10 Myths about periods that you need to stop believing

It’s a sad fact that, even today, some young girls are taught nothing about periods by their mothers, and so everything that they learn about their menstrual cycle comes either from a biology lesson at school, during which they are too embarrassed to ask any questions or from the myths that they hear in the school yard. It’s no wonder then, that some period myths that have been doing the rounds for years still exist and cause confusion and misinformation amongst young women. So let’s debunk ten of those myths about periods that you should stop believing.

1. You can lose a tampon inside you

Tampons cannot get lost inside you, because your internal organ, where you place the tampon is simply not big enough, usually it is only about three and a half inches long, but it stretches to accommodate physical intercourse and childbirth. It is, however, possible to forget you have a tampon in, but if you reach in with your fingers, you will be able to feel it.

2. If you swim in the sea when you have a period, sharks will attack you

This is purely an old wives tale and has no scientific substantiation whatsoever. If you have a period, then you should use a tampon if you go swimming to avoid any embarrassment, but there is no evidence that a woman with a period is any more susceptible to attack by any wild animals at all.

3.  A period is dirty, unclean and filthy

This is one of the most ridiculous myths of them all! A period is a perfectly natural female bodily function that all women get. It is a part of the miracle of life, so how on earth can it be filthy or unclean?

4. You can’t get pregnant when you are on a period

This is a dangerous myth that many youngsters are lead to believe. It is possible to get pregnant during and right after a period. It is less likely, but it is no substitute for birth control. And, in any event, you should be practicing safe lovemaking!

5. You stop exercising during a period

Exercising when you have a period will make no difference at all to your menstrual flow and it won’t do you any harm. In fact, exercising can be an effective way of reducing menstrual cramps and improving your mood, so not only is this myth untrue, the opposite is actually true.

6. There is no such thing as toxic shock syndrome

Using tampons can cause toxic shock syndrome, even though it is not talked about as much as it used to be and it is quite rare. You should still read the warnings on boxes of tampons, though, and the best advice is to change your tampon every four hours or so, to avoid any risk of developing TSS. Toxic shock syndrome can be dangerous. If you do think you might have TSS, you should see a doctor straight away. The symptoms of TSS include: diarrhoea, dizziness, nausea and feeling faint.

7. You shouldn’t wash your hair when you have a period

Goodness knows where this idea comes from! Of course you can wash your hair, shower and have a bath, just like you would on any other day. A hot shower or bath will help reduce menstrual cramps. Don’t believe another myth that says menstrual flow stops when you are in the water either; that’s another one that is completely untrue.

8. Irregular periods mean that you can’t have babies

There are lots of things can cause irregular periods and it doesn’t mean that you have a problem with your reproductive system. When a woman first starts her periods, it can take six months or so until they become regular and some women are irregular all their lives. If you are usually regular, and you miss a period, you should consult a doctor because it can be caused by many things including: stress, illness and, of course, being pregnant.

9. You are not a virgin if you use a tampon

Of course you are! The hymen can be broken by tampon use, but it can also be broken during exercise or playing sports. A virgin is a virgin, with or without an intact hymen.

10. All women start their periods at a set age

There is no set age that your periods will start. Most girls get their first period between the ages of nine and fifteen, but that is not a firm rule, more a generalisation. If you are heading toward your sixteenth birthday and you have yet to have a period, it would be a good idea to check with your doctor. Also, ask your mother when she started, because the age that women start their periods does appear to be passed down in the genes.

Do you know other myths about menstrual cycle?

Stay happy and healthy!

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