5 Dangerous Myths About Periods That We’ve All Believed Until Now

<span class="copyright">ImageSource / Pancake Pictures via Getty Images</span>
ImageSource / Pancake Pictures via Getty Images

As research continues and we learn more about menstrual cycles and how they impact our wellbeing throughout the month, we’re becoming more informed on all things periods.

However, there are still some widely-believed myths about Aunt Flo and while some may be fun to believe, like syncing cycles with our besties, a leading menstrual care clinic warns that some myths are actively harmful.

Dr Shazia Malik, a consultant OBGYN and UK Medical Director at gynaecological health company and virtual women’s health clinic Daye, said: “The most dangerous myths are those that perpetuate stigma, limit access to menstrual products, or spread misinformation about reproductive health.

“Using accurate terminology and debunking myths with facts can help combat period stigma and ensure menstrual health is treated with the importance it deserves.”

Dangerous menstrual hygiene myths that we still believe 

You can’t get pregnant during your period

While this may seem like an obvious truth, Dr Malik warns that it’s not actually that simple. She said: “While less likely, it is still possible to get pregnant if you have unprotected sex during your period, especially if you have a short menstrual cycle or irregular periods.”

The doctor added that even people who have a regular cycle only menstruate exactly mid-cycle 80% of the time, so it’s possible to get pregnant earlier in the cycle.


You shouldn’t swim while you’re on your period 

While swimming may seem like a bad idea, this kind of gentle exercise could be exactly what you need to deal with the cramps and mood swings of a menstrual period.

Dr Malik said: “Exercise can actually help relieve menstrual cramps and boost your mood during your period. Swimming is also completely safe with the right menstrual products, such as tampons or period cups.”

 PMS isn’t real and menstrual pain is exaggerated

It’s fair to say that this particular myth is probably not one that’s circulated by people that have PMS and period pain.

Dr Malik said: “Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a recognised medical condition involving real physical and emotional symptoms. Menstrual cramps can be severe for some and are not imaginary.

“Dismissing them minimises people’s experiences and stops us from discussing the huge social and economic costs associated with painful menstruation and pelvic pain.”

Menstrual cycles should be 28 days long

This is a very outdated idea. In fact, Dr Malik pointed out that normal, healthy cycles can range anywhere from 21 to 35 days in length and cycle lengths can vary from month to month.

You shouldn’t have sex during your period

Dr Malik said: “Sex during menstruation is safe and can even relieve menstrual cramps for some people.

“There is no medical reason to avoid intimacy while menstruating as long as you feel comfortable.”