I vividly remember. It was the time of the Ganesh festival, and my monthly religious ritual of blood shedding had occurred to me at the worst possible timing. Being from a modern family, I had the privilege of roaming anywhere but not the freedom to touch holy things. I could not contribute to my favorite part of this festival, that is, helping my mom with decorations and arranging things before the pooja. This had struck invisible cords within my heart, and I found myself seamlessly weeping due to the forced superstitions thrashed upon me.
Here started my research for debunking popular menstrual myths and connecting the dots on why these myths were created in the first place. Yes, myths are CREATED and facts are KNOWN. Creating myths requires opinions, and that’s probably why you'll find them everywhere about everything! In this blog, I bring to you the five most popular menstrual myths and help you get brainwashed for good. So get ready to no longer be a victim of these traps and make some space in your mind for some valid knowledge.
Myth 1: Not entering temples during periods
What would be your reaction if I said menstruating women were once worshiped? Yes. Once upon a time, menstruating women were viewed as so pure that they were worshiped as goddesses, and it was even believed that if they entered a temple during their period, the energy of the god transferred from the murti to them. Quite unbelievable, right? No doubt, the early Vedic period was ahead of its time. However, the real reason was that due to the heavy menstrual pain experienced by women, they had to often restrain themselves to their homes as their bodies demanded rest, and they had the choice of not visiting temples while menstruating. But cleverly, people who had no jobs began this successful myth by sipping their hot tea.
Myth 2: Not washing your hair during periods
Taking care of your personal hygiene during your menstrual phase is probably going to make you feel more clean and neat about yourself. There’s absolutely no need to compromise on your personal hygiene habits due to periods. A warm bath or washing your hair is just going to relieve your pain from those hefty cramps and make you feel cleaner. The next time someone says this to you, make sure you use a bit more of your shower gel.
Myth 3: Period blood is dirty blood.
Period blood is the only blood that does not occur due to injuries of any sort and is absolutely natural, yet it triggers people. Menstruation occurs as a result of the shedding of uterine walls. The uterus generally prepares itself for an anticipated pregnancy and releases hormones to thicken and strengthen the uterine glands, which, in the absence of pregnancy, occur as periods. It contains fewer blood vessels, an unfertilized egg, mucus lining, and tissues. So viewing this from a scientific perspective is as essential as believing blindly in those myths. Treat your period blood like an evolved vaginal fluid; it is also relatively less concentrated and is not usually like the blood flowing through your veins.
Myth 4: Only women get periods.
This is probably the most common and generalized myth, but unfortunately, it's untrue. Not every woman gets her period, and not every female who gets her period identifies herself as a woman. It is important to know that even non-binary people and transgender men might experience periods. So, menstruation is not a “woman’s” issue but rather a “human” issue.
Myth 5: You shouldn’t lift heavy objects or undergo strenuous exercise while menstruating.
If you are experiencing menstrual pain, you should rest to feel better. Some asanas or even light exercise might help you relieve menstrual pain. It is a personal choice whether to lift, workout, or rest. Everybody is unique, and adopting habits and strategies should be a personal preference.
The above myths are some of the most prevalent of all time and hence need a modern approach. A menstruator must know what's wrong and right for them and have the right to perform or indulge in any activity of their interest without any boundaries. It's high time we break the stigma around such a natural concept and start embracing this journey.
Written by Harshaali Jejurkar
Edited by Prahlad Madhu