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Myth vs. Reality: Periods

Updated: Feb 28, 2021

Our recent workshop at Vadadla Primary School in Gujarat, India gave us an opportunity to learn many things, one of which was the different beliefs many Indian women hold regarding menstruation.

In this post, we attempt to tackle four common period myths!

Myth #1: Eating spicy or sour food makes period cramps worse

Reality: Many people believe that spicy food either brings or worsens their period, but this is a myth. Spicy food can cause heartburn and stomach issues, but it has no impact on the intensity of pain. The truth is that some women may simply feel more pain than others due to generics and other factors².

Myth #2: Exercising worsens period cramps

Reality: This may initially seem counter-intuitive, why should one put one’s body through more strain when it is already in so much pain? The truth of the matter is that exercise can actually help relieve the pain of period cramps and improve one’s mood. For instance, low-intensity aerobic exercises such as walking and swimming can increase blood circulation in the body. Pelvic stretches can reduce the intensity of menstrual cramps. Finally, endorphins released by exercise can help keep negative thoughts at bay and provide a boost of energy¹.

Myth #3: Water can stop blood flow

Reality: By completely submerging in water, the pressure of the water actually counteracts the gravity of blood leaving the vagina. The blood flow doesn’t completely stop, but this pressure prevents blood from leaving the body until after leaving the water body. For this reason, there is no need to avoid swimming during menstruation. Most of the blood won’t flow out anyways, and a tampon can soak in the rest³.

Myth #4: Periods are worse in the winter than the summer

Reality: During the winter, people are generally stuck indoors.They tend to get little to no exercise and usually consume more food as well. This can often lead to irregular and longer cycles and while simultaneously worsening menstrual symptoms⁴.

What are some common period myths that you've heard of?


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