A woman’s menstrual cycle is often misunderstood, even by women in their 20s, 30s, and beyond. Here, women’s health expert and author Marla Ahlgrimm dispels a few common myths surrounding this monthly occurrence.
Myth: All Women Get PMS
While virtually all women experience some physical or emotional signs that their period is about to begin, not all are considered PMS. According to Marla Ahlgrimm, premenstrual syndrome refers to extreme symptoms, such as headaches, depression, anxiety, and fluid retention. Even among women who do report premenstrual syndrome symptoms, severity of symptoms can vary woman to woman.
Myth: Hormone Feelings Aren’t Real
Hormones play a significant role in how we manage our feelings. But, just because feelings may be amplified premenstrually does not mean they are not valid. Ahlgrimm encourages women to listen to their inner voice and look for ways to better manage exaggerated emotions or mood swings.
Myth: You can’t Have Sex On Your Period
This is 100% not true, says Marla Ahlgrimm. The decision to – or not to – have sex during “that time of the month” is an extremely personal one. While many people believe that period blood is the body’s way of pushing toxins from the vaginal cavity, it is not. It is simply a vaginal secretion that contains a small amount of blood along with uterine tissue and mucus.
Myth: Periods Are Embarrassing
This one is subjective, says Marla Ahlgrimm. While young women may feel embarrassed or self conscious during their first few years with a menstrual cycle, the truth is that all women go through it. A period is a natural bodily function and one that is crucial to the reproductive system.