Now at this very moment, 800 million women are menstruating. That’s a huge number, isn’t it? But how many of us talk about menstruation. Why do we keep treating it as a dirty dark secret whenever girls in school are distributed pads they are said to hide them from the boys? When we go to buy a pad in the chemist we have to ask on the female pharmacist and we must carry a non-transparent bag so no one can see what we are buying. These are certain rules we girls are taught as kids.
Menstruation is as normal as having a headache. It is not something to be ashamed about, both boys and girls must be educated about menstruation. It’s important for both the gender to know about periods because it will help girls understand their body better and boy will learn how they can respect and support their opposite gender. So here are some unheard facts about menstruation, which both girls and boys must know.
Top 15 Facts About Menstruation You Didn’t Know About
1. How Much A Woman Spends On Menstrual Products
An average woman is said to have 400-period cycles within her entire lifetime. So they end up spending about $13.5 per month on menstrual products, and that equals $6360 during their entire life. Women must use safe sanitary products and must avoid using dirty rugs, newspapers, leaves, etc.
We shouldn’t hesitate to spend a small sum of money on sanitary products because menstrual hygiene is extremely important. Poor menstrual hygiene can invite multiple problems into your life. Using a pad must not be a choice, it’s a right, which every girl deserves.
2. Menstrual Hygiene Day
Every year May 28 is celebrated as Menstrual Hygiene Day. In May 2013, an organization named WASH united started a 28-day campaign to generate awareness about menstruation and menstrual hygiene management. The campaign was named ‘May #MENSTRAVAGANZA’. Therefore, they decided to create a global menstruation awareness day. On MAY 28 2014, many people from all around celebrated the first world menstrual hygiene day by organizing rallies, exhibitions, movie screenings, etc.
Since then, every year, menstrual hygiene day has been celebrated to create awareness about MHM, i.e menstrual hygiene management. MHM includes addressing challenges and hardships faced by women and girls during periods. They try finding solutions for these problems, creating awareness on social media, educating both men and women about menstruation, and catalyze a global movement to support women.
3. Menstrual Myths
One of the most common myths among people is that menstruation goes on for an entire month, but it’s wrong, it’s just 5-7 days every month. And also woman does not mensurate their entire life, they start their menstrual cycles between the age of 8-15, and these cycles end between the ages of 45-55.
Another common myth is that people believe that a woman menstruating must not have a bath or swim. These rules were formed before the existence of sanitary products. Now women can surely bath when during periods and also swim by using tampons and menstrual cups.
Many people like to believe that you won’t get pregnant if you have sex during periods, but its complete rubbish. Women can get pregnant, the chances may be very low but it’s better to have protected sex to avoid trouble. People in many regions believe that having sex with women having periods will kill them, but like many menstrual myths, this is false too.
4. Total Amount Of Blood Lost During Periods
A woman loses about 30ml to 50ml of blood during her periods that it about 2-3 tablespoon. Women might find it hard to believe since it feels like a blood bath down there but it’s true. It seems like a blood bath because the discharge not only contains blood but also uterine tissues, thickened endometrial cells, and blood clots, therefore it adds up to the volume.
Many women even bleed up to 80 ml of blood, such periods are considered to be very heavy. Reading this might seem a bit uncomfortable but trust me it’s way worse. Not here to scare you, but next time, when we communicate with a female, be as kind, as polite, as helpful as you can because they go through terrible pain every month and they still manage to work for themselves and their family.
5. Amount Of Time Woman Spends Menstruating
As mentioned earlier a woman menstruates for about 5-7 days in her entire life, which adds up to 7 years. Yes, you read it right, a woman bleeds for about 7 years of her life, 7 years they suffer pain, go through the process of changing pads and tampons and additionally fights period stigma that the society lays on them. Some kind institutions provide their female employees with period leave, which they can take every month during days when the period cramps are at its peak.
6. Tampons And Virginity
Many people tend to believe that using tampons might take away their virginity by breaking their hymen. This is a common belief associated not just with tampons but also with menstrual cups and disc. But this belief is not true. If you still fear that a tampon can break your hymen, consult a gynecologist, they will guide you better. People around the world find the idea of inserting something into a vagina disgraceful, many even find periods disgraceful.
Thanks to various organizations, that work day and night to remove this stigma from our society. A period is not just a pad, blood, and pain; a period is nature, it’s life. Both men and women must be equally educated about menstruation because it’s not just a woman thing, it’s a path to generate life.
7. Periods During Olden Times
Periods during ancient times were very different from what it is now. There were crazy, illogical beliefs attached to menstruation. People in ancient Rome used to believe that women menstruating are dark witches. They could stop storms, kill crops, make dogs go crazy, and even kill bees by just looking at their eyes.
The Roman women used pads and tampons created from wool, yes the concept of tampons is not a new one, it is a way older concept than we think it is. In the medieval period, Europeans used to burn toads in a pot and then transfer their ashes into a pouch. They would carry this pouch near their vagina to ease out heavy flow. The french used to think that the child who is created by period sex would turn into a monster.
Periods also had a positive angle in the old period. People living in some regions of Europe believed that drinking period blood would cure leprosy, YUCK! African people who used to perform folk magic called Hoodoo said that putting period blood in a guy’s coffee would make them fall in love with you.
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8. Periods Helped Bag An Oscar
Period, End Of Sentence is an Indian short film directed by Rayka Zehtabchi that portrays how Indian woman is fighting the period stigma and how a group of a local woman in Hapur manufactures low-cost biodegradable pads. This short film gave a strong and very important message out in the world; it gave a voice to every woman out there. Their message was so powerful that even received the best documentary award at the 91st Academy Awards, famously known as the Oscars. It also received a positive response at various film festivals such as the Cleveland International Film Festival, Traverse City Film Festival, etc.
9. Periods During Various Seasons
With changing seasons everything around us seems to experience changes. Periods too experience changes during each season. The degree of pain, amount of flow, the length of each period, each of the following changes during each season. The ovarian activity is very high in summers as compared to the winters.
During winters, due to lack of sunshine, the ovulation is less frequent. Therefore, the length of the cycles is longer than in the summers. These changes are influenced by various factors such as your weight, your metabolic rate, your diet, your daily activities, etc.
10. Effects Of Stress During Periods
Not many people known about this but stress has a very powerful effect on periods. Experiencing a lot of stress would lead to you skipping your ovulation, which means you will bleed but you won’t be able to get pregnant. This will be a huge issue for those who are trying to conceive.
If you have PMS, taking a lot of stress will just make your situation worse. Various reports have linked traumatic stress to the condition of Amenorrhea. Researchers even state that physical, emotional, and sexual abuse can lead to the PMS [Premenstrual syndrome] and PMDD [Premenstrual dysphoric disorder]. Excessive stress can also result in painful periods. Stress directly affects our uterus therefore its better if we overcome it with the help of meditation, yoga, and various healing practices.
11. Changes In Your Weight Can Affect Periods
Changes in our weight will too affect our menstrual cycles. Both weight loss and weight gain have a major influence on our monthly cycles. Changes of about 20% of body weight lead to alteration in our hormone levels that might lead to Amenorrhea; it is a condition that includes the absence of period cycles. Changing in the menstrual cycle can furthermore cease ovulation.
A little change in weight won’t harm, but a major weight change in a short period could be harmful to your monthly cycles. Losing or gaining a lot of weight invites stress into your body. People who have PCOS should avoid being overweight, since its a major risk factor for them.
12. First Period Either Comes With Celebration Or Fear
Culture plays a very important part in the life of people, and culture brings along a lot of rituals. These rituals are connected to every phase of our lives, and also with menstruation. Among various parts of the world, the periods are celebrated through different rituals and traditions.
In Brazil, girls who are a part of the Amazonian Tikuna tribe have to live in private rooms for a period of 3 months to a year when they get their first period. While they stay in these rooms they have to acquire knowledge about their community. After the end of this period, they are welcomed back into their community with a grand celebration.
Various communities residing in the southern region of India celebrate the girl’s first period with a ceremony called Ritusuddhi or half-sari function. This ceremony signifies the transition of the girl, their maturity and teaches the girl about her responsibilities towards her family and society.
In Japan, few communities celebrate a girls first period by eating a traditional Japanese dish called Sekihan. But this is not a case for most of the girls, various girls experience fear and shame due to the response she receives from her family and the people around her. At many places, when a girl gets her period, she has to leave her education and must get married, since menstruation symbolizes that the girl is now ready to bear children.
13. Number Of Women In The World Who Do Not Have Access To Sanitary Products
One of three girls in the world do not have excess to menstrual products. 23 million girls in the world have to drop out of school due to inadequate menstrual hygiene management facilities. In India, 43% of women do not have access to sanitary products, this is the situation not just seen in India but all around the world.
It is the responsibility of the government and also the citizen of the earth to ensure every woman get these basic facilities. It’s everyone’s responsibility to keep the woman of your country safe from all the infections and serious diseases that can be caused due to a lack of sanitary products.
14. Poor Menstrual Hygiene Can Lead To Serious Infections
We have already seen how most of the females in these worlds do not get access to sanitary products. As a woman, I feel ashamed and terrified as I type that, a woman who does not access to sanitary products uses mud, dirty rags, dried cow dung cakes, ash, wood husks, newspaper during periods. Imagine having the following things beneath your vagina while it’s bleeding. Poor menstrual hygiene is the fifth biggest killer of women in the world. It’s high time that we are aware of these terrible facts and try helping the woman and girls around the world who are menstruating.
15. Disney Was The First To Make A Movie On Periods
Disney is known for making beautiful magical movies that are loved by people from all age groups especially the kids. But Disney made the first-ever movie on periods, titled ‘ The story of Menstruation’. It is a 10 minute long animated short film, which was a non-theatrical release shown to approximately 105 million American students for their health education classes. It was the first-ever commercially sponsored movie to be distributed in high school. It was also the first movie to use the word vagina in its screenplay.
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