Periods: Can’t live with them, but we definitely can’t live without them. It’s seemingly impossible to forget the awkward conversations in middle school classrooms about period flows and all the information health teachers inundated their classes with about that special time of the month. Periods, however, are a tad more complicated (and arguably more fascinating) than those health teachers first let on. From how many periods you’ll get in a lifetime to “fake” cycles, here are 10 surprising facts about periods that every woman should know.
On average, a woman will have over 400 periods during her lifetime.
A week or so of menstruating out of each month may not feel like a lot, but it really adds up. Cumulatively, the average woman will experience roughly 450 menstrual cycles from the start of her first period to menopause.
It’s actually not THAT much blood.
When it’s all said and done and Aunt Flo’s visit has come to an end, it can feel like her trip was…taxing. Basically, it might appear as if by the end of your period, you’ve bled a significant amount when in reality, women only lose about 2.7 ounces of blood each cycle.
It IS possible to get pregnant on your period.
This may not be the most fun fact, but it’s an important period fact to bear in mind. Sperm has the ability to live inside the reproductive system for seven days, and although women usually ovulate 14 days after their period begins, some can have an irregular cycle. Essentially, once the adding up of days is done, if you have sex towards the end of your period and sperm has been released inside you, there’s a chance it can still be alive in your body the next time you ovulate. That being said, it’s important to use birth control even when on your period, just for that extra layer of protection.
You have all your eggs from day one.
Ovulation aside, this one may be a tough fact to wrap your head around, but it’s true: You’re born with all of your eggs. That’s right, when you’re born there are roughly a million little “yous” inside of you. Of course, your period solves that problem quickly, as each period releases a certain amount of eggs. During each period, you bid adieu to another set of tiny “yous.”
Periods cost money—lots of it.
If you thought Aunt Flo’s visits were expensive, you were right. In the US, more than $2 billion is spent on menstrual products annually. That’s a lot of money for one pesky week out of each month, right?
There’s a Disney movie about periods.
Yes, that’s right! Back in the 1940s, Disney dipped its toes into the wonderful world of menstruation. The short film, The Story of Menstruation, broke down the details of periods for its younger lady viewers to understand what would soon be happening to their bodies (got to love puberty).
Periods might worsen right before menopause.
Menopause is that glorious day every girl looks forward to after she sets eyes on her first period-blood stained underwear. However, right before menstruation, there’s a high chance your cycle will last longer and get a tad bit heavier before it comes to a complete halt. Think of it as your period’s last hurrah before becoming a thing of the past.
If you’re on hormonal birth control, your period is a poser.
It’s not a real poser, per se, but if you’re on any sort of hormonal birth control, that period you get when you arrive at the end of your pack isn’t a result of the releasing of eggs. Instead, it’s caused by the lack of progesterone being produced by your body due to the birth control.
Depending on your birth control, you might not get a regular period.
Depending on the type of birth control you’re on (branded pills, an IUD, etc.), you might actually skip a period (or a few). Don’t worry, you’re not pregnant (as long as you’re using it properly), but some birth control can spare you that monthly visit.
Your period can make you more aroused.
As if all this talk about periods and birth control wasn’t enough, when you’re on your period you might be more aroused than usual. That increased arousal is due to the lack of progesterone production during menstruation, leaving women a bit more sexually frustrated for the next few days.
Now that you know a bit more about your period than you probably did before, go out there and spread the good word of period facts, and then read up on the 5 myths you shouldn’t believe about your vagina. #themoreyouknow