Your kids are getting information about periods somewhere.
The question is “where?” and “is the source credible?”
What’s it in your household? YouTube? Snapchat? TikTok? Group of kids at school you’re not a huge fan of?
Your kids are likely going to have some questions about periods and period care products — at least we hope they do because it’s almost concerning not to question why a human would bleed regularly once a month for a large portion of their life. Whether they hear about periods at school or through media, there are a few particularly common myths we hear. So, let’s just get ahead of those and calm their worries!
1. Myth: I can’t shower or swim when I’m on my period.
Certifiably untrue. You 100% can swim, shower or bathe on your period. Not only can you, but you should shower on your period. It’s good hygiene and can prevent bacteria infections.
If you’re swimming or headed to a water park, be mindful of any period care products you use. Menstrual pads tend to soak up and retain water which makes them heavy and ineffective in the pool. Tampons or menstrual cups on the other hand are a great alternative.
Aside from swimming and bathing, a lot of kids believe there is a particular activity they have to sit out of on their period like cooking or camping. Different religions and cultures have varying beliefs on this matter but, scientifically speaking, there is nothing you can’t do while on your period.
2. Myth: People will be able to sense if I’m on my period.
Not unless you tell them! People can’t tell if you’re on your period by the way you walk, look, smell, act, etc. This is not to say periods don’t smell. Sometimes they do! Healthy periods can produce a light odor that smells exactly like what you would anticipate: blood or that metallic smell from iron in your blood.
That’s totally normal and, although you may be able to detect a slight smell, it’s highly unlikely anyone else would ever notice it as you go about your day. Think about it: have you ever known someone was on their period by the way they smelled?
If your period produces a strong, fishy odor, this could indicate infection and is often accompanied by another symptom such as burning while peeing, itching or irritation. If your child is concerned that they may have an infection, reach out to a doctor. They may be able to prescribe useful antibiotics.
3. Myth: Tampons can get lost inside the vagina.
Nope. Vaginas aren’t a gaping vortex in a female’s body. They’re a closed space, meaning objects that go in must come out. It’s not unheard of to lose a tampon string and, sure, that can feel pretty scary for a moment. But, rest assured, that tampon is in there and well within reach. You may just need to feel for the tampon for a minute. VeryWell Health has some good tips on this! If for any reason you still cannot remove the tampon, give your gynecologist or family doctor a call. They can remove it for you. Remember, even if this is the case, it’s not lost or stuck inside of you forever.
4. Myth: You have no control over your emotions when you’re on your period. Everybody gets PMS and it always manifests as crankiness/irritability.
Um, no. Only 90% of menstruators experience at least one Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) symptom throughout their menstrual cycle, the extremity of these symptoms varies from person to person and period to period and not all PMS symptoms relate to mood. For example, some menstruators experience fevers, bloating, headaches, acne or a host of other things that can occur as hormones fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle. Sometimes those fluctuations can impact our moods, but we control how we treat people….not our periods. If you’re someone who struggles with mood swings or irritability on your period, start tracking your symptoms. This way you can plan ahead and you don’t have to feel surprised or confused by the timing of your emotions. During the days when PMS starts to creep in, maybe you decide to spend more time alone or doing things to improve your mood, like an extra 15 minutes exercising.
5. Myth: You can’t get pregnant if you have sex during your period.
It’s rare, but you can. Sperm can live inside of you for up to 5 days and, if you have sex on your period but ovulate a few after, there is still a chance of conception.
For more where this came from and extra support preparing for tough growing-up conversations with your kids, check out maro parents. For help finding access to free and affordable period care products, reach out to Helping Women, Period.