Debunking 5 Menstruation Myths

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Menstruation in India has always been a taboo subject, and the lack of education and awareness about this has led to a lot of ridiculous superstitions and myths surrounding a woman’s monthly cycle.  From pickles getting spoiled when touched by menstruating women to period blood attracting sharks when women go swimming, there are several misconceptions about menstrual cycles. In this article, we will debunk some of these menstruation myths for you. Read on to know more!

Menstruation Myths

What is Menstruation?

Menstruation is a process by which a woman’s uterus sheds its inner lining (called endometrium) via vaginal discharge of blood, mucus, and tissues, once a month, in preparation for a possible pregnancy. The uterus grows a new lining to provide a safe and nourishing environment for the embryo to grow into a healthy baby in case you get pregnant.

  • The start of menstrual periods is called menarche, and it indicates the onset of puberty in a young girl. Menarche in girls begins when they are between 9 and 15 years of age.
  • Menopause occurs between ages 45 and 55 when ovulation and periods gradually come to a stop.

More about the Menstrual Cycle:

The average menstrual cycle lasts about 28 to 30 days. The first day of menstrual bleeding is considered as day 1 of the menstrual cycle. A period lasts for about 5 days on an average, and the bleeding is heavier on days 1 and 2. After the bleeding stops between days 6-14, the endometrium (uterine lining) becomes thick and gets increased amount of nutrients and blood supply to prepare for a pregnancy.

  • After this, around days 13-14, the ovaries release a single egg that travels to the fallopian tube and waits to get fertilized by a sperm.
  • At this time, fertilization can occur if sperm is present in the fallopian tube.
  • If it gets fertilized by the sperm, the egg travels to the uterus and implants itself into the uterine lining to grow into a healthy embryo.
  • Around day 28, if the egg is not fertilized, then the hormonal changes in the body cause the uterus to shed its lining once again.
  • The unfertilized egg breaks down and is shed along with the lining, thus starting the first day of the next cycle.

Dispelling Common Myths about Menstruation:

1You Cannot Get Pregnant If You are on Your Period:

Many women have cycles that last 21 or even 35 days, and this can result in early or late ovulation. If your period is like clockwork and your monthly cycle lasts between 28 to 30 days, then it is unlikely that you can get pregnant from unprotected sex on the first two days of your period. However, it is still a possibility, as the sperm can live inside you for up to 5 days and sometimes, you may ovulate early. This can result in you becoming pregnant. So better safe than sorry – always use protection!

2Exercise is Bad for You During Your Period:

This is an absolute myth, as studies have shown that exercise actually reduces the symptoms of PMS and relieves menstrual cramps. Being physically active also influences your period flow and length. Active people have lighter periods of shorter duration than those who are not active.

3You Lose a Lot of Blood During a Menstrual Period:

Contrary to what people think, you lose only about 80 ml of blood in total during a period. That is around 6-8 tablespoons. Heavy menstrual bleeding is when you lose more than 80 ml of blood or bleed for more than a week.

4Period Blood is Unclean Blood:

Blood coming out of the vagina during a period is the same as blood coming out of any other body part. Menstrual blood is a mix of mucus, tissue and blood cells from the uterine lining. There is nothing unclean or dirty about it.

5PMS is a Made-up Thing:

Premenstrual syndrome is very real. Before your period, estrogen levels drop, and progesterone levels rise. These hormonal changes make you moody or emotional. It can also cause bloating, acne, constipation, diarrhea, food cravings, backaches or headaches.

Health Problems Associated with Menstruation:

Your menstrual health can be affected by various factors like diet, body weight, hormonal imbalance, pollution, mental stress, and level of physical activity. Problems associated with menstruation include:

  1. Menorrhagia: Heavy bleeding during periods.
  2. Amenorrhea: No periods.
  3. Dysmenorrhea:  Very painful abdominal cramps during periods.
  4. Irregular periods: Very long or very short monthly cycles with the length of the menstrual period becoming either too short or too long.
  5. PMS: Premenstrual Syndrome starts 1-2 weeks before your period. Women may feel tired, irritable, bloated or depressed.

Lab Tests for Menstrual Health:

If you experience problems with menstruation such as heavy, painful periods, no periods at all, irregular monthly cycles, etc. you should get a menstrual health check-up. These tests include:

  • Pregnancy test.
  • Pap test to check cervical cells.
  • Blood tests to check levels of hormones like TSH, prolactin, and cortisol.
  • Endometrial biopsy to examine uterine tissue for abnormalities and cancer.
  • Hysteroscopy (a tiny camera is inserted into your uterus to examine the tissues).
  • Ultrasound to determine if the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes are normal.

You can book an appointment now for such tests through Medlife Labs. Medlife offers affordable health check-up packages and the option of getting your samples collected from home to make things super-easy for you! Just call 7022000900 & schedule a free sample collection from home.

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The role of exercise in the treatment of menstrual disorders: the evidence. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2662100/.
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