Who knew prepping for women’s health month would be such a learning journey! Wanting to address some commonly shared menstruation myths in pop culture, I decided to google “menstruation myths” to see what’s out there. I was flabbergasted. Sometimes I feel like I grew up in a shinny bubble protected by the world’s ideas, as I had no idea that “period shaming” was actually a thing. My search turned about issues like women being seen as “unclean” in religious terms when menstruating, as to feel guilty or shame that they had their period. Also mention to keep from talking about your period to men because it would make them uncomfortable (honestly people sometimes are uncomfortable when it comes to menstruation, I get it, but it doesn’t mean to avoid and suppress it…. that doesn’t mean the discomfort goes away, it just validates the shame and guilt women feel in expressing what is naturally occurring in their bodies… seriously the amount of issues we could resolve with just communication and good ol’ respect for each other… ugh… but I digress).
Repeat after me all women (and men) – A period is a natural occurring beautiful thing. It’s something to celebrate, not shame. No more shaming people for something that is part of who they are. Just because you don’t understand it, doesn’t make it wrong.
Okay… so back to menses myths! We all know the common ones – don’t exercise when you menstruate, don’t have spicy food, stay away bears… all the classics! I wanted to discuss the medical incongruent misnomers more. Growing up my entire female lineage had difficult heavy periods resulting in miscarriages and hysterectomies. I remember being told, in a matter-of-fact way as a child, that I was “doomed” to suffer in pain and would have nothing but horrible periods my entire life. I didn’t believe it because intuitively I knew that I was not dealt a “genetic sentence”. Genetics aren’t everything. The majority of your genes aren’t activated and need many environmental cues to become activated (one of them being mindset). Thankful as a teen I knew that this wasn’t my “fate”. Yet many young women are told a similar story, thinking their only reprieve from period pain is the birth control pill or removing the organ indefinitely (a hysterectomy). It’s not. It’s a sign that something is imbalanced and to explore further. You can correct imbalances with foods, herbs, supplements, acupuncture, meditation, exercise, etc. There are so, so, so many options and natural treatments out there.
Below are the 5 most common menses myths I hear in practice:
It’s normal to be in pain – NO
My period doesn’t come for months and is heavy but I’m sure it’s fine – NO. Please have blood work done to determine your hormone levels.
I have heavy periods and my only choice is a hysterectomy – HELL NO. However, if you hemorrhage constantly and it is negatively affecting your everyday living and has for years then this may be an option.
The birth control pill will solve all my problems – NO, it’ll suppress them. Your symptoms will come back after taking the pill (as a contraceptive that’s a different story).
Is this stuff you learn in health class or from your family? No. Hence I’m trying my best to shed some light and common falsehoods when it comes to women’s health. Your period can be affected by stress, by environment, by genetics, by low iron, by food sensitivities, by autoimmune disease, by thyroid dysfunction, by toxic overload, and so much more. Hence all those things, and more, need to be addressed when assessing overall health. It’s important to understand what is “normal”, what isn’t, and how we can treat it so it can balance and normalize. The first step in health is “awareness”. Let’s talk more about our menstrual cycles. They are nothing to be ashamed of. They are natural and something to be respected and grateful towards. Let’s teach our young women that they don’t need to suffer in silence. To be aware of themselves, their health, and that this knowledge is empowering. The more empowered they are the more confident they become, as a healthy self esteem is the best treatment for any ailment.
Happy communicating everyone – debunk these menses myths. Knowledge is empower.