BUSTED: Debunking Common Period Myths
Written by Cinestie Olson
We’ve all been told a myth or two about our period. Whether it was that our period blood can attract sharks, or washing your hair during your period can cause infertility (what?!), period myths are not uncommon in the across the globe. In order to normalize periods and the stigma surrounding the topic, we have to get our facts straight! Below are 6 period myths that you may (or may not have) heard, along with the facts behind them!
MYTH 1: You can’t get pregnant on your period.
FACT 1: Sperm can stay alive for 3-5 days after ejaculation. Some menstruators begin their ovulation phase quickly after their period or during their period, even if you’re still bleeding. Your ovulation phase is your most fertile time of your cycle. So, for menstruators having sex on your period, please continue to use protection!
MYTH 2: You shouldn’t use a tampon until you’re old enough.
FACT 2: If you’re old enough to get a period, you’re old enough to use tampons. This myth stems from the stigma that tampons “can break your hymen,” “lose your virginity,” or “are for menstruators who have already had sex.” All of these stigmas are untrue! If you menstruate and want to use tampons, you are absolutely allowed to. Tampons are great for menstruators who are playing sports, in the water, going to the beach, etc. Just make sure to follow all tampon instructions (or sunny cup instructions ;)) when using them!
MYTH 3: Period blood is different from regular blood.
FACT 3: Period blood is the same as regular blood. Though it may look different due to the shedding of your uterine lining, blood clots, tissue, and other menstrual discharge, it is the same blood that can come out of your nose and papercuts. This myth stems from the stigma that period blood is “dirty.”
MYTH 4: Only women get periods.
FACT 4: Not all women get their periods, and not everyone who has their period is a woman. Women may not get their period due to health-related reasons, birth control, pregnancy, and more. People who menstruate, like transgender men, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming folks, may not identify themselves as a woman or feminine. It all comes down to your biological anatomy and your gender identity.
MYTH 5: Periods only last a week.
FACT 5: Periods are different for everyone. Some menstruators have their period for only 3 days, while others have theirs for 10!
MYTH 6: Your period can sync up with other menstruators.
MYTH 6: The scientific research on period syncing sways in both directions. Though it is extremely coincidental and somewhat of a universal experience, some studies have supported this myth, and some studies have debunked this myth.
There was a study done in 1971, where a researcher, named Martha McClintock, conducted an experiment to see if 135 women in dorms would have their periods sync with each other. The study concluded that the 135 women did in fact sync their periods, which is known as the “McClintock Effect.”
There’s been tons of current research on this phenomenon, and the invention of period tracking apps that stores period data to better understand period syncing. The current research doesn’t support McClintock’s original conclusion on period syncing, like the large study done with the period Clue app and Oxford University. The article stated that after reviewing 360 menstruators, 273 participants saw their cycles were more distanced from each other, while only 79 experienced the syncing mystery.
We hope you learned something new about your period! Head on over to our Instagram to share your own period myths you’ve been told!