Mom Advice: 10 Period Myths

Period-related myths

Periods may seem simple to you now, but remember when they were more new and mysterious? Consider that your daughter may be wondering about her first period. Here are 10 common period myths you can dispel for her during your next mother and daughter talk.

Myth 1: She can't get pregnant during her period

It's not likely, but there's always a chance. Ovulation can be unpredictable and so can menstrual cycles.

Myth 2: Bathing or washing her hair during a period will increase her flow

This is an old one and it’s not true. You can feel free to keep clean and fresh without "turning on the taps."

Myth 3: She should rest during her period and avoid exercise

If you feel like exercising, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. It's actually a great way of controlling PMS symptoms and menstrual cramps because it increases the supply of oxygen to her muscles.

Myth 4: She must see a doctor when after her first period

Unless there is a problem like severe pain or bleeding, she probably doesn’t need to see a gynecologist just yet. Typically, women should begin annual exams when they become sexually active or when they turn 18, whichever comes first.

Myth 5: Her period should last for exactly one week

Everyone’s period is different. It's perfectly natural for a period to last anywhere between three to seven days. A period may be irregular, especially when it first begins. If after the first year of having her period, it's typically longer or shorter than a week, she should talk with a doctor about it.

Myth 6: Virgins shouldn't wear tampons

The myth is that females who haven't had sex will find wearing tampons painful. This isn’t true, although levels of comfort depend on the person. For example, some girls prefer to use tampons with plastic applicators because they glide in smoothly. Another concern is that tampons can somehow “take away your virginity.” It may sound silly, but remind your daughter that the only way she can lose her virginity is by having sex. If she’s new to tampons and pantiliners, get a variety pack of each so she can try different sizes and styles.

Myth 7: She can’t swim during her period

Pads don’t work in the water. So if your daughter is planning a trip to the pool during her period, remind her to use a tampon. If she prefers not to use tampons, suggest that she wear a pad in her swimsuit stick to water-free sunbathing instead of swimming.

Myth 8: Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is all in the mind

PMS symptoms are related to the way your daughter’s hormones change through her monthly cycle. Symptoms can be emotional (like irritability, depression or fatigue, and physical (cramps or headaches). Check out the facts on PMS and get some tips for minimizing the very real symptoms of PMS.

Myth 9: Talking to your daughter about periods before she starts will scare her

What’s more likely is that if you don’t talk to her first, she may be scared when she starts bleeding! It's always a good idea to be open and honest with your daughter. Because girls typically begin menstruation any time between ages 9 and 16 (for most girls, between 11 and 13), it’s hard to know when to have the first period mother daughter talk.

Look for signs in your daughter’s development, like budding breasts and an increase in perspiration, acne and underarm hair. These clues can help you to know that she has entered puberty and you should continue (or open) the dialogue. Remind her that she can talk to you about anything, any time.

Myth 10: Daughters always tell their mothers when they start their periods

She may but, then again, she may not. Girls may feel shy or too embarrassed to discuss their first period. Let your daughter know that you are there for discussions and questions about intimate subjects. It's important that she feels she can trust you with such personal information. Get tips for your first mother and daughter talk.