Menstruation: Unpacking the myth

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Remember when you got the infamous ‘talk’ about period, sex, pubic hair, odour, and other bodily changes that signalled puberty is coming? I got that around my sixth grade when the conversation about 'becoming a woman' and menstrual cycles happened. Somehow, one of the boys I knew while growing up used to think that women were always on their periods. Yeah, no. As in, we bled forever. We get it. Talking about blood can make everyone a little squeamish, so we thought we would explain some of the myths and facts about menstruation to clear a few things.

Here are NINE menstrual myths that need to get nullified NOW

Myth 1: Mensturators are always on 'that time of the month.'

First, it's essential to understand that the menstrual cycle is not the same as period. The actual time we bleed is known as menstruation, but the menstrual cycle is the entire time from the end of one period starting to the next.

Myth 2:  Period  pain is just like anything you've experienced

The pain we experience during a period is natural. We're not talking about the usual headaches or bumping into sharp corners. Some of us curl up in bed, hoping the pinching menstrual cramps will subside on their own because it can get that bad. This medical condition is called dysmenorrhea.

 Myth 3: Period blood is dirty blood

Period blood isn't rejected bodily fluids. It has evolved vaginal secretion where there is blood, uterine tissue, mucus lining, and bacteria. Menstrual blood is different from the blood that flows through our veins.

Myth 4: Only women get periods

Not every woman gets their period; not every woman who gets their period considers themselves as female. In addition, transgender men may get their periods, just as transgender women might not have periods.

Myth 5: Periods are a personal problem

Periods are a humanitarian issue.  The United Nations has declared that menstrual hygiene has a public health issue. Unfortunately, many people worldwide don't have access to the proper hygiene, resources, and support for their periods.

Myth 6: Periods are shameful

Periods are normal and natural, so don't whisper about needing a tampon or hide a sanitary pad up your sleeve. Periods aren't weird, and neither is talking about them. So let’s change the hush-hush tone we take and ditch the stigma surrounding period talks. 

Myth 7: Using tampons as a virgin will break the hymen and take a woman's virginity

So not true. Using a tampon won’t break your ‘hymen’. Contrary to ancient belief, the hymen is not a flat tissue that covers the vaginal opening that will break if you use a tampon. In most cases, the hymen is a fringe piece of tissue that is around the vaginal opening. Some people are even born without a hymen, while others only have a small hymen.

 Myth 8: It's not safe or healthy to swim or bathe while menstruating

This myth is common in India. This myth most likely must have started before period hygiene products were used. It is safe to bathe and swim while menstruating. Using tampons or menstrual cups is entirely safe and sanitary for swimming and bathing.

Myth 9: Period sex is painful

Well, that’s untrue. Period blood can act as an excellent natural lubricant, thus potentially making things less painful than sex during other points in your cycle.

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