Every woman reaches a certain point where they experience menstruation. Average age range when girls experience their menarche (first menstruation) is between 11-14 years old but even some girls can start as early as 8 years old and as late as 18 years old so it really varies accordingly. This is actually the stage where the girl is said to turn into a woman and finally starts maturing sexually which is the time of puberty.
Nowadays, we are provided with proper education on what to expect and how to deal with menstruation and as expected, parents too are well informed about this making them capable to guide their children during this period. We may know what to do but do you know that during the early times and still, in some parts of the world, there are some interesting myths about menstruation?
Here are some Menstruation Myths and the Truths you need to know:
• Do not take a bath
People used to say that you’ll get insane once you get yourself wet while having menstruation.
Truth: Seriously? Personal hygiene especially while you have your period is essential to prevent bad odor and infection. Having a blood flow in the sensitive region is quite uncomfortable and irritating especially when you do not clean yourself regularly. Just imagine skipping bath for at least 3-5 days depending how long your menstruation is.
• Do not eat sour or cold foods and drinks
They believe that once you eat sour or cold food, your menstruation flow will stop and can cause abdominal pain.
Truth: Scientifically speaking, there is no data from research or studies proving this assumption. The food we eat has nothing to do with menstruation, after all, food intake goes to straight to our stomach and not in the ovary where the process of menstruation occurs. Anything we eat or drink is taken cared of by our digestive system which is a totally different process as the reproductive part.
• Jump from the third step of your staircase so that you will only bleed for three days
Some people say that once you jump from the staircase while you are menstruating for the first time, you can choose how many days you will have menstruation for the rest of coming the months. Of course its more convenient to have as few days for menstruation as possible. So if you want to make the days of menstruation shorter, like three days, you have to jump from the third step.
Truth: This is absolutely wrong. The longevity of your period depends on your body which varies for every woman jumping from the stairs totally has nothing to do with it. Hormones and how our body is structured dictates how many days our menstruation last. One thing you surely get from jumping on the staircase is a couple of broken bones when you fall down from it.
• During your first menstruation, wipe your face with your menstrual blood
There has been this myth that girls should quickly collect their first menstrual blood or grab any article with it and cover their face with blood using the hands or any applicator to prevent or get rid of pimples/acne.
Truth: The blood that comes out from the vagina during menstruation comes from an ova/egg that is not fertilized with all other secretions from the inside. The body is prepared for raising a baby by coating the ovary with certain mucous layers and other nutrients to make sure that once the egg meets a sperm, the environment will be suitable for nurturing a growing human. Now if there is no sexual intercourse or a spermatozoa is not successful in reaching the sperm, then menstruation occurs secreting all the lining it created together with the unused egg.
So the question is, where is the anti-pimple ingredient here? Answer is no, there is nothing in the menstrual blood that can help prevent or alleviate pimples or any skin problems. Why in the world would a blood secretion be good for our skin? To maintain a nice, soft, clear skin, the ideal practice is to keep it clean and that includes regular washing and not applying unnecessary things such as menstrual blood! Menstrual blood can only worsen acne and even introduce bacteria and irritate the skin. If you have any skin problems, best solution is to visit a dermatologist.
• Strictly no swimming!
There are some people who believe that if you’re swimming while having your menstrual period, blood will gush out and discolor the water, attract predators such as sharks in an open sea or any unwanted attention for that matter.
Truth: There are no activities prohibited while menstruating other than some exemptions including blood donation or other extremely strenuous activities. About swimming, it is true that you cannot completely stop blood flow but the flow can be minimized especially when the water’s temperature is cold. For precautions, simple things can help us enjoy swimming even while menstruation. Best thing is to use tampon or menstrual cup while swimming, sanitary pads/towels/napkins won’t work as the water would only make the material soggy and create more mess. Use dark colored swimming attire and bring extra clothes to be sure.
• Sex is very much prohibited during menstruation
People view menstruation as something that limits a woman’s activity especially sex. People would initially think sex while having period is gross and extremely wrong.
Truth: Menstruation does not negatively affect sex other than the fact that it is quite messy due to the blood flow. Sex is a human need and there are ways how to make love while on period without worrying about it. To avoid messy intercourse during menstruation, you can choose to do it while in the bath or shower, over layers of towels in bed, or other ways as far as your imagination can take you. Just be confident and be reminded that it is totally safe and there is nothing wrong about it. Women can even benefit from sex while on period since its proven to minimize menstrual cramps and other discomfort.
There is no reason for you to neglect any activity or do any unusual things while having your monthly period. In fact it is better if you proceed like the normal days and indulge yourself with physical activities to help regulate blood flow and reduce abdominal cramping.
There are some conditions though where some women are having a hard time during their menstruation mainly because of discomfort and even at times, extreme unmanageable pain. This issue have been long identified and nowadays, there are remedies for us women in order to function as normal as possible during these days.
Here are some of the common discomforts experienced during menstruation:
Usually, cramping is one of the common thing we feel during or even before menstruation. This cramping or known as dysmenorrhea is commonly caused by contraction in the uterus while or before your monthly period. There are even some girls who suffer severe cases of cramping that affects their daily activities. There is no direct cure to dysmennorhea but there are things we can do to somehow reduce the symptoms that affects us.
Things to do:
1. Take NSAIDs or any painkiller that best suits you. Here below are some recommended ones:
For mild pain:
For moderate-severe pain:
-Diclofenac, Ibuprofen, Ketoprofen, Meclofenamate, Mefenamic acid, Naproxen
It is alright to obtain some over-the-counter drugs to help reduce pain from time to time but if you experience dysmennorhea regularly and need stronger medicine, better consult your doctor first.
2. Apply hot compress or take a warm bath.
Heat helps relieve pain and reduce cramping of the muscles. It also helps blood flow and helps relax the entire body as a whole.
3. Be careful about your food choices.
Low fat vegetarian diet is said to be the ideal diet when experiencing discomfort. Strong spiced food such as spicy, salty, and sour food is not recommended at this time.
4. Avoid smoking.
Smoking is an identified risk factor for dysmennorhea.
5. Try activities that can help you.
Comfort differs from every woman. Find out what best applies to you, here are some suggestions that work for most:
-Acupuncture, Massage, Meditation, Exercise, TENS
Nausea is the feeling of being sick without actually vomiting. This is commonly caused by the pain you feel from the dysmenorrhea, headache, too much acid in your stomach or/and hormonal imbalance.
Here are some remedies you can do to ease the condition:
1. Ginger- Known as one of the best remedies you can have when suffering from nausea. You can choose your own way: there quite different ginger products nowadays, ginger tea, ginger preserves, ginger candy, or just simply boil it or slice into bite size and chew.
2. Antacid – if you are aware that your nausea is caused by excess acid in the stomach then take antacid. Antacids are fairly cheap and widely available in many forms; chewable tablets, liquid form or small easy swallow tablets.
3. Milk- Milk acts like antacid and is a better substitute if you are conscious about chemicals or simply the thought of taking medical products. Warming milk is even better to avoid discomfort of upsetting the stomach. You can drink milk anytime and can even induce sleep in case your nausea is completely unbearable.
4. Aromatherapy- Smell greatly affects what we feel. Find what a scent that is favorable to you. Some recommended ones are the following: peppermint, lavender, rose, mint, and some other mild flower scents.
5. Try to sit up or lie down with elevated head- Standing or keeping an uncomfortable position won’t help ease nausea nor does lying down flat. You need to help gravity keep the contents of your stomach to where they are supposed to be. Find a comfortable position but make sure your head is elevated.
Menstruation happens to every woman but there are some case where certain abnormalities occur. There are different discomforts women can experience during this time but being aware of your body and taking initiative to know how to manage what you feel is just the best prevention everyone can take. Women who have this condition must also seek for professional help in case things are that serious and you can learn more ways to manage your condition effectively.
For the lucky ones who don’t experience any irregularities during menstruation, just remember not to worry about unusual myths and just enjoy your day to day activities as normal. Menstruation should not be a hindrance to our lives and shouldn’t be that dreadful few days of our monthly lives that we are dreading for. Turn the experience into a positive one and never again worry about your period.