Mythbusters: 19 period myths we’re putting to bed

Mythbusters: 19 period myths we’re putting to bed

Periods are normal, natural and nothing to be afraid…or ashamed of. But with so many myths and stories around, it’s easy to see why you people might feel anxious or confused about them, especially in cultures where talking periods is taboo. 

So, we’re throwing our support behind UNICEF’s goal to bust some of the most common period myths and accept our periods for the ordinary bodily function they are…and just get on with it. 

MYTHDuring their periods, girls are impure. Girls with periods should not cook or visit sacred places – like churches or temples 

FACTPeriods are nature’s way of saying you’re growing up. There is nothing impure about them.  



MYTHSanitary products should be kept private and covered when purchasing. 

FACTBuying sanitary products (or reusable underwear) is like buying soap or toothpaste. They’re all personal hygiene products and there’s absolutely no need to bury them under the spaghetti at the checkout 



MYTHGirls with their periods should not touch or go near plants. The plant will die if they do.  

FACTWe have to confess, we hadn’t heard this one but apparently in some cultures this is a popular misconception. Let’s set things straight, plants don’t discriminate – and neither should we.  



MYTHCertain foods disturb your menstrual flow – like curd, tamarind and pickles. There are certain foods menstruating people can’t eat during their period, like meat, rice, vegetables or sour foods.  

FACTThe food you eat has nothing to do with your period’s flow, and your period has no impact on what you can or can’t eat (but we understand if it’s a great excuse to eat chocolate)! 



MYTHGirls having their periods should sleep in a separate room (or shed in some countries).  

FACTPeriods aren’t contagious and have no impact on anyone else. So just sleep in your usual bed. Enough said.  



MYTHPhysical activity/exercise can mess with your menstrual flow.  

FACTExercise and playing sports won’t change your flow but can actually help relieve period cramps. So pop on you runners and go play.  


MYTHYou shouldn’t talk about your period in public. If you do you’ll be publicly shamed.  

FACTDo you think twice before you talk about your hair, your shoes or your sore ankle? Talking about periods is no different.  


MYTHMenstruating people shouldn’t cook food or wash until their period is over.  

FACTPeople with periods can do everything people without periods can do – at any time of the month. And a warm shower or bath can help relieve pain or cramps. It is true that water pressure may temporarily stop blood flowing out of your vagina, but that’s no reason not to bathe or shower.  


MYTHYou’re no longer a virgin once you start using tampons because inserting them ‘breaks’ your hymen. 

FACTYour hymen is a small piece of tissue at the opening of your vagina. Hymens can be ruptured during intercourse, physical activity or by using tampons, but it does’nt ‘break’ and a change to a piece of tissue that’s different in all people has nothing to do with your virginity.  


MYTHPeriod pain doesn’t exist.  

FACTLike every person, every period is different. Many people have little to no period pain at all, while for about 20% of menstruating people severe period cramps (dysmenorrhea) interfere with their daily activities – like going to school.  


MYTHPMS doesn’t exist 

FACTPMS does exist, but not everyone experiences it – but about 25% of women do. In the days leading up to your period, your oestrogen levels plummet and your progesterone levels increase, both of which can impact your mood (so you might have an excuse for being cranky) 


MYTHPeriod blood is dirty blood or your body’s way of flushing toxins. 

FACTNo it’s not, it’s part of the reproductive cycle when your body sheds the lining of the uterus each month because a fertilised egg hasn’t implanted and your body doesn’t need it (because you’re not pregnant) 


MYTHOnly women get periods  

FACTActually there can be medical reasons why a woman might not get periods, and not every person who get a period identifies as a woman. For example, transgender people might still get periods.  


MYTHPeriods are gross 

FACTEnough already. Periods are not shameful, dirty or gross and we shouldn’t have to whisper about needing a menstrual product or having a period.   


MYTHYou can’t get pregnant if you have sex during your period 

FACTYou’re unlikely to get pregnant with your period if your cycle is regular, but it’s still possible your fertility window could overlap with your period. Research also suggest sperm can live in the reproductive tract after intercourse – so never risk it.  


MYTHYou can’t have sex during your period  

FACTYes you can. It’s entirely up to you  


MYTHYour period can sync with your best friend, sister, roommate or colleagues 

FACTCute as it is, research has debunked this myth. But remember, if most people have a period one week a month, there’s a high chance you’ll overlap with people you’re close to. But that’s science, not syncing.  


MYTHPeriods last exactly one week, once a month  

FACTEvery cycle is unique. The average is a 5-day cycle every 4 to 5 weeks, but your period can be shorter, longer, more or less frequent, or it might change from month to month  


MYTHYou shouldn’t swim in the ocean with your period because of shark attacks 

FACTWrong. Sure, sharks are attracted to blood, but most people swim with a tampon or leak-proof swimwear during their period, and even if you don’t, the blood flow tends to be less in water, and there has never been a reported shark attack attributed to someone’s period.  



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