35 Facts I Bet Most People Don't Know About Menstruation

    Drinking alcohol during your period tends to make menstrual pain last longer.

    Ah, periods: nature's ultimate necessary annoyance.

    Since periods happen to a gigantic portion of the world's population but are severely under-discussed, I spent some time compiling 35 facts about periods* that I wish I'd always known.

    1. Someone who menstruates spends, on average, a total of seven years of their life on their period.

    Joey from Friends saying Betsy's been dead for ten years is crossed out to say Betsy's been on her period for seven years

    2. So we're talking between 400 and 500 periods in a lifetime, typically.

    3. Cramps happen because the uterus is squeezing the lining it developed for a potential pregnancy off of its walls, so the now-unneeded lining then goes out though the vag.

    4. Drinking alcohol during one's period tends to make menstrual pain last longer.

    5. You know how people talk about the moon being connected to menstruation? Yeah, it's not true. There is no evidence that the two have anything to do with each other.

    Dwight from The Office saying, I wish I could menstruate, If I could menstruate, I wouldn’t have to deal with idiotic calendars anymore, I’d just be able to count down from my previous cycle, plus, I’d be more in tune with the moon and the tides

    6. Scented tampons and pads can cause infection, as well as irritation.

    7. To be safe, don't use a menstrual cup if you have an IUD, because the cup can move an IUD out of place.

    Obviously, check in with a doctor about this if you're curious. I am not a doctor. I am a dummy.

    8. Typically, a person who menstruates can become pregnant during about six days of each menstrual cycle. Those days are the five days prior to ovulation and the day of ovulation.

    9. Pregnancy can happen a day or so after ovulation, too, but it's not as likely.

    10. But periods can be unpredictable, especially for young people, so if you don't want there to be a pregnancy, ALWAYS USE BIRTH CONTROL WHEN A PENIS IS NEAR A VAGINA.

    Paula from Crazy Ex Girlfriend sings, A few times before I felt it through his pants, and just generally kind of rubbed it

    11. A lot of people who menstruate and take testosterone find that their period goes away after some time.

    12. Adenomyosis is when the tissue that typically lines the interior of the uterus instead develops in the uterus's muscular walls. The lining breaks down as usual, but heavy and painful periods, plus an enlarged uterus, can happen.

    13. A normal period lasts anywhere from 2 to 7 days.

    (Speaking as someone very much on the longer end of the spectrum, if your periods only last two days, jeez, good for fucking you.)

    14. If a person's period is so heavy that they change pads or tampons or whatever they use once every hour for multiple hours, they should contact a doctor.

    15. It's commonly believed that the menstrual cycles of people who live and/or work together synch up, but it looks like that's actually not real.

    On Taskmaster, Greg says, What do you mean friendship is truth, and Lolly Adefope says, Um, sort of, friendship is truth, truth is friendship

    16. Stress can cause menstrual cycles to become more painful, become longer or shorter, or to totally stop.

    17. And sudden or excessive weight loss can cause periods to stop as well, because severe calorie restrictions stop hormone production related to ovulation.

    18. Other reasons menstrual cycles can stop or alter include exercising too much, being overweight, and certain contraceptions having that effect on someone's specific body.

    19. Menstrual cups are used for eight to 12 hours at a time, or until the thing is full.

    20. Period blood and discharge are 100% sterile until they reach oxygen, assuming the uterus is healthy.

    On New Girl, Cece says to Jess, Did you wash your hair, it looks really clean, and all of the women around gasp, including Jess

    21. Around 26% of the world currently menstruates.

    22. Symptoms of toxic shock syndrome – the life-threatening condition most commonly associated with a tampon being in a vagina for too long – include vomiting, a high fever, dizziness, diarrhea, a sore throat, muscle aches, faintness or weakness, and a sunburn-type rash.

    If any of these things happen while you're using a tampon, take it out and call a doctor immediately.

    23. To help prevent toxic shock, a person should use the lowest absorbency tampon they can and change it, at least, every four to eight hours.

    24. If someone has had toxic shock syndrome or a prior serious staph infection or strep infection, they should not use tampons.

    25. On average, a person loses between one and six tablespoons of menstrual fluid during every period.

    On Taskmaster, Jessica Knappett asks, How much does water weigh

    26. Menopause usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age.

    27. Perimenopause – the time before menopause where there may be symptoms – can last from a few months to as long as ten years, and it can start, stop, and start again.

    28. Smokers usually start their perimenopause two years earlier than people who don't smoke.

    29. The range for a normal menstrual cycle is 21 to 35 days.

    30. And every time, the number of days in a cycle can be different from the last.

    In Hot Fuzz, The Met Sergeant says, Well you've always wanted to transfer to the country, Angel says, Hang on, I don't remember telling you that, and the Met Sergeant says, Yes, you did, you said, I'd love to settle down in the country some time, Janine

    31. If someone's first period doesn't happen by age 16, it's a good idea to check in with a doctor.

    32. Most people can't feel it when their body is ovulating, but those who do feel something may experience bloating, spotting, or a bit of pain in the lower stomach, possibly only on one side.

    33. Symptoms for dysmenorrhea – a condition distinguished by frequent and really bad cramps and pain during periods – can include vomiting, low back pain, nausea, fainting, cramping or pain in the lower abdomen, fatigue, diarrhea, headaches, weakness, or pain spreading down the legs.

    34. People who started getting periods before age 11, are overweight, smoke, drink alcohol during their period, and/or have never been pregnant may be more likely to experience dysmenorrhea.

    35. And finally, periods can be worse in winter.

    On Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Aunt Viv says, Now, while I'm gone, I want you to do everything your Uncle Philip says, Will turns to Phil and sees that he's lit like an evil monster, but the whole thing is written to make Viv winter and Phil summer