Oh, are you on ‘that time of the month’? Are you always on your periods? You shouldn’t go to a temple or wash your hair during periods. You can’t have sex or can’t get pregnant during periods. Girls shouldn’t use tampons during their first periods. Or period blood is impure and bla, bla, bla! Ugh… Chuck it! every one. I am sure that your reaction also used to be similar to mine whenever you might be getting to hear all this bullshit or crap or myths we can say correctly that surrounds menstruation from the time of the Dark ages.
Firstly, talking of girls and periods in one sentence shouldn’t be justified because it’s not only the girls whose vaginas bleed every month but there are transgender men as well who menstruate or transgender women who do not. For the unversed, periods are a humanitarian crisis. In 2014, the United Nations declared menstrual hygiene as a public health issue.
Menstruation has been a taboo topic since the ages, even talking about it loud or in public makes people uncomfortable and they vilify menstruation making it difficult for women to talk about their periods and know that they are normal and healthy. Then, come the myths/disbeliefs or stupid notions associated with it that are mostly influenced by superstitions, cultural and social forces. These myths are also not only incorrect but also help instigate and prevail gender-based discrimination and behavioral restrictions on women. So, before it gets on the edge of being an alarming call, let’s break down these myths and know and also let the ones who come talking to you about these myths know what’s true and what’s not about the periods.
- Always on ‘that time of the month’- Know that the actual time that a woman bleeds is known as menstruation, but her menstrual cycle is the entire time from one period starting to the next. So, comments about how women are “always on their time of the month” aren’t appreciated.
- Avoid exercise or sex during periods- You can do anything you want during your periods that you would do when you’re not menstruating. There is no health risk associated with sex or exercising during your period. Studies suggest that both may help relieve or decrease menstrual cramps.
- Avoid Bathing or Swimming during periods- This is a common myth in India, Italy, and Argentina. It’s safe to bathe/swim or wash your hair while menstruating and taking warm baths will only ease your cramps. Using tampons or menstrual cups is safer than pads for swimming and bathing.
- Avoid using tampons on your first period or virgins shouldn’t wear tampons- Completely rubbish. One primary worry associated with tampons is that inserting a tampon can break the hymen, which, as popular misconception has it, is a “mark of virginity.” There is no justification to avoid using tampons. Just be sure to read the instructions and insert the tampon correctly. This won’t even break your hymen as it is a stretchy membrane.
- Periods should last for exactly one week- Every period is like every woman, unique to the individual. Any normal period can last anywhere between three to seven days. Women have irregular periods for various reasons.
- Do not enter temples or kitchens- Not to enter the “puja” room, touch holy books, or not to enter the kitchen and make or touch food/pickle is the major restriction in India on the underlying cultural beliefs of impure menstruation. However, taking general hygiene measures into account, no scientific test has shown menstruation as the reason for the spoilage of any food in making.
- Period blood is dirty- Period blood isn’t rejected body fluids or the body’s way of flushing out toxins. It consists of a little bit of blood, uterine tissue, mucus lining, and bacteria and is very different and less concentrated from the blood that moves continuously through the veins.
- Pregnancy risk during periods- There’s always a chance, one can get pregnant during periods. Ovulation can be unpredictable and so can menstrual cycles.
Lakshika Thakur is a freelance content writer with femsay.com. She can be found on Instagram.