Many period-related “don’ts” come from traditional times when menstruation was considered a disease and sometimes even a curse. Sadly, some of them are presented as health risks and still live in modern times. Nevertheless, the menstrual cycle is just a natural process that a woman’s body has to go through every month and many of the menstruation “taboos” are in fact myths with no scientific background to support them.
Popular menstrual myths
1. Working out
Performing physical exercise during menstruation is something that many women avoid because it is considered unhealthy. Actually, the truth is it’s completely safe to work out or do anything that involves physical effort while on your period unless you have health issues that may prevent you from doing that.
The only problem is that lots of women experience excessive blood flow and/or severe cramping in the first days of the period, which may lessen their ability to perform physical activities. On the other hand, it is well known that exercise helps reduce dysmenorrhea and water retention, common menstruation symptoms. Some women prefer doing Yoga doing their menstrual period, it’s know that Yoga is very good for the body and mind.
2. Taking a bath
Bathing and swimming are also completely safe while on period. In fact, thorough hygiene is recommended for women during their menstrual cycle to prevent infections. If you decide to go swimming, make sure you use a tampon or a menstrual cup to avoid blood leaking into the water. Like in many other cases, common sense applies here too.
3. Dyeing your hair
There are also myths about washing and dyeing your hair during your period. The most important thing you should know about your hair is that the only “living” part is its follicle (the organ that produces the hair and is found in your dermis). So the hair above the epidermis, the one we wash and dye, is not alive; there are no nerves and no biochemical activity present whatsoever. That is why menstruation cannot affect it, and the outcomes of washing or dyeing will be the same as during the rest of the month.
4. Having sex
No evidence proves that sexual intercourse during menstruation has negative health effects. So it is completely safe if you and your partner feel comfortable doing it. Nonetheless, another myth says you can’t get pregnant during your period. This is false, there is no safe time in a month when you can’t get pregnant, and you should still use protection.
Waxing is a popular way of removing unwanted hair and is preferred by many women. Research studies have shown that women are more sensitive to pain during the low-estrogen phase of their menstrual cycle (before and during the period). As long as you accept the possibility of dealing with more pain than usual, waxing during menstruation is completely safe.
Taking a sauna while on your period poses no health threats, but heating the lower back area can increase the blood flow temporarily. On a positive note, the heating effect of a sauna can alleviate cramps and water retention through the sweating it induces.