Throughout history, myths have been perpetuated about periods – you won’t get pregnant, you should stay in bed and rest, everyone has a regular cycle, and sex is out of the question. Even cave women were probably warned that bears were going to devour them if they didn’t stay inside. Unfortunately, these myths get passed down through the years and cause needless anxiety and worry. Did you know, we spend the equivalent of six entire years of our lives menstruating! That’s a lot of time, and knowing the facts about these myths can make every woman’s life easier. Therefore, this article is here to debunk these myths, once and for all.
MYTH #1: You can’t get pregnant if you have sex during your period
It’s a common misconception that if a woman has sex during her period, she cannot become pregnant. Although unlikely, it is not totally impossible. Sperm can survive inside a woman’s vagina for up to 5 days. If a woman, for example, had unprotected intercourse on the last day of her bleeding, and ovulated 3 days later, she could become pregnant. Unless you are using contraception, such as the Pill or a condom, there are no safe days.
MYTH #2: You shouldn’t exercise during your period – Rest, rest, rest!
Your period shouldn’t rule your life. You can do whatever you normally do, including exercise. Exercise releases endorphins – the body’s natural painkiller – meaning light workouts will reduce period cramps and pains. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends regular aerobic exercise to help relieve PMS, and exercise can even simply be a way to take your mind off the irritability and pains that can come with our time of the month.
MYTH #3: Having sex is a big no-no during your period
While some women may feel uncomfortable having sex during their period, it’s perfectly okay to do so. In fact, research has show that having sex and orgasm during your period can relieve menstrual cramps and decrease the risk for endometriosis – a common condition that causes pelvic pain and painful sex. Approximately 176 million women and girls worldwide suffer from endometriosis; 8.5 million in North America alone. The contractions of the uterus that occur when a woman orgasms help to expel blood and tissue from the uterine cavity, as well as cramp-causing compounds. This can even shorten the length of your period. If you’re worried about mess, lay down a dark-colored towel and stick to the missionary position – lying on your back reduces your flow.
MYTH #4: Every woman’s period is the same. Each cycle is 28 days
The menstrual cycle isn’t the same for every woman. A normal cycle can be anywhere between 21 to 35 days and menstruation can last from two to seven days. Longer cycles are more common for women under the age of 25 and cycles get shorter and more regular as we age. You might have regular or irregular period cycles, and your period might be light or heavy, short or long, and with or without cramps. ‘Normal’ is whatever is normal for you. If you do feel concerned about changes in your cycle, contact your doctor for reassurance.
MYTH #5: Women on their period are more likely to get attacked by bears and sharks
This is by far our favorite myth! Apparently, you can’t go camping during your period without the fear of being mauled by a bear, nor can you go near the ocean without suddenly hearing the theme from Jaws. Both of these ridiculous myths are so prevalent that studies have been carried out to see if they’re true. The results? Both are simply not true. Bears and sharks are not more sensitive to the blood and odor that occur during your menstruation. That’s not to say that we recommend staying in a small, cramped tent during your period, but if you do, you should be safe. If you go swimming or diving, you could even try using a menstrual cup for complete and long lasting protection.
So there you have it, five menstruation myths busted. Just because you’re having your period, it doesn’t mean that your life has to stop. You can continue with your every day routine, including exercising and having sex, but keep in mind that pregnancy can occur during your menstruation. If you want to learn more about having a healthy period, read our tips for a more pleasant period. Also, why not share this article with your friends, so we can get rid of these myths for good!
Please note that advice offered by Intimina may not be relevant to your individual case. For specific concerns regarding your health, always consult your physician or other licensed medical practitioners.