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10 facts about periods everyone should know

Class is in session.

WE’VE HAD FACTS about penises, vaginas, and boobs. Now it’s on to the somewhat more mysterious entity – the period.

1. Firstly - is PMS a real syndrome?

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Yes! Three out of four women report feeling moody, tired and irritable before their period, so don’t go telling your menstruating friends that it’s all in their heads.

2. How much bleeding is actually done? Is it really a bloodbath?

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No, not really. The average woman releases over two tablespoons of blood during her period. Doesn’t really sound like that much, does it?

3. How many times must women endure this?

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The average woman (poor sod) has around 450 periods in her lifetime – that’s approximately 3,500 days of menstruating.

And they tend to be longer, heavier and more painful in the winter months. Just reading that is exhausting.

4. What is Toxic Shock Syndrome? Why does it sound so fecking scary?

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That name would make anything sound scary, wouldn’t it? TSS is a rare but potentially fatal bacterial infection, which has long been linked to super absorbent tampons (it can also be picked up from bug bites and burns, if they’re not looked after).

It does sound horrifying – but if you change your tampon every 4-8 hours, you’ll be fine.

5. Does chocolate actually help with cramps?

Yes… But only if it’s over 70% cocoa. According to Kotex, dark chocolate contains magnesium, which helps relax the muscles and get rid of cramps.

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Dairy Milk, though it tastes nicer, will only make you feel better while you’re eating it. Boo.

6. Is period syncing actually a thing?

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Scientists are still divided on whether women living together actually get their periods at the same time, but us gals have been experiencing it for decades.

It may be a coincidence, but we like to think women are telepathically linked via their uteruses.

7. What’s this I hear about periods linking up to the lunar cycle?

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People have been talking about a link between the full moon and women’s periods since ancient times. The word ‘menstruation’, for example, is related to the Greek word for moon, ‘mene’.

Sounds very witchy and cool, right? But again, the scientific jury is out. *takes off witch’s hat*

8. Why are people so weird about periods? They’re normal.

Yep. But it used to be worse.

Ancient societies were so freaked out by healthy humans bleeding for (seemingly) no reason that they often kept women in isolation until their period ended – and indeed in some communities this is sadly still common practice.

It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that doctors figured out the link between menstruation and ovulation.

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Superstition has surrounded menstruation for centuries – here are a few of the wilder old beliefs:

  • Women on their periods should not go near fruit, as it will spoil at their touch.
  • It was once believed that menstruating women should not go near wineries, lest the wine turns to vinegar.
  • According to Hindu myths, pickles will go rotten at the touch of a woman on her period.

9. What does the Bible have to say about periods?

Nothing very nice, unsurprisingly.


The evangelists were most preoccupied with women’s time of the month, and there are several references to periods in the Bible.

One passage advises women to sacrifice two pigeons to get ‘clean’ after being on their period. Cheers, Bible.

10. Is it true that Walt Disney made a film about periods?

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Yes! Disney made The Story of Menstruation in 1946 - it was shown in health education classes in schools around America, and is believed to be the first film to ever feature the word ‘vagina’. It actually holds up pretty well, too.

More: 10 facts about boobs everyone should know>

Even more: 12 facts about vaginas everyone should know>

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