Although one of the most natural things in life, menstruating is still, for some reason, a seriously taboo subject. Why? We have no idea tbh. If cis males had to experience periods every month, we can only imagine the open conversation that would take place around it, so, we want things to be exactly the same for all menstruating humans.
Treating periods as something that needs to be kept hush-hush only leads to misinformation being spread about it. Did you know that if your tampon string falls off, it’ll get stuck up there forever? And that you can’t go swimming while you have your period, otherwise sharks will eat you? Yeah, that’s all false, and sounds silly when you really think about it, doesn’t it?
So, in a bid to stop the spread of rumours that are circulating out there in the world, here are 5 menstruation myths that need to be set straight, period.
Myth: You Can’t Get Pregnant While You’re On Your Period
Fact: Surprise! You can! Now, I remember posing this conundrum to the speaker during our sex-ed talk back when I was a teenager, and her answer was ‘it, of course, is less likely but yes you can still get pregnant if you have sex during your period’, which is still all these years later very much fact. Clearblue has cleared up any misconceptions regarding this one, saying that this is because healthy sperm can live in your reproductive tract for days. This means that those little swimmers can be ready to attack as soon as ovulation begins, which in many womb-owners cases, can be early or indeed late. So, in conclusion, don’t have sex, because you will get pregnant, and die, we kid! But if you’re sexually active be sure to always take extra precautions.
Myth: Irregular Periods Are Not Normal
Fact: False! Variability in your cycle length is totally normal, and something many menstruating humans experience. In fact, irregularity is to be expected when you first begin your period, you are experiencing menopause, you have just given birth, are under a lot of stress, and when you are beginning or ending a method of contraception. Of course, if you are experiencing continually irregular periods when none of the above factors affects you then it’s advisable to visit your GP, but otherwise being irregular is actually pretty regular. We don’t just get our periods one day, have them arrive on the same date every single month until they eventually disappear into the abyss by the ripe age of 50. Variation is to be expected and irregularity is oftentimes completely normal, and nothing to stress about.
Myth: You Can’t Swim During Your Period
Fact: Eh, what?! Whoever came up with that one is some evil little genius who managed to make many a gal paranoid to bits. As it turns out, you can, in fact, swim during your period and there is no reason, medical or otherwise, out there for you not to. While of course wearing a pad is probably not advisable, because pads and water don’t mix, opting for a tampon or menstrual cup if you fancy a dip during that time of the month is the way to go.
Myth: Blood Clots Mean Something Is Wrong
Fact: It might be a bit of a shock to the system if you find a thick blob of menstrual blood, but, contrary to popular belief, it’s actually a natural part of menstruation, and totally the norm. Menstrual clots are common with a heavy flow, meaning you’re likely to experience them during the first 2 or 3 days of your period. They form when the uterine lining sheds increased amounts of blood which pools in the uterus or vagina, this blood then begins to coagulate, causing clots to form. It’s only best to seek medical advice if the clots are larger than a one euro coin in size, are extremely frequent, or cause significant pain, otherwise, don’t be stressing, you’re perfectly normal.
Myth: If Your Tampon String Falls Off, The Tampon Will Get Lost Inside You
Fact: No, just no. A tampon can’t get lost inside you because there’s nowhere for the tampon to actually go. Yes, that string can seem like a delicate little thing, but if it were to break off, there’s no need to fret. The vagina canal is only three to five inches long, ending at the cervix, which is too small for a tampon to pass through. If for any reason your tampon string does break off you can retrieve it by relaxing, squatting down, squeezing your cervix muscles and using your fingers to pull it back out. A slightly grim process yes, but there’s no need to rush to A&E.