Some women, let alone men, still find talking about periods a tad uncomfortable. While no topic appears to be prohibited in this day and age, talking about menstruation is still considered slightly taboo, especially in non-western cultures. In particular, young girls can find it hard to raise the topic with their family. It’s for these reasons that, even today, some remain oblivious of the facts when it comes to periods.
Here are five menstruation-related facts you may not already know:
Only a few tablespoons of blood are lost during the average period. For those who suffer from heavy periods it may seem like litres, but this is not the case! In fact it is seldom more than 80ml. The amount of blood lost varies from woman to woman, but most will develop a good idea of what is normal for them.
It is possible for a woman to get pregnant on her period. Though this is fairly unlikely to happen, being on your period is not an excuse to have unprotected sex. Once the sperm has entered a woman’s body, it can stay there for three to five days, meaning fertilisation can take place a few days after intercourse. As it is difficult to pinpoint exactly when ovulation happens, there will still be a risk of pregnancy no matter when you have sex, if it is unprotected.
Irregular menstrual cycles are quite common. Causes of irregular periods range from stress and anxiety to illness and fatigue. Other potential triggers include excessive weight gain, hormonal problems and over-exercising. If a woman’s period doesn’t occur every 25 to 35 days, counting from the first day she releases blood to the beginning of her next period, the cycle is deemed to be irregular.
Girls are experiencing periods at a younger age. The increase in childhood obesity has been cited as the main cause of girls reaching puberty earlier in their lives. The first signs, such as breast development, now occur an average of four months earlier than they did in the 1990s. Carrying an excess amount of fat has been blamed as this could encourage the body to produce the hormones that trigger puberty. Some research has also suggested that socioeconomic background may play a role, along with whether or not a child has been adopted. However the reasons for this are still unknown.
Many women have higher sex drives during their period. Progesterone, a hormone that diminishes a woman’s libido, is at its lowest level during a menstrual cycle. Therefore, a lot of women desire more physical intimacy and have an increased sexual energy at this stage of their cycle.