Dispelling myths about menstruation is an arduous task. On several occasions, the scientific community has provided erroneous information in this regard, going so far as to state that menstruating women can prevent a cake from rising or wither the flowers they touch.

Below are some truths about menstruation:

  1. Up to 150 symptoms related to menstruation have been identified. These include psychological manifestations, such as sleep disturbances, mood changes, appetite, and variations in libido. Physical symptoms are equally varied, from breast tenderness and abdominal cramps to more pronounced allergies and migraines.
  2. There is a lot of ignorance about the underlying causes of menstrual problems. Thus, doctors often focus on treating the symptoms rather than seeking a definitive solution. Anti-inflammatories, oral contraceptives and, in severe cases, antidepressants are usually prescribed.
  3. Some women have been prevented from becoming astronauts because of fear that their menstrual periods would affect their ability to operate a spacecraft.
  4. The cycles of women who live together do not automatically synchronize. Despite what many think, there is no scientific evidence to support this phenomenon.
  5. The reality of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is often debated. Many studies suggest that there is no connection between variations in mood and the hormonal changes that occur in the menstrual cycle. However, some scientists believe that metabolites, derivatives of hormones, could influence the brains of certain women.
  6. The incidence of PMS shows great differences between nations. In developed countries, there appear to be more reports of PMS symptoms. Is it a mere coincidence or a proven fact? It is difficult to conclude it.
  7. It is estimated that between 5 and 10% of women could suffer from a severe version of PMS. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder generally requires medication due to its significant impact on emotional state and behavior.
  8. Research on menstrual cycles could lead to advances in medical fields such as fertility, inflammatory diseases or endometriosis.
  9. Our understanding of the menstrual cycle has been limited by taboos and also because our ancestors spent much of their lives pregnant or breastfeeding. This means that they experienced menstruations much less frequently than modern women.
  10. In countries such as Japan and South Korea, women with problematic periods are given paid days off. When will a similar measure be implemented in other places?

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