hormones in your body are constantly changing during your cycle and the different levels of estrogen and progesterone affect your brain.
Using a period tracker to also track your symptoms can help you understand why you may be feeling sad or angry for seemingly no reason. (We recommend CLUE; it’s free).
Myth: A tampon can get lost inside your vagina.
TRUTH: No. Your vagina isn’t going anywhere and neither is your tampon. Your cervix, at the base of your uterus, prevents anything from going too far in.
If you can’t “find” your tampon after you’ve put it in, you may just need to insert your fingers to find the string. While this can feel uncomfortable or embarrassing, you’re not the first person this has ever happened to (and you won’t be the last). If you actually can’t remove your tampon, see a doctor.
Myth: All women get their periods at the exact same time of the month.
TRUTH: Every menstruating person has their own bodies and their own hormones that dictate their menstrual cycles.
Myth: Physical activity is harmful for menstruators.
TRUTH: Exercise can actually relieve cramps and pain during a period.
Myth: Period products should be kept secret.
TRUTH: Period products are nothing to be ashamed of. They are used for personal hygiene and are no different than soap or toothpaste.
Myth: Menstruators should not bathe.
TRUTH: Taking a bath or shower while menstruating will not cause bleeding to become worse and it will not affect fertility. Using hot water while bathing can actually ease cramps and pain.
Myth: Period blood is gross and smells bad.
TRUTH: Period blood is no grosser or less hygienic than “normal” blood. And while each vagina does have a certain smell, your period blood does not. When mixed with the naturally occurring bacteria in your body, your period might make your vagina smell not exactly fresh, but you’re probably the only one who can tell. Think about it: have you ever been able to smell when someone was on their period?
Myth: Popular tampons and pads aren’t harmful because they only contain small amounts of toxins
TRUTH: Tampon companies are not currently required to give out their ingredients to the public, but a known ingredient in most tampons is dioxin—a byproduct of the bleaching process used when making tampons. While most popular period products do only have trace amounts of toxins, they can still be harmful over time, as the average tampon user uses between 11,000 and 16,000 tampons in their lifetime.
Using organic tampons and pads that advertise as having no rayon, chlorine processing, or synthetic pesticides is a safer way to have your period. Know what goes in your body.
Myth: You can’t get pregnant when you’re on your period.
TRUTH: Absolutely not true! While an average period cycle is 28 days, a person’s cycle can last anywhere between 21 and 35 days. Ovulation varies. If you have a shorter cycle, you’re more likely to ovulate around Day 7, and if you have a longer cycle you might ovulate around Day 21. The egg you release during ovulation can last from 12-24 hours. In addition, sperm can live for about 3 days! The closer you are to the end of your period, the more likely you are to get pregnant, but even for those with a longer cycle, the chance is still there.
Always use protection!!! For preventing pregnancy and STIs.
Myth: Don’t go camping when you’re on your period because you will attract bears.
TRUTH: Absolutely fake news. Check out our second podcast episode, “Bleeding in the Backcountry” to learn more about disposing of period products while in nature.
Myth: You can hold your period blood in like urine.
TRUTH: No! There is no control over when a period begins or ends, or how much you bleed over the course of your period.