Periods might seem a bit scary and mysterious at times and you might have heard some pretty odd things about what you can and can't do while menstruating. Don't worry, periods are normal and we're busting eight common myths about them.
MYTH: You can hold in your period
You cannot hold in your period. Pee and period blood do not exit the body from the same place – urine exits from the urethra which has sphincters so can be controlled while period blood exits from the vagina which does not have sphincters so cannot be controlled.
MYTH: Everyone can tell when you're on your period
Nobody can tell when you’re on your period. You don’t look differently, walk differently or smell differently. That being said, don’t feel like you need to hide the fact you’re on your period! It’s great to be open and talk about it if you want to.
MYTH: If you use a tampon you are no longer a virgin
Anyone who has their period can use a tampon, it doesn’t matter if you have had sex or are a virgin. A tampon may occasionally cause the hymen to stretch but it does not cause someone to lose their virginity.
MYTH: Irregular periods are bad
Irregular periods are perfectly normal and usually nothing to worry about. Your period can come early and late. Some common causes of irregular periods include early stages of puberty, the type of contraception you're using, weight loss or gain, and stress.
MYTH: PMS is all in your head
PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is real and normal. The changes in your body's hormone levels before your period can cause physical and emotional changes. Symptoms can include feeling bloated, mood swings and feeling irritable.
MYTH: If you miss a period you are pregnant
A late period does not necessarily mean that you are pregnant as there are lots of reasons which may affect your cycle. Some reasons for a late or missed period can include stress, changes to your weight and medication that you're taking. If you have missed your period and are sexually active you should take a pregnancy test and see your GP just in case.
MYTH: Exercising during your period is bad for you
You might feel low on energy and not feel like being active during your period but exercising is a great way to ease cramps, beat fatigue and boost your mood. You might not be in the mood to do anything too strenuous but you can certainly go for a gentle jog, walk or swim if you want!
MYTH: You can’t go swimming on your period (especially in the ocean as sharks will attack you)
It is perfectly fine and safe to go swimming while on your period and it can even help ease cramps. The best period product to use while swimming is a tampon as they are convenient and safe to use in water. (Sharks will not smell your period blood and attack you if you’re swimming in the ocean).
Head back to the Periods Campaign page for more info.