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BellaOnline's Gynecology Editor

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Common Myths About Menstruation and Reproduction

Guest Author - Linda Reid

Folklore about sex and menstruation still exists today despite reproductive health and sex education being a standard part of most school curriculums.

Here are 10 myths that have been making the rounds for generations.

Myth No. 1

Hereís a myth that can have serious implications for anyone who believes it.

If the man pulls out before he ejaculates, you wonít get pregnant or a sexually transmitted disease.

Wrong.

Men secrete a pre-ejaculate fluid that neutralizes the urethra and vagina of acidity which is hostile to sperm. Although studies have shown this fluid does not contain sperm, it may pick up sperm from a previous ejaculation. It can also contain viruses and bacteria if infection is present. The only safeguard against pregnancy is contraception and abstinance. The only safeguard against infectious disease is a condom and abstinence.

Myth No. 2

If a girl is a virgin she shouldnít use tampons as it will tear the hymen.

False.

The hymen is a thin piece of tissue stretched across the inside of the vagina with one or more holes in it. Tampons may tear the hymen if inserted incorrectly, but so will horseback riding, some sports, and bike riding. A female is a virgin until she has sexual intercourse. Whether the hymen is intact or not has nothing to do with it.

Myth No. 3

You canít get pregnant if you have sex during your period.

Not true.

Although the risk is usually less during your period, unless you are using contraceptives, there are no truly safe days. At all.

Myth No. 4

You shouldnít exercise or do strenuous activities during your period.

You might try this as an excuse to get out of gym class or housework, but it is false.

Your period shouldnít curtail any activities, including swimming (another myth). As a matter of fact, studies show that women who are active may have less painful periods and of shorter duration. Stay active. Itís good for you.

Myth No. 5

Donít wash your hair or take a bath or shower when menstruating.

Why not? This is one of those myths that can make a sensible person shake their head.

Washing your hair or taking a bath or shower will not cause: cancer; a heavier period; back pain; or any of the myriad of rationale used to explain this old wives tale. Wash yourself all you want. A warm bath might even soothe menstrual cramps.

Myth No. 6

If you get a dental filling while menstruating, it will fall out.

Huh?

Fillings fall out if they are not put in correctly or decay occurs around the filling. Your period will not affect your fillings. Not brushing your teeth, will.

Myth No. 7

Itís not healthy to have sex during your period.

False.

There is no scientific evidence that suggests anything harmful will happen if a couple have sex at this time and there is even anecdotal evidence that it may help relieve menstrual cramps and decrease endometriosis.

Myth No. 8

A lot of blood is lost during menstruation.

No, it just looks like a lot.

On average, normal blood loss is only 1 to 2 ounces. The rest of it is tissue being sloughed off by your uterus.

Myth No. 9

If a woman has never had sex before her body will reject the sperm for the first few months and, therefore, canít get pregnant.

Absolutely not true!

You can become pregnant the very first time you have sexual intercourse. Donít believe that sex-addled male that is trying to convince you he doesnít need to wear a condom.

Myth No. 10

There are herbs you can take after sex that will prevent pregnancy.

No, there are not. There are claims that some herbs will prevent or terminate a pregnancy. They have not been scientifically proven and you have no way of knowing that what you are taking is safe and will actually work. They might even be toxic.

There are emergency contraception pills that can be taken after intercourse that will keep you from getting pregnant, but they may only be acquired through a physician. The best course of action is to take precautions so that there is no chance a pregnancy may happen. Prevention is worth a pound of cure!

In this day and age, women are much more aware of their bodies and how they work, and yet these myths persist. If it sounds silly it probably is. Turn on your logic meter and ask yourself:

Why should I believe this?

Can I support the statement with proof?

Is the source of the statement knowledgeable?

What are the consequences if it isnít true?
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Content copyright © 2013 by Linda Reid. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Linda Reid. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Dr. Denise Howard for details.

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