Periods have been around for as long as women have walked the earth. So naturally, there are plenty of stories and myths surrounding them. For years, girls have talk about periods in quiet terms — in the school changing rooms, at friends’ houses, or in a social media group chat trying to figure out what’s real and what isn’t.
Well girls, it’s time we cleared up once and for all the fact from the fiction.
Your period can be shortened or delayed by drinking herbal tea:
Or by getting 8 hours sleep. Or eating less than 2000 calories a day. The truth is, there’s a lot of things people say you can do to reduce the length of your period, but there’s very little evidence that any of them work. Aside from certain hormonal contraception there is no guaranteed way to reduce your period.
You should have your first period when you’re 12:
There isn’t a “normal” age to get your first period. Girls typically start menstruating anywhere between 9 and 15-years-old. There’s also no truth in being told you have to a certain age to use a tampon. If you’re old enough to have your period, you’re old enough to use a tampon.
PMS…is that even a thing?
While some men would say it’s just an excuse, that’s not the case. There’s proven evidence to show that Premenstrual Syndrome is a real condition that 85% of women experience each month.1 There’s over 150 symptoms recognised by doctors.2 Some as simple as hand and feet swelling, and general clumsiness.
You cannot get pregnant while on your period:
Unfortunately, another one for the fiction pile. Yes, you can still get pregnant during your period. A sperm can live for up to a week inside of you. Ovulation can still occur during, or soon after, the bleeding phase. Which brings us on to our next myth.
You can’t have sex:
The thought of this might make you feel a bit sick, but it’s totally fine you to have sex. It’s not for everyone, and it might get messy. But, if both you and your partner are up for it, there’s nothing stopping you.
You shouldn’t exercise:
Your period is a normal body function, not an excuse. It may seem easy to slob in front of the TV wrapped in a blanket, but you shouldn’t. Health experts recommend doing simple aerobic exercises like walking, running and swimming can help ease your cramps and pains. So come on, up and at ‘em.
Animals can sense when you’re on your period
Wild animals like wild bears and dogs will not pick up your scent and hunt you down. And don’t worry about swimming in the sea. Sharks won’t come and eat you either.
Your periods synchronize when you live with other females:
It’s no secret that women who live together believe their menstrual cycles with synchronize with each other. If you have a female flat mate, you can plan to eat together, wash your hair together and do your nails together. But you can’t plan to have your period the same time. If you do both happen have your period at the same time, it’s probably down to coincidence.
So there you are. Just a few little pointers that should clear up some of the mystery surrounding periods. The morale of this story is don’t believe everything you hear. Should you have any period related questions, just ask a doctor, or find out more here.
- Premenstrual syndrome: How common is PMS? Available at: https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/premenstrual-syndrome Accessed: April 2017.
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/women/pms/premenstrual-syndrome-pms-symptoms Accessed: April 2017.