Period Myths and Misconceptions

09 April, 2021
For centuries, period myths and misconceptions have misguided and limited women. Discover some of the most popular ones here.

As incredible as it may sound, there are still many menstruation myths and misconceptions. Most of the time, this is due to misinformation caused by certain taboos.

Shame, fear, and ignorance of the female body can keep any woman from learning how her body really works.

This is why we decided to delve deep into the main menstruation myths and misconceptions. Discover them below!

Period myths and misconceptions

This study, which was conducted by a team from the University of Seville (Spain), pointed out that word of mouth has been responsible for passing down many menstruation myths and misconceptions. One of these is the fear associated with using water to bathe or wash, as many women think that it could be detrimental to health.

In fact, another study from the University of the Balearic Islands (Spain) shows that the menstrual cycle has been considered a debilitating and limiting factor of female activity throughout history.

We need to highlight that many of these beliefs arose when there was no exact knowledge about the functioning of the menstrual cycle or the female body itself. Thus, many women could only resort to legends to try to understand what was happening to them.

Here are the most common period myths and misconceptions. In addition, we’ll explain a little more about each of them so you can say goodbye to your unjustified fears.

1. Menstrual cycles are identical

False! Menstrual cycles generally last from three to five days, with a periodicity that can vary from 28 to 30 days. However, some women have longer cycles. As they get older, women can have shorter cycles, up to 25 days.

A period calendar.
The menstrual cycle varies from woman to woman. The periodicity can vary and even change over time.

2. You can’t get pregnant while you’re on your period

This is a false myth that can be very dangerous, as it could lead to unwanted pregnancies. You can also get pregnant during your period, so don’t hesitate to use contraception if you’re going to have sex.

The same goes for STDs. During your period, there’s the same risk of transmission as during the other days. Thus, you need to take precautions.

3. Women shouldn’t exercise during their period

This is completely false. On the contrary, it’s healthy to do physical activity during your period, as it helps you stay in shape and actively cope with these bothersome days.

It’s only contraindicated in those cases in which the woman doesn’t feel well or is too weak.

This article may interest you: How Often Should I Change my Pads During my Period?

4. A woman shouldn’t take a bath during her period because the blood will clot

This is another false myth. The only thing that happens if you take a bath on your period is that you may stop bleeding for a moment, but this happens because the blood vessels constrict due to the temperature.

As soon as you get out of the bath or shower, your period will start again.

5. You shouldn’t have sex on your period

Having sex on your period isn’t contraindicated, so go right ahead! This is a personal decision you should discuss with your partner.

A couple having sex representing one of the period myths and misconceptions.
You’re the only one who can make the decision to have sex during your period or not. The choice is up to you!

6. If you spend a lot of time with your friends, your periods will synchronize

Although many people believe this, it hasn’t yet been scientifically proven. This idea arose after psychologist Martha McClintock proposed it, around the year 1971. However, her study wasn’t conclusive, so she believed that the synchronization was due to the presence of pheromones.

Later on, other researchers, Zhengwei Yang, and Jeffrey C. Schank, continued researching but found no evidence to support McClintock’s theory. Therefore, they concluded that, when this occurs, it’s only due to chance.

You should also read: Six Possible Reasons Why You Have Irregular Periods

Other period myths and misconceptions

A woman with period cramps.
When a woman has her period, by no means is she “impure” or unable to do certain daily tasks. This is another popular false myth.

In addition to the myths and misconceptions we mentioned above, others only make women feel afraid or, worse, “impure”. Some of these are the following:

  • A woman on her period is impure and dirty. False!!!!
  • Menstruation is a cleansing process. This is another myth, since menstruation drives the regeneration of the endometrial tissue in the absence of pregnancy. This tissue is renewed to receive a fertilized egg in the next cycle in case of pregnancy.
  • A woman shouldn’t wash her hair during her period. False!
  • Mayonnaise curdles if a woman is menstruating. This is another misconception. A woman on her period can cook and prepare sauces and any other recipe she wants.
  • Menstruation is the “weeping of a disappointed womb” because there’s no pregnancy. This false myth was spread by many French doctors decades ago. There couldn’t be anything farther from the truth!
  • A woman on her period can’t eat eggs or drink milk or lemon juice. False!
  • If a woman is on her period, she shouldn’t touch the soles of her feet. This is totally false!

Being a woman is a gift, so never be ashamed of any part of it

There are many period myths and misconceptions out there. Unfortunately, women have ended up believing them because they’ve been passed down endless times. This has made them feel insecure.

Thanks to medical advances, we now know that these myths and misconceptions are just that: legends that have been passed down from generation to generation.

Value yourself and don’t let sexist, false information misguide you. Remember that being a woman is a gift that you should celebrate and respect.

  • Bosch-Fiol, E., Ferrer-Pérez, V. A., & Manassero-Mas, M.-A. (1993). Creencias sobre la menstruacion: Analisis historico y situacion actual. Revista de Historia de La Psicologia.
  • Fernandéz, M. (2017). El ciclo femenino.
  • Giordano, M. G. (1992). Ciclo menstrual. Femina.
  • Gómez-Sánchez, P. I., Mora, Y. Y. P.-, Hernández-Aguirre, H. P., Jiménez-Robayo, S. P., & Pardo-Lugo, J. C. (2012). Menstruation in history. Investigación y Educación En Enfermería.
  • Pérez, R., Ferreres Traver, A., Hernández Baeza, A., Gadea Domenech, M., González Durán, E., & Navarro, N. (1995). Efectos de la información acerca del ciclo menstrual sobre las actitudes hacia la menstruación. Psicothema.