20 Bizarre Period Facts You Probably Didn’t Know
Flow, consistency, duration, colour, smell… Let’s face it, periods can be a little strange at times and everyone will have a different experience with them in their life. It’s not uncommon for even those of us who have been menstruating for years to be a little clueless about what’s actually going on down there. Even though I’d be willing to bet your period knowledge is a damn sight better than a medieval doctor’s, there’s probably a ton of bizarre things you may not know about menstruation…
A Bloody Remedy
During medieval times in Europe, menstrual blood was thought to be able to help cure ailments such as headaches, colds, leprosy… and even demonic possession!
It was believed in the Middle Ages that children with red hair were conceived during menstruation. Needless to say this is not true (it’s a little baffling that not one mother noticed she’d birthed a redhead who wasn’t conceived during her period…)
Did you know that your vagina isn’t the only place that you can bleed from during menstruation? The condition is known as “vicarious menstruation” and occurs when endometrial tissue is found in other, sometimes incredibly random, parts of the body. It can cause your nose, eyes, mouth, ears, lungs and skin to bleed too.
Cold Weather Discomfort
Cold weather can actually make your periods more uncomfortable. This is because the days are shorter, so you get less Vitamin D to boost your production of happy brain chemicals. With a lower mood, feelings of eating and hibernating set in which can worsen symptoms of premenstrual tension.
Even though it can feel as though you’re losing blood at an alarming rate during your period, you don’t actually bleed as much as you think. On average, you’ll only lose around 60ml each cycle which isn’t a great deal, despite what can only resemble a massacre in your underwear.
It’s Not All Blood
Yep, it’s not just blood that oozes from your vagina, but mucus and vaginal lining tissue too, which is why the stuff collected in your tampon/pad/knickers looks like it adds up to a hell of a lot more than 60ml!
What Is That?
Ever had a globule of jelly-like stuff come out of you? Well, that’s congealed blood, tissue and mucus which forms when you’re producing more than your body can thin with anticoagulants. While small blobs here and there aren’t usually anything to worry about, if you find larger or more painful clots in your flow, best check in with a healthcare professional.
Despite what rumours you’ve heard, a common misconception is that you can’t get pregnant whilst on your period, but that’s is NOT true. In fact, sperm can live for up to five days inside your vagina – better start charging them rent! If you then experience early ovulation, or have a shorter-than-average menstrual cycle, fertilisation could occur – which results in a different kind of lodger altogether!
In the days leading up to your period, your body can mimic pregnancy symptoms by secreting hormones that cause irritability, bloatedness, spots and fluid retention.
How old were you?
In today’s world, people are starting their periods as young as eight, with the average age at which girls+ are starting their period being eleven. This is much earlier than it was a few decades ago when the average age was in the late teens.
Scientists have been researching the effects of artificial light on periods over the years. Some believe that light exposure affects the secretion of the sleep hormone, melatonin, which helps control the release of certain hormones. They found that some women who slept with the light on actually saw the duration of their periods shorten.
The Story of Menstruation (1946)
The grandfather of storytelling, castles and animated fantasy, Walt Disney, actually worked with Kotex to produce a pre-teen video about periods. It’s thought to be the first video to use the word “vagina”.
If you’re an asthma sufferer then you may be prone to PMA, premenstrual asthma. In the days leading up to the start of your period, your sensitivity to allergens is heightened while your lung capacity can decrease.
You Sound Different
No one likes to listen to the sound of their own voice, but have you ever noticed the tone of your voice change when your menstruating? According to vocalisation researchers, the change in hormones throughout the month can affect your vocal cords, causing a change during your period. These researchers concluded that people sounded “less attractive” when they were on their period. Hard eye-roll, I know, but considering there’s really no scientific or objective definition of “attractive” – and certainly not for an “attractive voice”, whatever that means – we don’t think there’s any need for you to start scheduling romantic dates around your cycle in case your voice puts of potential partners…
Florida State University carried out a study in 2009 which proved that your natural musk changes when you’re on your period. To test this, they studied testosterone levels in males when they smelt clothing worn by people ovulating and people menstruating. These candidates were far more aroused by the musk of someone ovulating. This is probably because during ovulation, your body releases pheromones which are essentially designed to alert potential partners that you’re primed for mating. There are benefits for you too, though, because this is the time of the month when your libido is highest!
Whilst gearing up for her space mission in 1983, NASA asked astronaut Sally Ride if she’d need 100 tampons for the one week of her period whilst in orbit. She merely replied, “No. That would not be the right number”. NASA said this. NASA.
Period sex is great. Self-love is great and orgasms do wonders for helping to relieve cramps. Basically, uterine contractions caused by an orgasm can release endorphins and oxytocin which helps suppress pain. Double win!
Irregular is Normal
From when you get your first period and all through puberty, your body is going through a whole lot of change so it’s not uncommon to experience irregular periods. Some people will have a cycle of 21-days whilst others may find it to be around 45-days, but rest assured, your cycle will start to level out around the age of 18.
It’s not uncommon for athletes, people with restrictive or purging eating disorders, or people who have lost a lot of weight for medical reasons to stop having their periods.This is because you actually need a certain level of body fat to menstruate because your estrogen levels are affected by your fat cells. If your body fat level dips under approximately 12%, you may stop surfing the crimson wave.
Humans who menstruate could spend up to ten whole bloody years of their life menstruating – that’s around 3,500 days of living with Aunt Flo!
Founder of Velo Me
Pop your email in for the latest OHNE-goings (period, sex, women & wellness)