Getting your period is an indicator of a girl entering the next phase of her life, but that doesn’t mean she automatically has all the answers. Period myths are commonly heard rules or guidelines for women on their period that have no truth behind them. Misinformation like that can cause women and young girls to feel insecure and anxious while on their period. Read below to uncover common period myths and learn the truth to being confident on your period.
Myth 1: Your period lasts exactly one week out of the month.
The first indicator that this is a myth comes from the generalization that all women have identical cycle lengths. This is false because every woman, vagina and menstrual cycle are unique. The menstrual cycle is counted from the first day of one period to the first day of the next whereas your period is just the first phase of your cycle. That first phase (the period) typically lasts between two and seven days. That duration can change for your first few cycles and should become more regular as time goes on.
Many women experience a range of period lengths due to a multitude of reasons: genetics, secondary health conditions, contraception. As Mayo Clinic says, “keep in mind that use of certain types of contraception, such as extended-cycle birth control pills and IUDs will alter your menstrual cycle.” Ask your healthcare provider how birth control or other health conditions may impact your period.
Myth 2: Your options for feminine hygiene during your menstrual cycle are tampons or pads.
As we mentioned above, every woman and vagina are unique, so the right choice for feminine hygiene products is too. Some women have secondary health conditions like vaginismus, a condition in which your vaginal muscles tighten involuntarily making it difficult and even painful to insert a tampon. Other women choose not to use tampons or pads simply because they don’t like them.
Thankfully women have more options than the two most common feminine hygiene products, tampons and pads. These include internal and external options like menstrual cups, menstrual discs and absorbent underwear to name just a few. See what the benefits are for each option to make the best decision for your cycle.
Myth 3: Your period stops when you’re swimming.
You may have heard this myth and felt a wave of relief as the summer months got closer. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but swimming does not stop your period completely. No need to pack away your bathing suit yet because although swimming doesn’t stop your period completely, the opposite pressure from the water does slow your flow.
For women that are thinking of swimming without any period protection during your next dip in the pool, be cautioned. When you get out of the water, the pressure change will cause your flow to resume normally and could cause a stain on your bathing suit. Women’s Health interviewed multiple doctors and suggested the best period protections for swimming are tampons, menstrual cups and menstrual discs. Pads and panty liners will not provide any protection in the water because they are external and will absorb the water instead of blood.
Myth 4: You can lose your tampon inside of your vagina.
The short correction of this myth is no, your tampon cannot get lost inside of your vagina. The string attached to the tampon can end up inside your body if you try to insert another one or have sex with one in. However, you typically can feel the tampon and/or string and pull it out. If your tampon gets stuck and you cannot remove it, see your Gyn healthcare provider or visit an urgent care clinic to get help with the removal. If your tampon gets stuck, contact your healthcare provider right away. Tampons are meant for single-use for up to a maximum of eight hours. If kept in longer, it can lead to toxic shock syndrome and other infections. Learn more about safe tampon use.