Information about periods is tough to come by. Periods always is surrounded by myths and mystery, and there is no mysticism about menstruation. Menstrual education is crucial, and all women are entitled to know more about the period. Honestly, we still find it difficult to talk about the period.
Here are some interesting facts about the period.
- You can have 450 periods in your life. It depends on the average cycle a woman has. The average period cycle varies from 21 to 35 days. Breastfeeding is a natural contraceptive; hence women do not get a period when they breastfeed for long and often. When breastfeeding reduces, the period returns. The average cycle of periods is reduced because of this as well.
- On average, a woman menstruates for about 7 years during their lifetime.
- The average starting age for periods used to be 15 or 16 years a century back. It is not uncommon for girls as old as 8 years to start puberty due to many factors. Health, diet, sleeping habits, stress, and overweight can be the prime factors for early puberty.
- A newborn baby with ovaries has six million eggs. The number of these eggs (oocytes) reduces to one or two million eggs when a girl reaches puberty, and her menstrual cycle starts; the eggs mature each month and get released. The extra eggs die off when a woman ages and reaches the menopause stage and eventually cannot conceive babies.
- Pregnancy during periods can happen. Sex during the period is not safe, as many assume. Sperm can survive inside a body for 5 to 6 days, so women with short menstrual cycles and heavy periods may ovulate in 5 to 6 days after their period may fall pregnant.
- A missed period may not mean you are pregnant. Hormone imbalances, stress and obesity, can impact the menstrual cycle and lead to the irregular menstrual cycle.
- On average, women lose 10 to 35 ml of blood during the period. This can translate to 1 – 2 tablespoons worth of blood spread over 5 days. We do not bleed as much as we think we do.
- If you have heavy periods, it can be due to hormonal imbalance, anaemia, or an early miscarriage. Hormone imbalance is often accompanied by mood swings, painful cramps and bloating. The symptoms may include tiredness, palpitations and breathlessness.
- Though not drastically, the brain can be affected by period too. The attention span and cognitive function can be affected while having period cramps resulting in brain fog and concentration lag.
- You may smell a bit different from normal days during the period.
Any shame or negativity associated with periods results from the lack of fact-based sex education. Cloaking menstruation behind myths still exists, and openness and scientific information can only help women understand and manage periods better.