Whether you've had your period for years or you've just learned to "ride the crimson wave," I bet you thought you knew all there was to know about your monthly visitor. Think again! Here are four period facts that will surprise you.
The average woman’s period produces only 2 to 4 tablespoons of menstrual fluid. Yes, you read that right. Many women think they bleed much more than this, but often it is a misconception. Tampons may appear to be “full” when removed, but since they absorb vaginal moisture in addition to menstrual fluid, not all of what the tampon holds is actually blood.
Your period can change throughout your life—those who are light flow-ers may find themselves experiencing heavy periods at a different time in their life; and regular periods could become irregular. Changes in your menstrual cycle can be caused by hormonal changes due to stress, illness, weight gain or loss, exercise, pregnancy, breast-feeding, or menopause. Some more serious conditions can alter your period, such as thyroid disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, autoimmune disorder, as well as conditions like fibroids and endometriosis. Check with your doctor to rule out a serious condition.
Menstrual cups, like Softcup, reduce menstrual odor and don’t alter vaginal pH. Since a menstrual cup collects your flow and prevents its exposure to air, you won’t have the period odor you might experience with tampons or pads. Bacterial infections caused by changes in vaginal pH can also produce a foul odor, so use a product that won’t alter vaginal pH.
Scholars debate the existence of menstrual synchrony (aka the McClintock effect or “dormitory effect”), a theory that suggests that women who live in close proximity to each other develop synchronized periods. Published in 1971, a study by Martha McClintock proposed that synchronization of periods is triggered by pheromones released by the skin glands of menstruating women.
Now, don't you feel smarter? Next time Aunt Flo comes for a visit, the two of you will have a lot more to discuss.