That time of the month is never an easy topic of conversation. Despite the fact that a period is a natural process women go through every 30 days (roughly), it’s not often discussed at the dinner table. Well, we think it’s time to shed some light on this topic. Here, we present our list of 23 shocking facts you didn’t know about your period. Time to say hello to Aunt Flo!
Number Twenty-Three: You Can Still Get Pregnant While Menstruating
One common misconception is that menstruating women can’t get pregnant – this is absolutely not true. Women are at their peak fertility during ovulation, and some women bleed when they ovulate, mistaking it for their period. Always use a condom, even while menstruating.
Number Twenty-Two: If You’re on the Pill, Your ‘Period’ Isn’t Real
Although what happens when you’re on the pill resembles a period, it isn’t a real one. Because the pill prevents ovulation, the “period” women on birth control pills experience is just the body’s reaction to the lack of hormones it’s getting with the placebo pills.
Number Twenty-One: It Changes Over Time
Your period will go through several transformations over the course of your lifetime. Your hormones balance themselves differently depending on where you are in your life, and your period will respond to those hormone shifts.
Number Twenty: You Don’t Have to Use Tampons or Pads
Though tampons and pads are the most common tools used to absorb what’s released during periods, they aren’t your only options. You can also use a cup or a sponge.
Number Nineteen: PMS Is Still Largely Misunderstood
PMS is a well-documented phenomenon, but scientifically, it’s a mystery. Doctors currently believe that PMS is a combination of chemical changes in the brain, hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle, and emotional issues that can worsen PMS; however, they’re not sure what actually triggers it.
Number Eighteen: From a Few Tablespoons to One Cup
You release anywhere from a few tablespoons to an entire cup of blood during your menstrual cycle. The reason it feels like more is because you’re not just releasing blood – you’re shedding tissue and mucus as well.
Number Seventeen: Always Changed the Commercial Game
Until 2011, every tampon or pad commercial demonstrated their product’s absorbent powers with blue liquid. Always (the brand) changed the game when they used a red dot instead.
Number Sixteen: 70 Percent of Women in the Western World Use Tampons
It’s true! While women have many choices when it comes to how they keep their lower halves dry during menstruation, tampons are by far the most popular choice.
Number Fifteen: It Might Be Connected to the Lunar Cycle
The most common start date for periods is the day of the New Moon. Like the lunar cycle, the average menstrual cycle lasts about 28 days, which has made some people think that menstruation could somehow be connected to the cycle of the moon.
Number Fourteen: Cycles Are Longer During the First Few Years of Menstruation
When you first start menstruating, it’s normal for your cycles to last longer than they do when you get older. You should expect a gradual shift as you get older.
Number Thirteen: The Side Effect of PMS That Nobody Talks About
Clumsiness! It’s been shown that women experiencing PMS are clumsier than women who aren’t experiencing PMS. However, the reason for this isn’t entirely understood.
Number Twelve: Women Spend a Lot of Time Menstruating
The average woman spends between seven and 10 percent of her life menstruating. Depending on how you look at it, this is either really badass or sort of depressing.
Number Eleven: Not All Animals Bleed During Their Periods
In fact, some animals reabsorb their uterine linings! Rats, for example, do this. Animals that reabsorb their linings don’t bleed from their vaginas at all during their periods.
Number Ten: Irregular Periods Can Mean Many Things
While irregular periods can be completely normal, they can also mean something is wrong. For example, some women who don’t ovulate still get their periods, but they get them irregularly. If you have an irregular period and aren’t sure why, it’s a good idea to see your doctor.
Number Nine: There’s a Disney Movie About It
Walt Disney released The Story of Menstruation in 1946 as an educational video. Some people believe the film was the first to include the word “vagina.”
Number Eight: Menstruating Women Are Hornier
Progesterone is the hormone responsible for lowering your libido, and it’s at its lowest while you’re menstruating. This could explain why some women tend to feel a little friskier during that time of the month.
Number Seven: The Myth of Syncing Cycles
Many women have experienced the phenomenon of menstrual syncing – it usually happens when two or more women who spend a lot of time together begin to menstruate at the same time. However, studies have come to contradicting conclusions about whether this can be attributed to science or sheer coincidence.
Number Six: The Average Age at First Menstruation Is Decreasing
The average girl gets her first period when she’s 12 years old, and that average continues to decrease every year. Scientists blame this on a number of factors, including the environment and the food we eat.
Number Five: It’s OK to Sleep With a Tampon In
Toxic Shock Syndrome, or TSS, used to be a grave concern for menstruating women. However, it’s extremely rare today, and it’s actually completely sanitary to leave your tampon in overnight.
Number Four: It’s Normal for the Blood to Change Color
If you see red blood begin to turn brown or even black, don’t panic! Darker blood is just older and more oxidized; it’s not “worse.”
Number Three: If You Miss Your Period, It Doesn’t Mean You’re Pregnant
Though missing a period usually means you’re pregnant, it doesn’t always. Missed periods can be caused by malnutrition, stress, or changes in physical activity.
Number Two: Beat Period Cramps by Taking a Pain Reliever Before They Start
Though it’s natural to grab for the Midol as soon as you feel that first pang in your stomach, you’re actually doing it too late. Taking a pain reliever the day before you expect to start your period will block the production of prostaglandins – the compounds that cause cramps. It will also decrease the amount of bleeding during your period.
Number One: You Probably Don’t Need to See a Doctor Unless There’s a Drastic Change
If you’re worried about your menstrual cycle, ask yourself if there’s been a drastic change. Usually, unless there’s been a drastic change (i.e. you normally bleed for three days and you’ve been bleeding for eight), you’re probably fine. Thanks for reading!