For far too long, girls have felt compelled to obtain information from locker room whispers — it was like a game of period "telephone." This is especially true for those who haven’t got their period yet.
However, we must draw a red line between reality and fantasy in order to make the world a better place for girls to bleed safely. There are a lot of weird period myths floating around, and we're here to debunk a few of them right now.
Continue reading to discover some of the most common period myths, as well as the scientific truth that disproves them.
Myth #1: Period blood is blue
Although we are accustomed to seeing dramatic pictures of blood on our television screens, pictures of menstrual blood are still uncommon. Thus, some people who watch TV on a regular basis, may have grown up convinced that period blood has blue color.
This belief comes from advertisements for menstruation products. Menstruation has been deemed "unspeakable" for a long time, and this has expressed in commercials. When menstruation is "not publicly mentioned," menstrual blood is naturally not allowed to show in advertisements.
When television advertising first became popular in the early 1980s, TV stations in the US, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries had rules prohibiting the appearance of blood. As a result, when the blue liquid was placed on pads in advertisements to demonstrate the absorption function, it fooled the large majority of boys and girls who had not yet experienced their menstruation.
Why exactly blue? For most people, blue signifies water and life since it appears clean and provides people a pleasant impression of blue sky...There's also a theory that blue has a distinct clinical feel to it, reminding consumers of sterilized items like soap and emphasizing sanitation over "foulness."
Don’t let yourself get fooled around. Period blood may have various shades, but it will still be red – even if it looks different from the blood you have seen when accidentally cutting your finger.
Myth #2: Periods are dirty
Periods are seen as filthy, unclean, or impure by many people across the world. It might be a casual remark from a buddy who says "ew" when you mention your menstruation, or a more severe daily life scenario.
In the US, doctors report that many of their patients believe menstruation is "the body's natural way of purifying itself each month," like their grandmothers did. It implies that our reproductive system requires cleaning.
The truth is, menstruation is neither unclean nor filthy. It’s just a normal function of a body that is not pregnant. Blood and excess tissue that has formed in the uterus to accommodate a pregnancy are leaking out. Once the body knows it isn't pregnant, these is no longer needed.
Periods are not made up of rejected or harmful tissues. Period blood isn't a waste product or a mechanism for the body to rid itself of pollutants. Physicians explain that it’s an evolved form of vaginal discharge, including traces of blood, uterine tissue, mucus lining, and bacteria.
However, this does not affect our ability to enjoy our common activities on the days we menstruate, nor does it mean that things are less than perfect down below.
Myth #3: Your friend group will have synced-up periods
If you often hang around with more than one girl, you've probably likely heard of menstrual synchronization: the hypothesis that girls who spend a lot of time together ultimately have their periods coincide. The popular belief is that they're menstruating at the same time.
Knowing you're on your period on the same days as a close buddy gives you a strange sensation. It's as though you're sharing a battle, and given that your menstrual cycles coincide, you must be close. It may make you feel less stigmatized – not to mention make 3-for-2 sanitary pads pack deals even more appealing.
The “synced-up periods” concept is simply not accurate. Research published a few years ago disproved the concept that our period timing varies based on who we are with.
Differing cycle durations are most likely the reason we menstruate at the same time as our pals. If you get your period for 1 week a month and spend a lot of time with three other girls, there's a good chance that at least two of you will have your period at the same time. Your 4-week cycle and your bestie's 5-week cycle will ultimately overlap – and later diverge again.
It is important to note that having a period that's "out of sync" with your girlfriends doesn't indicate your cycle or relationships are abnormal.
Thus, it has nothing to do with the moon, the “feminine energy” or anything really interesting. But, since we're here for science, we'll have to debunk even the most entertaining misconceptions.
Myth #4: Tampons and pads make you better at sports
Sports and adventure are a popular cliché in advertising for period items. So are white clothes to emphasize how much the models trust their products. Although it's unclear what skydiving, exercising, or replacing flat tires have to do with your period, many businesses utilize pictures of joyful, sporty, carefree women to promote their products.
Yes, you may participate in sports throughout your period. In fact, if you have unpleasant menstrual cramps, exercising could help you feel better.
Still, exercising during your period isn't for everyone. Participating in sports when on your period is a unique difficulty. Bloating, cramps, and a lack of energy may accompany your period.
The notion that you can achieve anything during your period might be motivating – but it will not give you better results in sports. It can also be an insult if you are in excruciating pain or exhaustion during your period. Staying in bed seems like a lot better alternative than going to soccer practice when you're experiencing cramps and bloating.
We say – the greatest activity to undertake during your period is the one that you enjoy. It’s also true that your period could be a good time to ease up on the workout. High levels of stress might exacerbate the symptoms you experience before and during your period.
Myth #5: Periods are shameful and shouldn’t be talked about
Do you actually pause before saying something about your hair, your eyeliner, or the color of your nail polish?
It's no different when it comes to talking about periods. The menstrual cycle is a natural process that nearly all women go through from puberty to menopause during their reproductive years. It's not filthy, it doesn't keep people from engaging in their usual activities, and it's not a mystery.
Purchasing sanitary items is comparable to purchasing soap or toothpaste. They're all items for personal hygiene.
So, just like any other bodily function, periods don’t need to be kept on the down-low.
Ok, maybe you aren’t the kind of person who announces your bodily functions in the first place — that’s totally fine. But the point is that we shouldn’t be made to feel shame because of our periods.
The purpose of debunking these period myths is to demonstrate that menstruation is a fairly routine, normal bodily function that, for the vast majority of people who experience it, is a complete non-event. So, don't believe all you hear about periods, and don't let them hold you back from living your best life!