Periods. Everyone is aware of the word. Women after reaching a certain age in their puberty start to develop their reproductive system.
But what Periods being a Taboo in India, are you sure you really know everything about it? Here are a few things we bet you didn’t know about menstruation.
1. The average starting age for periods has changed
Sounds Crazy, but that’s true! The age at which women start their period is becoming younger and younger. A century ago, the average starting age for periods was 16 but now the average is 12 years old and it’s not uncommon for girls as young as 8 years old to start puberty too.
There are many reasons like improved nutrition - We’re eating better, and more compared to our ancestors.
More nutritious food leads to the generation of fat cells that produce Estrogen (female sex hormones). The more fat cells you have, the more Estrogen girls will have which can trigger the start of your menstrual cycle as a girl.
Also, increasing levels of stress. Times were easier a couple of decades ago, people had more leisure time and fewer things to worry about. Studies show that people as young as 10 have exceeding stress levels and other mental illnesses, which earlier wasn’t the case. High-stress levels can actually trigger the beginning of your period.
2. You bleed for approximately 10 years of your life
Scary, right? Ladies who menstruate could spend up to ten whole years of their life menstruating – that’s around 3,500 days of bleeding!
But the good part is that on average women lose between 10 and 35ml of blood throughout the duration of each period. This is only around 1 – 2 tablespoons worth of blood, plus on average it is spread over 5 days so it probably isn’t as much as you might think!
3. Pregnancy and periods CAN go Hand in Hand
Ladies, you CAN get pregnant even if you’re on your period. Less of an amazing fact, but one you should probably know about.
This is because sperm can survive in the body for up to five or six days.
The chances of this happening will depend on the length of your cycle - if you have a very short cycle (and typically heavier periods) then it is possible. This is because sperm can survive in the body for up to 5 or 6 days so if you happen to ovulate 5 – 6 days after your period you could fall pregnant — so if you have a relatively short cycle, have sex towards the end of your period, and ovulate just after your period finishes, you could potentially fall pregnant.
Also, it is fairly common to bleed a little during the 1st trimester due to various reasons – however, it’s not technically period – you should consult your doctor or midwife to be on the safer side.
4. Heavy Flow can mean you have a Hormone Imbalance
If you suspect your periods are particularly heavy, it’s important to pay attention to your symptoms as it could suggest you have a hormone imbalance. You have mood swings, painful cramps and bloating with a heavy flow you should definitely consult an OBYGN.
1 out of 5 women suffer from PCOD in India – a condition that leads to heavy flow due to hormonal imbalance.
Things that can cause Hormonal Imbalance:
Unhealthy eating habits
Heavy/regular consumption of alcohol
5. Periods alter your Voice and Odour
Women’s voices can change slightly during their menstrual cycle due to reproductive hormones affecting the vocal cords. This means women can sound different while on their period.
The same female reproductive hormones also affect your natural scent, meaning you smell different when you’re on your period. This is very subtle and actually consciously detectable.
Having the ability to give birth to another being is a beautiful thing, and not to be taken for granted. It is very important to be educated about periods, not just for women but for men as well – let's break the taboo and educate yourselves and those around you.
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