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20 Period Myths: How Many Days Does It Last, Flow, and Normal Color

A period is the loss of blood through the vagina over a period of 3 to 8 days. Your first menstruation occurs at puberty from 10, 11 or 12 years of age, and thereafter it should occur every month until menopause, which occurs around 50 years of age.

During pregnancy, menstruation does not occur, however you may have slight bleeding for 1 or 2 days, especially in early pregnancy, pink or brown in color, or have a coffee ground color.

See when your period should come back by entering your data below:

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1. Your first period comes at the age of 12.

Myth: The onset of your first period, also known as menarche, varies from girl to girl due to hormonal changes in each body, however, although the average age is around 12 years, there are girls who start menstruating earlier, at 9, 10, or 11, but there are also girls who start menstruating later at 13, 14, or 15 years of age.

So, if menstruation occurs before or after this age, it does not mean that there is any health problem, especially if there is no symptoms, but if in doubt a gynecologist should be consulted.

2. A girl stops growing after having her 1st period.

Myth: Girls continually grow until around 16 years of age and therefore continues even after her first period. However, the period of greatest growth happens before the age of 13, which is the same period as menarche. So while it may seem that some girls stop growing after their first period, what happens is that their growth rate normally slows down.

3. Your period lasts 7 days.

Myth: The duration of your period also varies from one woman to another, but most commonly it lasts between 3 to 8 days. The following period usually occurs around the 28th day after the first day of your previous period, but this period may vary according to your menstrual cycle. It is important to consider the first day of menstruation when minor bleeding occurs, even if it is pink and small. Some girls have this kind of flow for 2 or 3 days, and from there on their period gets more intense.

See how your menstrual cycle works and learn how to calculate yours.

4. A normal period is not dark red.

Myth: Usually the color of your menstruation changes over the days of your period and may vary from bright red to light brown. However, there are also times when you have darker periods, such as coffee ground color, or lighter, like pink water, without this indicating any health problems.

In most cases, changes in menstruation color are related to the time the blood is in contact with air. So your period blood that has been in the tampon for a longer time is usually darker.

See when dark menstruation can be a cause for concern.

5. There is no way to measure the amount of blood lost during your period.

Myth: Normally a woman loses between 50 and 70 mL of blood throughout her period, however, as it is difficult to measure the amount of blood lost, it is considered to be above normal flow when it lasts more than 7 days or when more than 15 days are spent on absorbents for each menstrual cycle, for example.

20 Period Myths: How Many Days Does It Last, Flow, and Normal Color

6. It is not possible to get pregnant while you having your period.

Myth: Although difficult, it is possible to get pregnant by having intimate contact while you are menstruating. This is because hormone production may vary in each woman, and ovulation may occur even during your menstrual period.

7. If your period doesn't appear, you are pregnant.

Myth: Changes in the date of the onset of your period is determined by changes in hormonal levels. Therefore, delayed menstruation is not always a sign of pregnancy and may indicate other situations such as excess stress, excessive coffee consumption or changes in hormone producing organs such as the pituitary, hypothalamus or ovaries. If your period lasts longer than 10 days, you should have a pregnancy test or go to a gynecologist.

See a more complete list of the main causes for a delayed menstruation.

8. It is possible to menstruate without there being ovulation.

Myth: Menstruation only happens when there is an egg that has been released and has not been fertilized. So, menstruation can only happen if there has been ovulation. However, the opposite is not true. That is, you can ovulate without menstruating, which usually means that the egg has been fertilized by sperm, so it is possible that you are pregnant.

9. Washing your hair while having your period can harm your health or increase menstrual flow.

Myth: Washing your hair does not influence your menstrual cycle, so you can take a long bath or stay in the shower for as long as you desire.

10. Tampon or menstrual cup does not take your virginity.

Myth: In general, the smaller sized tampon, when placed correctly, does not break the woman's hymen. However, the hymen can be broken more easily with the use of a menstrual cup, and it is important to take this into consideration before purchasing it.

It is always recommended you talk to the gynecologist to evaluate the best option for your case, and remember that in reality virginity is only lost when you have real intimate contact. See how to use a menstrual cup.

20 Period Myths: How Many Days Does It Last, Flow, and Normal Color

11. Women who live closely together don't usually menstruate at the same time.

Myth: Hormone production depends on routine factors such as diet and stress, women who spend a lot of time together tend to go through the same external factors that influence their menstrual cycle, which makes hormone production and menstruation time similar.

12. Walking barefoot increases cramps.

Myth: Even if the ground is cold, walking barefoot does not make cramps worse. Probably what happens is that stepping on the cold floor is another nuisance for those already in pain, giving the impression that the cramps have gotten worse.

13. PMS doesn't exist, it's just an excuse from women.

Myth: PMS is real and occurs due to the large hormonal oscillations that occur during your menstrual cycle, causing symptoms such as irritability, tiredness and bloating, which vary in intensity and according to each woman.

14. Every woman has PMS symptoms.

Myth: PMS is a set of symptoms that occurs in women about 1-2 weeks before menstruation. Although very common, PMS only happens in about 80% of women and therefore does not affect all menstruating women.

15. Having sex while menstruating does not increase the risk of contracting and transmitting STIs.

Myth: Having sex while you are having your period increases the risk of STI (sexually transmitted infections, formerly called STDs) transmission due to the presence of blood, which favors the proliferation of disease-causing microorganisms. So, if the man has an STI, the woman is more likely to get the disease, and if it is the menstruating woman who is sick, it can also pass more easily because the number of microorganisms in the blood may be higher and easier to pass to her partner.

20 Period Myths: How Many Days Does It Last, Flow, and Normal Color

16. Taking birth control without pausing so you do not menstruate is bad for your health.

Myth: There are contraceptives that have this purpose, so before choosing which one or using the birth control pill you normally use continuously, you should talk to your gynecologist.

17. Having sex while having your period does not cause problems in women.

Myth: In certain cases it can cause problems for women, but if intimate contact is safe and with a condom, it brings no consequences. In addition, there are already special tampons to use during this time that make it easier to have sex. They do not have the inner tampon cord and act as an inner sponge, soaking up everything without disturbing the woman or partner.

However, during menstruation, the uterus and cervix become very sensitive and there is a higher risk of microorganisms entering, and therefore having sex without a condom during menstruation increases the risk of contracting certain diseases.

18. Having a very strong flow does not cause anemia.

Myth: In general, a strong flow is no reason to suffer from anemia, as it usually only arises when menstrual losses are actually very high, which happens only when there are diseases causing the problem, such as uterine fibroids and ectopic pregnancy. So, a woman should only worry when her period lasts longer than 7 days, if her menstrual cycle is less than 21 days, or if she spends more than 15 tampons in each menstrual period. 

19. Menstrual flow stops if you go to a pool or the sea.

Myth: Menstruation keeps happening, even when in go into the sea or in a pool, but the presence of water in the intimate region reduces body temperature and also causes increased pressure, which can make it difficult for blood to escape. However, after getting out of the water it is possible for menstruation to go down quickly just because it has been accumulating inside the vaginal canal.

20. Your period does not cause diarrhea.

Myth. During menstruation, the uterus releases prostaglandins, which are substances responsible for muscle contractions. These substances can affect the bowel walls and lead to increased bowel movement, which eventually results in periods of diarrhea.

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