We live in an age where research is clearing away long-held myths and misconceptions surrounding health and medicine. However, the knowledge around menstrual cycles still remains tainted by age-old myths. This is the reason, even till date, when asked about what is menstruation, no one wants to speak about it in open.
Menstruation is a taboo. In fact, there are numerous myths that are still prevalent in the current age and world. These not only reflect the inaccuracies but also perpetuate theories about women that can be detrimental for the overall health and well being of a woman.
Here are some of the common menstruation myths which every woman must leave behind to lead a happy and healthy life.
Myth 1: Avoid taking head showers during periods as it poses a health risk
Most world religions view menstruation with a varying degree of severity and as a major problem. It is considered a sign of impurity and uncleanliness. And one such common and widely popular myth is to not take a bath during periods. Whatever is the underlying reason for this myth, there are numerous women who blindly follow this. Many women believe that showering with cold water has harmful effects on menstruation whereas taking hot water baths increases the amount of menstrual blood. However, there is no evidence to prove this.
On the contrary, it is advised to take a bath during menstruation as it helps you to keep your vagina clean and maintain proper hygiene during this time of the month. Moreover, not bathing during menstruation can affect the hygiene and overall health of the reproductive tract which in turn can increase the risk of reproductive tract infections.
Myth 2: Do not exercise during periods
It is one of the common myths that exercising during periods can increase the pain and blood flow and hence, it is wise to not exercise. In fact, many studies in India have revealed that most adolescent girls believe that exercising or performing any form of physical activity during menses cause dysmenorrhea (painful periods).
But in reality, exercise is good for overall health. If you exercise during periods, it can help relieve the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea and improve bloating, which is a common symptom of menstruation. Moreover, exercise also causes the release of serotonin, the happy hormone, which helps you to feel much happier during menstruation because severe hormonal changes can take a toll on your mood.
Myth 3: Do not eat curd, tamarind, and pickles during menstruation.
In some parts of India, certain strict dietary restrictions are also followed during menstruation such as not eating sour and spicy food such as curd, tamarind, and pickles during menstruation. This is because it is believed that such foods will disturb or stop the menstrual flow. However, if you are experiencing bloating or acidity before your periods then you are advised to avoid these foods or reduce the intake during periods as it can worsen the condition. The key is to eat a healthy diet during periods.
Myth 4: Women should not enter the kitchen or prepare food during periods
It is believed that menstruating women are unhygienic and unclean and hence the food they prepare or handle can get contaminated. During menstruation women’s bodies emits some specific smell or ray, which turns preserved food bad. And therefore, they are not allowed to touch sour foods like pickles. However, no scientific test has shown menstruation as the reason for the spoilage of any food.
Myth 5: Menstruation is shameful
It is one of the biggest myths that every woman needs to be aware of. Menstruation is not shameful at all. In fact, it is the reason why women get pregnant and give birth to a child. However, most women tend to consider periods as shameful and the only reason for this is the lack of proper information about the topic.
According to a study published in the Journal of family medicine and primary care, 84% of adolescent girls did not know about the reproductive system and the organ from where menstrual bleeding initiates. In fact, many women do not know the reason for menstruation. This clearly shows the lack of information and knowledge about periods. Every girl should know what menstruation is.
Myth 6: Period blood is dirty blood
Most world religions view menstruation with a varying degree of severity and as a major problem. It is considered a sign of impurity and uncleanliness. In some religions, women are prohibited from participating in normal life while menstruating. But in reality, menstruation is a natural process that every woman goes through and is a sign of puberty. This is the phase in which numerous hormonal changes occur in the body which causes a periodic discharge of blood from the uterus. This is a natural phenomenon and is not at all shameful.
Myth 7: Sex during periods causes painful menstrual cramps and low sex drive
First of all, both partners should be comfortable with the idea of period sex otherwise it would be a huge turn-off. Also unlike popular belief, sex during periods can have a positive impact on the overall health of a woman. For example, sex during periods causes shorter periods, eases menstrual pain, increases sex drive and relieves migraine headaches. It is completely safe if YOU are okay with it as it is a normal process and more about your personal choice. Here’s more on sex during periods you can know about!
Let’s join hands to spread menstruation awareness by debunking some of the common age-old myths because it’s high time we took the topic of menstruation seriously!
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)
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