Old wive’s tales about menstruation have been in existence about as long as periods themselves. Since the “monthly friend” is usually discussed among moms and daughters or between teenage girls, sometimes fiction can get mixed in with the facts. So it’s worthwhile to review some common myths about menstruation.
Myth: Menstrual blood is different from regular blood.
Menstrual blood is regular blood. It simply flows from the vagina. There’s nothing unusual or wrong with it, and it has no odor. Pads and Tampon only cause an odor when bacteria builds. So changing them regularly keeps you smelling fresh. Extra cleansing or deodorants aren’t needed.
Myth: Hot water increases period flow.
Typically, the only thing that will change your flow is your own body. However, a warm bath or shower or a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel can help with cramps.
Myth – It’s not healthy to have sex while on your period.
Some women may feel it’s “icky” having sexual intercourse during menstruation, but it’s perfectly healthy. Plus, it’s been shown orgasms can sometimes relieve cramping.
Myth: You can shorten or delay a period by….___.
There’s nothing you can do to change your body’s natural cycle that won’t also jeopardize your health. Some things can mess with your cycle, including too much stress, intense exercise, or illness. Consult your doctor if you stop having periods altogether.
Myth: Menstrual cycles are 28 days, with ovulation on the 14th day of a cycle.
That’s just an average. A cycle can vary, and many women have irregular periods. The first day of your period is considered the first day of your cycle, and the number of days you menstruate is not an indicator of fertility. Basal body temperature indicates ovulation. Prior to ovulation, when estrogen is dominant, your body temperature is marginally cooler than after ovulation, when progesterone is in charge. These changes are very subtle. The temperature sensitive Lady-Comp can monitor these subtle differences.
You shouldn’t exercise or do strenuous activities during your period.
You can do anything during your period that you can do when you’re not menstruating. Regular exercise can help to reduce the severity of menstruation cramps, PMS, and PMDD. And yes, you can swim during menstruation, provided you wear a tampon. (That includes the ocean. There’s never been a documented case of a shark attacking a swimmer just because they were menstruating.)
Myth – You should not eat certain foods during your period.
Fact is, you can eat what you like. A healthy diet and getting plenty of regular physical activity can sometimes ease PMS. It also improves your overall physical and emotional health, as well as reduces your risk of many diseases including heart diseases and cancer.