Ever heard you could be attacked by sharks if you swim while on your period or spoil the milk if you stand too close? Fret no more! We’re here to debunk those myths and misconceptions.
Myth # 1: Your cycle is 28 days long
For the longest time we’re taught that a menstrual cycle lasts 28 days. While this is an average length, this does not necessarily reflect your cycle. Like our bodies, cycles vary from person to person and can be anywhere from 25 to 35 days long. So don’t freak out if your period is a different length than your friends! It’s also normal to have times of irregularity as your period can respond to stress, different time zones, strenuous exercise or illness. If you’ve just started your period, it can take up to a year to fall into a regular cycle pattern. A good tip is to keep some products with you in your bag while you’re learning how your body is adjusting.
Myth # 2: You can’t have sex or swim on your period
Almost one in ten (9%) Australians believe that you should avoid sex at this time of the month. However, sex on your period is absolutely fine, if that is something you want to do. In fact, sex releases dopamine and oxytocin, which in turn can help balance your mood.
Likewise, swimming is also a great activity to do – and no, you won’t turn the water red or attract sharks. Swimming is a gentle way of relieving symptoms associated with your period and can help you feel more energised. However, wearing a pad when soaking in water won’t be the most comfortable or effective way to manage your period while swimming.
Try using a tampon or cup instead, as these are far a more secure and comfortable ways of taking on these activities. Hey Girls offer some great options for swim-friendly period products.
Myth #3: You cannot get pregnant when you have your period.
Just under a quarter (16%) of Australians believe that you won’t get pregnant while on your period. But listen up and repeat after me – a period is not a contraception! While the chances of getting pregnant while on your period are slim, they’re still there. While rare, you can actually have a spontaneous ovulation while on your period but also, sperm can live inside you for 5-7 days and if your cycle is quite short, you may ovulate during this time.
So, make sure you’re using proper preventatives if you’re choosing to have sex during your period.
Myth #4: Mood swings are all in the mind.
Although a good fifth of us think people are always cranky on their period, if you start crying because you ate the last row of chocolate, you’re not being irrational and it’s not all under your control!
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a combination of symptoms associated with having periods, and it causes symptoms such as irritability, fatigue, and anxiety. In fact, the majority (85%) of women and menstruating people will experience some symptoms relating to PMS.
Take PMS as a sign to slow down and prioritise you. There is no shame in taking it a little slower during your period!
Myth # 5: You can lose your virginity by using a tampon
We don’t know who came up with this myth or why it’s such a commonly asked question, but let’s be clear- the idea of virginity is a status that can only be changed by having intercourse (it’s also a social construct but that’s another article for another time).
Often, we confuse hymen breaking with losing our virginity. But the hymen doesn’t break as such – it stretches and it’s also possible that it’s stretched in many other ways already.
Myth #6: There’s one best way to deal with period blood
There are a lot of methods out there to keep you comfortable during your period. Our own assumptions make us think one method is more effective than another- when, in fact, each method has its benefits. Here are my thoughts!
- Pads or period undies: Great for first timers, or those that want a non-invasive product that is easy to change! Pads are fantastic for an easy day but can be a bit uncomfortable for some. Period undies are like regular underwear but have some minor padding that absorbs blood effectively.
- Tampons and period cups: Great for the active ones amongst us and more convenient than pads. Although a little bit more invasive, tampons and period cups give us a bit more freedom or movement. Just remember to change your tampon every six hours and empty your cup throughout the day to avoid TSS (toxic shock syndrome).
For more information jump on to the Hey Girls website and find out more about what works for you.