Understanding Your Menstruation: Myths and Truths

Your ‘time of the month’, ‘moon time’, ‘crimson wave’, ‘visit from Aunt Flo’ – there are so many phrases used to avoid saying the word ‘menstruation’. Even though it’s something most women and menstruating people experience at some point in their life, periods are not necessarily a topic that is discussed openly. With this self-imposed silence, it’s no wonder there are a lot of myths surrounding this monthly process.

You’ve probably heard myths about period products, hormones, and pregnancy since you first learned about menstruation in school. In today’s article, we’re looking at what’s true – and what’s not – about periods.


You should avoid exercising when you’re on your period.


Exercise releases feel-good hormones like dopamine, so if you struggle with low mood during your period then exercise can be really helpful for your mental health, as well as your physical health.

“Exercise helps relieve symptoms associated with your period. It can make you feel better, concentrate more easily, and feel energised. It can also ease pain such as cramps, back pain, and headaches,” said Pamela Kurey, an Obstetrician-Gynaecologist at Chester County Hospital.

You might feel the need to change the kind of exercise you do during your period, and that’s ok – listening to your body throughout your cycle is really important. More gentle forms of exercise like walking and yoga can still have great health benefits, so if you’re not in the mood for a sweaty HIIT class then there are still exercise options available for you during your period – it doesn’t need to be all or nothing.


Your period should last exactly one week each month.


Every single body is different, and menstrual cycles can change too. The average cycle (from day 1 of your period until the day before your next period) is about 28 days, however it’s common for cycles to last from 21 to 40 days, or to follow an irregular pattern.

On average, periods last around 2 to 7 days, and women lose about 20 to 90ml (about 1 to 5 tablespoons) of blood in a period. With these kinds of ranges, there’s no ‘normal’ period – it’s really about finding out what your own personal cycle is like and being aware of any changes.


It always hurts.


If you have painful periods, there may be ways to manage the pain – it’s worth speaking to your GP or a health professional about pain management and prevention strategies.

Period Power author and Health Practitioner Maisie Hill shares, “ I used to have horrific period pain, it was severe, and excruciating, and really impacted my life in lots of ways. And when I was bleeding I would be running scorching hot baths at three or four in the morning to try and deal with the pain because the painkillers that I’d taken had worn off overnight. That was my life for 15 years, until I decided to do something about it. And I did a lot – I tried just about every type of treatment going! I found the perfect combination of therapies for me, and was able to finally deal with my period pain once and for all.”

Painful periods can also sometimes be caused by conditions affecting your womb, ovaries or hormones, such as polycystic ovary syndrome, fibroids, endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease – so if you’re at all unsure, it’s worth getting checked out.


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