Every month when a woman reaches the age of puberty, your body begins to prepare for a possible pregnancy. Mind you some reach puberty at an earlier age compared to other women. What happens is an egg is released by your ovaries and starts to make its way down the fallopian tubes. If a pregnancy does not happen then the released egg is reabsorbed back into the body. Then your progesterone and estrogen levels fall and the add layer in your uterus begins to be shed, as its intended purpose is not served for this month.
That shedding is what is released as the start of your menstrual cycle. The month-long process begins on the last day of your previous period and finishes as your next period starts. The average length of a menstrual cycle as we know it is around 28 days, but from 21 to 45 days is seen as normal as well. Since every woman is different than the next, variability in this is also accepted as long as it is within the stated range. As you will read in the article below, we gathered together some period/menstrual facts that we believe are very interesting and every one should know them!
Period fact #1: You do not bleed as much as you think
When you experience a heavy flow on one of your menstrual days, you may feel as if this can not be normal and may believe something is wrong with you. But rest assured that nothing is actually wrong with you and it is very normal for you to bleed heavily when you have your period! Your body usually loses around 3 tablespoons of blood throughout the duration of a menstrual cycle.
On average a woman can shed around a teaspoon and up to a small cup during your usual menstrual cycle. If, however, you find that you are losing a greater amount of blood compared to the stated amounts, then we recommend that you head over to a medical professional for medical advice on how you should proceed. Since if you are losing more blood than normal, especially over an extended period, you are at risk of developing anemia which comes with its own symptoms. From poor blood circulation, to spells of dizziness, and fatigue.
Period fact #2: Your periods can be more painful in the colder months
Did you know that when you are in an area of cold weather, it can have a significant impact on the severity of your menstrual cycle?! This fact is definitely amazing to me, that it can cause your flow to be heavier as well as longer than normal! So when it is the winter months several factors change, period duration, her flow, and pain can last longer when compared to summer months. So it stands to reason that this also happens to women living in colder countries.
The season of the year also tends to affect your PMS (Premenstrual syndrome). When the days are shorter and darker it can have an impact on your mood, this is particularly true when it mingles with your hormones. The link suspected for this is the lack of vitamin D produced naturally in our bodies, due to the lack of sun which both help our body to make vitamin D and dopamine. Both of these are very important for our general health and mood.
Period fact #3: You have nothing to be ashamed of
Having your period does not automatically mean that you are suddenly unable to function, you are a normal performing person albeit however uncomfortable you may be feeling. We all can talk about it without trying to cover up the topic or calling names that hint towards it.
Whenever you speak about it, you are just discussing a normal bodily function that has sadly been stigmatized. After a woman starts having her periods every month, they come to terms with the fact that their body does this and any ick factor disappears with time and becomes something that they deal with.
Period fact #4: You are not suddenly unreasonable and needy
An absurd stereotype placed on women is that when they get their periods they are all of a sudden helpless, this of course stemmed from males getting grossed out and not knowing how to handle a woman at that stage. Now despite some women being in slightly more need when on their period, it does not equate to a helpless baby! You just desire and extra bit of comfort when you have your menstrual cycle. So something extremely important to keep in mind, is that a woman is not ruled by her uterus or by her hormones.
Period fact #5: It is not hard to get environmental friendly period products
A woman menstruates throughout her entire life after starting puberty, and it stands to reason that along her life she will use many period products. But simply do not fret! There happens to be many ways to reduce plastic waste and have a guilt free conscience since you are doing your best to preserve the environment.
Your usual disposable tampons and pads are no longer the only remaining option for your menstrual hygiene! Now there is more than one eco-friendly option for you, where you can use it for many years. Options such as period panties and menstrual cups last you for quite a while, effectively decreasing any plastic waste on your part.
Period fact #6: You can smell and sound different
You should know that your hormones can affect the way you smell to others. When you are going through your period the reproductive hormones have an effect on your natural scent. Even though it is a subtle change and it is detectable by smell, it is considered something that remains from the early days of cavemen to point to a female who is ovulating compared to one who is in her menstrual cycle.
Also did you know that you could sound different? That your vocal chords do not let out your usual voice when experiencing your monthly cycle? This indicates that a woman can sound different at that time of the month, and can even sound unappealing. At least this was documented from the participants in research conducted by vocalization researchers.
Period fact #7: The age of starting puberty changed over the years
Centuries ago young girls would experience their first brush with puberty much later in years than compared with today? Over time this changed going from the average of 17 in the 1800s, to the age of 12 when a girl would experience her first period. A change of 5 years difference, what are the potential reasons for this?
Today scientists believe that there are several reasons for this. Since there is not a clear reason for this we can guess possible hormonal influences in the food we eat or just general nutrition. Nowadays we are able to eat better compared to 200 years ago, we have access to better food and unhealthy foods. This is relevant as with a girl having more fat cells, they can cause more estrogen to be present. And the more fat, the more estrogen she has and this may trigger the start of her puberty.
Period fact #8: It is possible for you to get pregnant
Many of us are under the generally accepted presumption that we can not get pregnant from sex while you have your period, but you should know that this is not completely true. Now this is not an amazing fact per say but it is an interesting one! As we know the likelihood of pregnancy happening while on your period is very unlikely, it is not completely out of the question.
This possibility exists because after ejaculation, sperm can survive on average for up to 5 days inside the uterus. So generally if you have intercourse 5 days before you start ovulating, on the first day the remaining sperm can fertilize the released egg. Getting back to our topic of interest, this is why you can get pregnant if you have sex near the end of your period and start ovulating just after.
Period fact #9: You will spend many days of your life menstruating
From the beginning of her first menstrual cycle indicating her turning into a maturing woman, she will get on average experience somewhere around 480 periods in her life. Now that is quite an amount if you ask me. Converting this number to how many period products a woman will use throughout her life will equal a large number, for example if she uses tampons then she will use around 10,000 to 11,000 tampons! This number of periods over a woman’s life will equal around 10 years of her life.
One thing to keep in mind is that a period has an impact on every one of us! Now since everyone is different from the next, the number of periods is unique depending on several factors, from length of a menstrual cycle to pregnancies, the amount of periods can vary throughout her life. And because many, many people experience periods, non- profit organizations are of extreme value to educate and supply necessary products for menstrual hygiene. To those in rural areas, homeless, and/or low income.
Period fact #10: You can bleed from other areas
In rare cases, a woman can bleed from other areas! It is called “vicarious menstruation”. This condition is where a woman bleeds from their nose, mouth, eyes, and believe it or not from her lungs too. The reason being is not clearly understood, but it is suggested that this occurs when your blood capillaries either soften or there is a response from your hormones at other areas of your body and they can just “leak” blood during a period.
Period fact #11: Your cramps can be as painful as childbirth
Chemicals known as Prostaglandins are made in your lining of the uterus during your menstrual cycle. They are known for causing contractions, which can lead to varying levels of pain and can decrease blood flow to your uterus. A similarity can be made with uterine contractions from labor to cramps from your menstrual cycle. As we know labor pain is much worse, but really severe menstrual cramps were compared to pain experienced in early labor.
Period fact #12: Period can make your asthma worse
In the week leading up to your period, you may already be getting ready for your period. You can already be feeling symptoms that come before your period, and if you suffer from asthma it is an added thing you have to be aware of. You can be part of 19 to 40 % of women who have heightened sensitivity to allergens combined with a lesser than normal lung capacity. Those women experience what is called PMA or premenstrual asthma, this is reported by an article published in the Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine journal.