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Cracking down on menstrual hygiene myths, one at a time

Published on:16 October 2021, 16:00pm IST
The menstrual cycle is a physiological process that takes place in women’s bodies, and yet we fall prey to many myths. We help you get your facts right!
Dr Reenu Jain
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menstrual cycle
Don't believe in myths about menstrual cycle. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Menstruation is a crucial part of anyone who has a uterus. Without it, pregnancy as well as childbirth, and the survival of our species could all be lost. In spite of the fascinating facts, there are some myths about menstrual cycle that exist.

menstrual cycle
Tampons don’t tamper with your virginity intact.
Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Many myths about the menstrual cycle are based on mythology and are not just wrong, but also promote gender-based discrimination as well as behavioral limitations for women. The myths create difficulties for people to speak about their menstrual cycle or to know the truth about whether or not their cycle is healthy and normal. By dispelling the most commonly-held myths regarding menstrual cycles, you can understand a normal part of our lives that can’t be kept from.

Tampons can take away the woman’s virginity

This is a shocking menstrual cycle myth that continues to ring true for many. This leads people to be cautious about using tampons, believing that they cause the hymen to break. While it is true that they can cause the hymen to break, it doesn’t mean that the individual is no longer a virgin. The loss of your virginity doesn’t depend on the rupturing of a tissue piece.

Every woman experiences PMS, and it is always apparent as crankiness and irritability

Around one in four women suffer from Pre Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) and some suffer from just minor symptoms. Furthermore, approximately 5 percent of women who are of reproductive age have sudden and severe mood changes. Many women experience physical signs (i.e. the feeling of bloating, fatigue, and breast tenderness) in the weeks before the menstrual cycle, and mood swings are even rarer. 

You won’t able to get pregnant if you’re having intercourse in your menstrual cycle

The fact is that pregnancy is possible with unprotected sexual activity, regardless of the time of the month.

Exercise during your period could harm the uterus

The belief is based on the notion that exercising during the menstrual cycle can cause damage to the uterus, or result in infertility because of the increase in movement. But this isn’t the case unless you’re injured or sick, because exercise has numerous advantages. Regarding the improvement of the symptoms of menstrual cramps, exercise can help relieve cramps, boost spirits, and ease fatigue. The workout doesn’t need to be long or intense;  instead, it’s a kind of exercise that can make you feel happy.

Also Read: Does a light period flow mean reduced fertility? An expert answers

menstrual cycle
Exercise during your period without worrying much. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Your period should be for exactly one week per month

While the typical cycle lasts 28 days long, it can be anything from 21 days to 35. The actual time of your period is between the 15th and the 28th day of the luteal phase when the levels of progesterone and estrogen decrease, because of the absence of impregnation. This causes a loss of the uterine lining. As you get older and your cycle changes, it is possible to change, causing the duration of your period to change.

The term “period” may last anywhere between three and seven days. If you find that your period usually lasts for more than eight days, and you’re feeling unusually heavy, see a physician to determine if you have an additional health issue. In contrast, having a period that doesn’t last longer than 90 days, unless you’re deliberately avoiding it by using birth control pills is also a sign of health problems.

mesntrual cycle
Menstrual cycle doesn’t last for a fixed number of days for every girl. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Only women who are of the same age have periods

The majority of women begin their period at around 12 years of age. However, some women might experience it earlier or a few years later.  When you experience your period for the very first time, you’ll be a victim of menopausal symptoms, until menopause strikes between 45 and 58 years. But, each woman might have a different experience, with regard to when they first begin their period, and also when they enter menopause.

Period blood is filthy

Contrary to popular opinion, it is not filthy. It’s just a mixture of uterine tissue, blood mucus lining, as well as bacteria that flow through the cervix before exiting the body.

Dr Reenu Jain Dr Reenu Jain

Dr Reenu Jain, Senior Consultant, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Jaypee Hospital (Noida)