Author: Katie Cappella
MYTH #1 – You shouldn’t exercise on your period
Exercising can actually help with decreasing PMS symptoms you may be feeling, particularly before your period. Exercise can help with fatigue and mood swings and regular aerobic exercise may lesson these symptoms. Exercise also tends to alleviate cramps, headache, or back pain associated with your period. Plus, don’t forget about that natural endorphin high! Exercise can generally elevate your mood and give you that boost of energy you need during your period.
MYTH #2 – You shouldn’t get a massage while menstruating
A massage can help relax the body when it comes to tackling your menstrual pain as you’ll likely experience a decrease in water retention, and a release of muscle tension. Keep in mind a massage does increase the blood flow around your body which means a massage may increase your menstrual flow for a day after the massage. But this isn’t always a bad thing! The increase in blood flow also has positive effects on menstruation and can help reduce cramps and back pain
MYTH #3 - You shouldn’t have sex during your period
Don’t let your period put a halt on your sex life. You may feel more aroused during this time of the month. The release of endorphins during orgasms is also said to reduce PMS symptoms such as cramping and will certainly take your mind off any menstrual uncomfort. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, having sex may make your periods shorter. Muscle contractions during an orgasm push out the uterine contents faster. That could result in shorter periods.
MYTH #4 - You Can’t Get Pregnant If You Have Sex During Your Period
The facts are that although the chances are slim, it is possible to get pregnant if you have unprotected sex during your period, particularly if you have a shorter cycle.
You’re most likely to get pregnant during ovulation, which happens about 14 days before your period starts. Yet every woman’s cycle length is different, and your cycle length can change monthly. If you have a short menstrual cycle, your risk of getting pregnant during your period is higher.
Also consider that sperm can stay alive in your body for up to seven days. So, if you have a 22-day cycle and you ovulate soon after getting your period, there’s a chance you’ll be releasing an egg while sperm are still in your reproductive tract.
MYTH #5 - PMS isn't real
If anyone ever tries to tell you that PMS is all in your head, they are lying. PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is the combination of symptoms you may experience leading up your period. These can include mood swings, feeling on edge, headaches, and spots (great!). Although medical professionals aren’t exactly sure what causes PMS, it’s definitely a real thing and is probably down to the fluctuation in your hormones leading up to your period. So next time you’re not feeling like your usual self, rest-assured it’s completely normal and okay for you to feel that way.
MYTH#6 – You shouldn’t swim when you’re on your period (especially in the ocean as sharks 🦈 will attack you )
There is no reason whatsoever not to swim when you are on your period and what’s more it can help ease cramps (see Myth#1 above on exercise). As to being attacked by sharks:
No No No…. While it’s true that a shark’s sense of smell is powerful and that menstrual fluid contains blood, there’s no scientific evidence that women swimming in the ocean while having their period are more likely to be bitten by a shark. Please enjoy a swim without fear of being a sharks breakfast.
MYTH #7 - Everyone knows when you’re on your period
No one knows unless you choose to tell them! You don’t walk differently, look different or smell different. Menstruation is a natural healthy part of life. It is a normal bodily function. It is however common for women to feel self conscious about their period, but rest assured no one knows you are menstruating and your body’s functions are your own private business. It’s ok to be discreet and not talk about it if it makes you uncomfortable. That said you should not feel like you have to hide the fact that you are on your period, there is nothing dirty or shameful about menstruation. You might find it helps to be open about your period, particularly with people you trust. The bottom line is you are in control and you alone can decide who to share this with or not.
Contributing Changemaker Author: Katie Cappella, 2021