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 an irregular menstrual cycle. This can make calculating the ovulation period more complicated, but does not necessarily point to infertility. Various factors, such as a change in weight, stopping birth control pills, and stress can influence the menstrual cycle. Whether your menstrual cycle is regular or not, ovulation occurs 14 days before the start of your next period.

2

Menstrual cramps are a warning sign of infertility.

False. 

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

Menstrual pain

3

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is all in your head.

False. 

A large number of women suffer from PMS to various degrees. The symptoms (fatigue, tenderness and bloating of the breasts, bloating of the stomach, 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 relieve symptoms.

4

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

False. 

A girl’s first period usually occurs between the ages of 10 and 14. However, it may occur earlier or later in some girls. If a girl does not have her period at age 16, this is called primary amenorrhea. It is important to see a doctor in order to determine its cause. Most often, primary amenorrhea is due to delayed puberty and is not serious, but several other causes are possible.

5

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

False. 

TSS is a rare infection which can sometimes be fatal and which is caused by the presence of bacterial toxins in the blood. TSS can affect anyone. Studies have not clearly determined a link between the use of tampons and TSS, but hygiene practices, the duration of time in which a tampon is left in place, and the absorption capacity of tampons could play a role. To limit the risks related to 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 can also vary from one cycle to the next. Oftentimes and without cause for alarm, menorrhagia is characterized by a heavier and longer lasting period. It is most often caused by a hormonal change, but can sometimes be a sign of a more serious problem.

7

It is possible to supress your period.

True. 

There are several reasons why women prefer not to have their period and there are ways to supress it. For instance, continuous use of contraceptive pills is a frequently used method. It is not 100% effective and spotting may occur. In cases where gynecological problems are present, continuous use of contraceptive pills to reduce the frequency of periods may be a recommended treatment. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before changing how you take your contraceptive pills.

8

You shouldn’t practise sports while you have your period.

False.

Quite to the contrary, physical exercise can be beneficial during your period. In fact, regular physical activity helps to reduce menstrual pain and to alleviate PMS. 

physical exercise can be beneficial during your period

Your pharmacist can help

Do you have concerns about your period, or need to refill your prescription for contraceptives, or advice about menstruation? Talk 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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