Myths and taboos

Acne or pimples on the face are a sign of poor hygiene.

FALSE. At puberty, several hormones become active. This causes acne, hence the reason why many people develop it in adolescence. That said, some practices can help you reduce the effects such as regular washing with soaps adapted to your skin.

Using a tampon causes the loss of virginity.

FALSE. Virginity is a concept often associated with the tearing of the hymen (a piece of tissue very much at the opening of the vagina). After the first sexual intercourse, the hymen can stretch and tear, hence the myth. However, virginity remains related to sexual relations only. Putting on a tampon does not mean that the person is no longer a virgin.

If I know too much about my body, I may be judged by others.

Learning more about ourselves improves our self-esteem. « Knowledge is power ».  Learning about our body will help us to be more independent and to make the right decisions with confidence!

I ran out of towels and was ashamed to ask for help, so I stuffed my underwear with toilet paper.

This is normal unfortunately… It can happen to everyone to run out of menstrual products occasionally or regularly. It’s called menstrual poverty.

If this happens to you, never feel ashamed of it and dare to ask for help around you. Solidarity is always the key. Do not hesitate to talk about it with your friends, your parents, your teachers, and all your entourage. And if you can, keep menstrual products with you to help someone who needs them.

I heard that menstrual blood smelled bad and I had to rinse myself with soap in my vagina…

FALSE. The is absolutely no need for this! Menstruation is a natural phenomenon. It is not dirty or reflect a lack of hygiene of the vagina. Above all, never insert soap or a scented wipe into the vagina. The vagina cleans itself.

As for the vulva a wash with warm water is enough, use the soap only for the outer part. Contrary to popular belief, soap can irritate mucous membranes by unbalancing its natural flora. It is important to use a soap which is unscented and whose PH is neutral (the free Yuka app gives indications on the quality of the product). Last little tip for the road: choosing 100% cotton underwear can limit odors and irritations because it is a breathable fabric.

I can’t go to the pool, run or dance at the risk of blood flowing on either side.

FALSE. Seriously? If every time a person who has his period had to stop everything, nothing would move forward! Look around you, the earth would stop turning without the menstruating people (*mini-exaggerations*, but we understand each other).

From teachers, to ministers, to mothers, to BEYONCÉ! In reality, menstruation does not limit anything. So, in case you consider practicing one of these activities, choose the most suitable menstrual product and go ahead, do not restrict yourself!

I haven’t had my period yet, and I’m worried because I’m behind my other friends.

Don’t worry. Keep calm.  When it comes to the body and the menstrual cycle, no one is the same and above all everything has its time. Menstruation can occur at any time between the ages of 8 and 15. And, there are usually signs to warn you that you will have them soon (breast development, appearance of hair, vaginal discharges, …). 

Above all, it is important not to panic or compare yourself to anyone. And, don’t hesitate to confide in someone when you feel you need it.

Taking the pill will help me have more regular periods.

It is normal in the early years to have an irregular menstrual cycle. So little advice: wait until your cycle regularizes before considering contraceptive pills. 

Even though we often hear that the pill can regulate menstruation, it might be best to first investigate other reasons why your period is not regular. As a matter of fact, it can be affected by nutrition, exercise, weight loss or gain, stress, being sick, etc.

So many possible causes worth exploring!


Resources

https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/prevent-acne.html

https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/virgin.html

https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/period.html

https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/pill-irregular.html

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/ask-experts/my-periods-are-irregular-will-birth-control-pills-help.