‘That time of the month’ or ‘crimson waves’ – call it what you want, but menstruation is the second most taboo subject in India, after sex. Because there is so much stigma around the conversation of it, a lot of unsubstantiated myths about menstruation have come up that are appalling and plain weird.
No matter what euphemism we try, periods have nothing mystical about them. It’s a simple, natural process that is vital to female health. But periods are still surrounded by many myths that we are going to debunk right now.
Even the ladies who are aware about their bodily functions could use a little knowledge and this extra information. And the men could also learn something important to impress their lady love with this trivia, and also to remove any social barriers that prevent us from talking about it.
10 Myths About Menstruation
There are many myths about menstruation that have plagued India, especially in the rural regions. To clarify, these myths are not just so you can better handle your woman’s mood swings but also to impart knowledge on a topic that isn’t commonly spoken about.
In many places in India, women are asked to leave home and stay in a separate place when they are menstruating because it is believed that they become ‘impure’ during those four days.
While this is looked upon as a marginalization of women because of their physiology, some women who have grown up following this norm often say they used to look forward to living together and bonding during those four days.
In Hinduism, the menstrual taboos include women being not allowed in religious places during menstruation, not allowed to eat with men or non-menstruating women and in some places they are not even allowed to prepare food. Much of that has changed in modern India but these 10 myths about menstruation still exist. In this article, our aim is to bust weird myths about menstruation. We are taking the superstitions by their horns.
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1. You should not swim during menstruation
Whoever told you this , throw them right into the swimming pool. These are precisely the myths about menstruation that we want to debunk because they have no basis or truth in them. Many women choose not to swim during periods because things can get messy. But, there is no hard and fast rule.
You can totally swim during periods if you are wearing a menstrual cup or tampon. If you are not comfortable bleeding in a cup, you can wear the regular sanitary pad under the swimsuit and enjoy sunbathing instead.
When you use a tampon make sure you change it the moment you get out of the water. Maintaining hygiene down there is a must!
2. You should not exercise
Oh, we can’t hear this enough! Exercise is, in fact, beneficial for you during periods. Simple exercises can help you control menstrual cramps and help you fight mood swings. It’s because workouts release endorphins, which helps reduce the level of stress and anxiety.
So say goodbye to any funny workout excuses for you should indeed get a little exercise during your period. But make sure you are not pushing yourself too hard while you are exercising as that might prove to be detrimental. Yoga and light free-hand exercises are just perfect for this time of the month
3. You don’t get pregnant during periods
Just because it’s unusual that doesn’t make it true. Ovulation and your cycle can be highly unpredictable. Ovulation can happen before, during or after the bleeding, especially if you have irregular periods. So you must have protected sex to avoid pregnancy because your menstruation isn’t its alternative.
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4. Usually periods last a week
Just like no two women’s bodies work the same way, their menstruation cycles also vary. Some women bleed for 3-4 days, while some for about a week and both are fine.
Many women bleed for even 7 -10 days in the first few years after they start their periods. And as they age, the cycle keeps changing so a single woman has changing cycles all her life. So it is a myth that periods last for a week.
5. Irregular periods mean pregnancy
Irregular periods happen for multiple reasons starting from stress, obesity, PCOS and lifestyle issues. It’s also okay to skip one or two in a year and in most cases it’s perfectly normal. I know, ladies! We all have crazy thoughts when we miss our periods but it may not be that serious.
However, you must visit your doctor if you are missing it for two months in a row and you are not pregnant.
So it is one of the menstruation myths that you only miss your periods when you are pregnant. Yes, during pregnancy you do miss it for 9 months and it is a breather for some women, but missing it once in a while because of stress or some hormonal issue is common and totally normal.
6. Menstruation blood is not real blood
Among the 10 myths about menstruation that we are here to decode, this is definitely one of the big ones. It’s as real as the blood from a cut on your skin. But menstruation blood contains some small tissues as your uterine lining shades after ovulation.
So it leads to the popular perception about ‘menstruation blood’ that is not real. To debunk this myth we can say it is very much real blood that actually goes into making a baby.
7. Tampons can affect your virginity
Technically, virginity is just a condition of your body which indicates you haven’t had intercourse before. Tampons can no way make you a non-virgin. You can accidentally break the hymen when putting the tampons in, but you will still be a virgin! So the wedding night myth that you have to bleed the first time, is not true.
There are a lot of myths about a woman’s virginity that need to be decoded in the first place. But the hymen can break anytime because of sports, exercise and other things so to think that a tampon could take away your precious virginity is an absolute myth.
Related Reading: I Have To Go Through Painful Intercourse And Can’t Enjoy Intimacy
8. Sour foods increase menstrual pain
Sour food cannot affect your menstrual pain. Period. But maintain a healthy diet nonetheless. We really don’t know where this perception came from but it’s a superstition that is followed diligently.
9. Everyone gets their period at ___ (enter any random age)
In my family, it’s 13, in your family it could plus/minus 1 or 2. Usually, girls get their first period between 9 to 15 years of age. But there is no ‘standard age’ for a first period.
10. PMS is not real
Well, PMS is as real as our hormones are. Other than the constant cramps and never-ending bloating, many women experience acne, trouble sleeping, severe mood swings, depression, headaches, muscle pain and upset bowels. So the next time somebody tells you that you are ‘just PMSing’, tell them there is a war going on inside you and it’s because of the crazy hormones!
It’s one of the menstrual myths that PMS is not real. Hormones go haywire and it is very real that women have little control over their bodies and emotions during PMS.
It is always important to bust such myths about menstruation to give women a healthier and happier existence in society. Menstruation is a very important part of a women’s physiology so clouding it with superstition and myths is being unfair to women.
Have you heard any other crazy menstruation myths? Tell us in the comments below!
Religious beliefs have made us consider menstruation impure which is why we have often been told to not touch to touch idols etc. However, there is a growing debate opposing the same and how menstruation is natural and has nothing to do with impurity.
Menstruation is the release of blood from one’s vagina. This happens every month when one of the ovaries releases an egg. If the egg is not fertilized, then the lining of the uterus sheds which causes menstrual bleeding.