– Gynaecologist for intimate wellbeing brand INTIMINA debunks myths –
Despite the fact that menstruation is slowly becoming less taboo, many people still shy away from period talk. From the horrific scene in the popular film adaptation of Carrie, in which a young girl gets her period for the first time, to frighteningly false TikTok content shared by non-experts – there is still a scary amount of period-related myths and taboos that alter the truths of this long misunderstood subject matter.
So, can periods really attract sharks? I think you already know the answer, but just in case, INTIMINA UK has teamed up with gynaecologist Dr Shree Datta to debunk common period myths that creep into our conversations.
Period blood is unhygienic.
Absolutely not! Periods are the most natural thing in the world and represent the monthly shedding of the lining of your womb where pregnancy does not occur. Periods are a sign of good health and usually means that your sexual health organs are in good shape. Menstruation is simply a monthly celebration of being healthy.
Don’t swim or bathe on your period.
There is nothing stopping you from taking that leap off the top diving board – you can swim during your periods, and to ensure full confidence in embracing the mermaid life, consider wearing a menstrual cup or tampon for protection. In fact, swimming may help relieve period pains or cramps. There is some evidence to suggest that the water pressure during swimming may stem menstrual flow temporarily – but it doesn’t stop your period.
Period cups and tampons can get lost inside your vagina.
Once you’ve inserted a tampon or period cup in your vagina, it is impossible for it to get “lost”. The cervix lies at the top of your vagina and its opening is too small for a tampon or menstrual cup to enter into. Many period products are made so they are easy to use – for example, INTIMINA’s Lily Cup One is ideal for first-time menstrual cup users and it has a removal loop to make it easier once you need to remove it. If you can’t remove a menstrual cup or tampon, contact your GP or go to a sexual health clinic.
Friends can sync their periods.
Whilst it may temporarily feel as though your periods are synchronising with your friends or housemates, the reality is that this usually occurs by chance, given the duration of periods and their monthly nature.
Drink lots of water to stop your period.
Studies have shown that the amount of water you drink can affect the length of your periods and the level of period pains you experience – but there’s no suggestion that it stops your periods.
Period bloody colour tells you about your hormonal or nutritional status.
The colour of your period can be related to the heaviness of bleeding – at its heaviest point, the blood is usually red. When your period is lighter, it may be pink, dark brown or even resemble black discharge. If you have lost weight, or use some forms of hormonal contraception, you may notice your periods become lighter or even stop. This may be reflected in the colour of your bleeding.
Exercising on your period is bad for you.
Let’s be honest, we’ve all thought more than once that periods can be a bloody pain in the…thighs, back and nether regions, and the thought of hitting the gym is comparable to walking on hot coals. So is exercising whilst menstruating bad? On the contrary! Gentle aerobic exercise can reduce period pains.
It’s impossible for a woman to get pregnant during her period.
Whilst it’s less likely to get pregnant during your period, as it’s not the most fertile point in your menstrual cycle, it can happen! The science behind this is that you can get pregnant when you ovulate – so if you ovulate early in your menstrual cycle, when you are still on your period, in theory, you can still get pregnant. It also depends on whether you are having a normal period or simply a bleed in between your periods – so try to get in the habit of monitoring your cycles.
You have to remove period cups and tampons to urinate.
There is usually no need to remove tampons to urinate, as your urinary tract and urethra is above the vaginal opening. However, if the tampon is full, or incorrectly positioned, you may find that it affects the stream of your urine.
Periods attract sharks in the sea.
Even though evidence suggests sharks can smell period blood, there is no significant link between period blood and shark attacks!
Marcella Zanchi, INTIMINA UK, Marketing Manager, comments: “Learning about the reality of periods has to come from the experts first and foremost. Here at INTIMINA UK, our mission is to provide a comprehensive collection of information and products for women at every stage of life, from the first menstruation to beyond menopause, so we can take steps to end the taboo surrounding menstruation and help people understand that menstruation is a natural bodily function and nothing to be scared of.”