Menstruation—8 myths and realities you should know

On average, a woman will have 450 menstrual cycles in the course of her lifetime. Hormonal, physical, and psychological changes—menstruation rarely goes unnoticed in one’s lifetime and generates a lot of questions for many women. We are lifting the veil on some commonly held myths. 

1

An irregular cycle is indicative of infertility.

False. 

Many women have irregular menstrual cycles. This can make it difficult to calculate the time of ovulation, but does not necessarily indicate a fertility problem. Various factors, such as weight change, stopping birth control pills, and stress can influence the menstrual cycle. Ovulation occurs 14 days before the start of the next period, whether the cycle is regular or not.

2

Menstrual cramps are a warning sign of infertility.

False. 

Dysmenorrhea, or menstrual pain, affects about 50% of women, and even more in some age groups. Menstrual pain is caused by uterine contractions and in most cases is completely normal. The severity of the pain varies from one woman to another. Dysmenorrhea can sometimes be a symptom of another health problem that can cause infertility.

Menstrual pain

3

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is all in your head.

False. 

Many women suffer from PMS to varying degrees. The symptoms (fatigue, breast tenderness and swelling, bloating in the lower abdominal, headaches, irritability, etc.) usually disappear after a few days. The causes of PMS are unknown, but hormonal changes could play a role. Regular exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep can help to reduce PMS symptoms.

4

If a girl does not have her period at age 14, it isn’t normal.

False. 

Menstruation usually starts between the ages of 10 and 14. However, some girls may get their period earlier or later. If a girl does not have her period by age 16, this is called primary amenorrhea. It is important to see a doctor to determine the cause. Most often, primary amenorrhea is due to a delay in puberty that is not serious, but there are several other possible causes.

5

The use of tampons often causes toxic shock syndrome (TSS).

False. 

TSS is a rare and sometimes fatal infection caused by bacterial toxins in the blood. TSS can affect anyone. Studies have not clearly determined a link between tampon use and TSS, but hygiene practices, the length of time the tampon is left in place, and the absorbency of tampons may play a role. To limit the risks of tampon use, read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

6

Heavy periods are not normal.

True and false. 

A woman loses four tablespoons of blood during her period on average. The duration and abundance of the menstrual flow varies from one woman to another and from one cycle to the next. Menorrhagia is often not serious and is characterized by heavier periods that last longer. It is most often caused by hormonal fluctuations, but can sometimes be a sign of a more serious problem.

7

It is possible to supress your period.

True. 

There are many reasons why women prefer not to menstruate and there are ways to supress it. For instance, continuous use of birth control pills is a frequently used method. The effectiveness is not perfect, and spotting may still occur. In the presence of certain gynecological problems, continuous use of birth control pills to reduce the frequency of periods may be a recommended treatment. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist before changing the way you take your birth control pills.

8

You shouldn’t practise sports during menstruation.

False.

The opposite is true. Physical exercise can be beneficial during menstruation. In fact, regular exercise can help reduce menstrual pain and ease PMS.

physical exercise can be beneficial during your period

Your pharmacist can help

Do you have concerns about menstruation, wish to refill your birth control prescription, or obtain additional information about menstruation? Speak to your pharmacist who will be able to answer your questions.

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Menstruation—8 myths and realities you should know

On average, a woman will have 450 menstrual cycles in the course of her lifetime. Hormonal, physical, and psychological changes—menstruation rarely goes unnoticed in one’s lifetime and generates a lot of questions for many women. We are lifting the veil on some commonly held myths.
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