Menstruation or a monthly period is a significant process that every girl undergoes in her life. Every month or 28 days, an average woman bleeds roughly around 5 days or a week, discharging blood, unfertilized eggs and mucosal tissues, stating that the pregnancy has not occurred yet. Theoretically simple yet very tiring! During these days a woman goes through visible hormonal changes like acne, cramps and mood swings amongst others. Although what is the most difficult to deal with are the pathetic taboos around this topic.
Let’s face it menstruation is still looked down upon in many parts of the world, especially in India. Even though we have given it a fancy name of PMS-ing, the taboo still stays. Reason- lack of awareness and CONVERSATION! Talking out loud about the period is a big NO for people and thus it creates problems for women who do not get treated themselves in the cases of PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Right from that unrelatable blue ink to the societal stigma passed on through generations, it’s the need of the hour to debunk menstrual myths to make this world a safer place to bleed!
So, fellas, it’s that time of the month when we debunk some menstrual myths and state the facts for you!
PERIOD BLOOD SMELLS FOUL
If you think your period blood has a foul smell, you are not alone. Although, the truth is period blood has no odor of its own. In fact, a normal, healthy vagina is not supposed to smell like roses so a ‘stinky period blood’ shouldn’t be an issue, to begin with. However, one can always opt for healthy hygiene habits and change sanitary napkins every six hours.
PERIOD BLOOD IS DIRTY
A period isn’t a way of releasing toxins from a women’s body that deems the blood as dirty or bad. It’s the same as your blood in the veins with just fewer blood cells. A monthly period releases the unfertilized eggs and prepares a warm cozy home for the fetus for next month. It is anything but dirty!
MOODSWINGS – IT'S ALL IN YOUR HEAD
Next time if your colleague, friend, boss or relative tells you to keep your mood swings in check, you can gladly ask them to shut up! PMS-ing or mood swings aren’t a made-up myth as a woman’s body goes to varying levels of estrogen and progesterone that affect her body causing irritation, restlessness and fatigue. Not to forget those blinding muscular cramps down there which make us curl up like a baby. No harm in hogging that tub of ice cream next time you crave stuff in your period ladies. And if anyone tells you otherwise, eat them too!
A TAMPON CAN HAMPER VIRGINITY
This one is a classic! No, a tampon cannot hamper a woman’s virginity. In fact, the idea of a tampon is so alien for some ladies who are told to ‘save themselves' for the one. It may stretch or break the hymen for some ladies, but it definitely won’t take away someone’s virginity as only having sex can do that.
A TAMPON CAN GET LOST INSIDE
God NO! A tampon for once can get stuck, but cannot wander on its own and get lost inside your uterus. The cervix acts as a barrier between a uterus and a vagina preventing anything to get further. In case you cannot feel one, pull the string it comes with and voila, there it is! Also, for some who say that one shouldn’t sleep with their tampon on- ladies, a vagina doesn’t have a brain or knowledge about the time of the day. Safe to say, it’s perfectly alright to sleep with a tampon on as long as you are comfortable with it.
YOU CAN’T GET PREGNANT DURING YOUR PERIODS
Although periods do reduce the possibility of getting pregnant by a considerable margin, it’s not a fail-safe method for baby-free sex. Just like the menstrual cycle, the ovulation cycle amongst the ladies also varies. An egg released from your ovaries can survive up to 12 to 24 hours while a sperm can live for about three days keeping a slight chance of still having a baby. One always needs to be careful about unprotected sex if a baby is something they aren’t planning at the moment.
PCOD IS A DISEASE
Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS can be called a hormonal disorder instead of a disease. It is quite a common syndrome amongst women given today’s hard and fast lifestyle. Women with PCOS can experience an irregular period cycle and excess male hormones. However, it can be treated when given proper and prompt attention along with a precise diagnosis.
WATER MAKES PERIOD STOP
Do you ladies have a race against the time when you get out of the shower to put on your sanitary napkin before the flow starts? - Well that explains your answer! The pressure of water might make the blood stay inside your vagina, but it has no control to stop your periods. So go swimming if your heart desires!
GENERATIONAL SOCIETAL MYTHS
Ladies, unless GOD himself comes down on the Earth to tell you not to visit the temple, don’t take anybody seriously. As mentioned before there is nothing gross about periods so defy those age-old, done-and-dusted norms and pray your heart out without any inhibitions. Also, no, the jar of pickle or your homemade spices won’t go bad if you touch them while on periods. Anything that a rational argument or science cannot prove- still remains a myth!
Luckily for us, many commercials and celeb Ted Talks have started breaking the stigma around 'P-talk' making it no more a taboo topic. Time and again influencers and celebrities have voiced their opinions for debunking the period myths on social media.
We hope we made things a bit easier for the young girls who were still puzzled and young boys who lacked awareness.
(Source- Excerpts from Blood & Milk, Feminism; Image Courtesy- Google Archives)