It’s no secret that women rarely look forward to their monthly flow.
Periods mean mood swings and mild, or sometimes severe, discomfort, not to mention extra bathroom trips, a fuller purse, and some extra planning. If you consider your monthly period a big disruption in your life, read on for four period myths that may actually be cause for concern.
1. Period pain is normal.
Period pain is known as dysmenorrhea. Pain felt during menstruation usually presents itself as muscle cramping in the lower abdomen. The intensity and length of the pain can vary for each woman.
However, one of the most common misconceptions about period pain is that it is normal. If your period pain has you canceling plans or reaching for something stronger than over-the-counter pain reliever, it isn’t the norm—or something you have to deal with.
When to Get Help for Period Pain
If you’re experiencing any of the following, it’s time to talk to your doctor.
- Pain relievers and self-care methods like applying heating pads or hot baths don’t help.
- The pain disrupts your normal life.
- You’re over 25 and just started getting severe cramps.
- Your cramps have gotten worse.
2. Irregular and heavy bleeding is nothing to worry about.
Irregular and heavy bleeding have a name—menorrhagia. While the amount of blood loss during a period is different for each woman, soaking through menstrual products, facing prolonged bleeding or having a period so light that it only lasts 1-2 days is another story.
Heavy and irregular menstrual bleeding is something you shouldn’t delay discussing with your doctor. Because besides the inconvenience it may cause you, it can be a sign of menstrual disorders that may affect fertility.
Heavy, prolonged or irregular menstrual cycles can make it difficult to know when you’re ovulating, which makes conceiving more challenging. But it may also signal an underlying condition is at play, such as polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis or something more serious.
3. You shouldn’t have sex on your period.
Period sex is still a controversial topic. While it may get a bit messy, it’s ultimately just a personal choice between willing partners, and you may take comfort in knowing there is no physical reason you can’t have sex on your period.
You may be surprised, but period sex can actually have many health benefits. For one, orgasms can help lessen pain associated with period cramping. How? When you orgasm your pelvic muscles contract, acting almost like an internal massage, to relieve period pain.
Additionally, because hormones ramp back up during your period, you may experience a nice boost to your libido during your monthly menstruation.
So if your sex drive is revving and your partner is on board, know that there’s no reason to shy away from this once-taboo act.
4. You can’t get pregnant on your period.
As you get more comfortable with period sex, don’t forget about protection—yes, even during your monthly flow—if you’re not ready to get pregnant.
If you think of period days as literal “red” days, where you can’t conceive because your fertile window hasn’t hit yet, think again. While the chances of getting pregnant on your period are smaller, it still is very much possible.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, if you experience shorter-than-normal cycles than the typical 28 to 30 days, you could get pregnant.
A shorter menstrual cycle means your ovulation may take place earlier. Say you have sex toward the end of your period. Sperm, which can live up to 5 days inside you, could fertilize your egg when ovulation takes place.
Not sure what your menstrual cycle is? Start by tracking your period with one of these helpful apps.
How We Can Help
Have more questions about your period and other myths you’d like dispelled? Call the Kaldas Center at 920-886-2299.