1. You can’t cook during your periods

According to most Zimbabwean cultures women who are on their periods should not be allowed to cook. This could be attributed to the fact that in the olden days, sanitary pads were not yet readily available to ladies hence cooking was prohibited due to hygiene reasons. However, since sanitary wear and water are now more common and most people are now health conscious cooking cannot be deemed a taboo anymore.

2. You should not do gardening during your period

It is believed that going into a garden during ones period will cause flora and fauna to dry up… well speaking for myself- I am yet to bear witness to this since I have never given up on my vegetable patch due to aunt flow’s visit.

3. Scrapping a cooking stick with a knife causes cramps

For lack of a better word to describe a mugoti or ipini in English I had to resort to using cooking stick. If you do know the correct name for this cooking utensil that is used to cook stiff porridge (sadza/pap), do not hesitate to correct. No scientific evidence has ever been collected to evidence the truth in this myth.

4. Periods are a disease

In the olden days, before science demystified periods and the biology behind this monthly phenomena, periods were thought to be caused by a mysterious ailment. Nowadays we know better and science has since busted this myth by proving that not having your monthly period could be the symptom of diseases or pregnancy and should in actual fact be the cause of concern. If you are regularly surfing the crimson wave as some would say, then you are safe. Periods are an indication of good health and the only times a woman can be healthy but have a regular cycle is when she is pregnant or experiencing menopause.

5. Having sexual intercourse during your period is not healthy

Contrary to popular belief, doing the nasty on one’s period is actually recommended and could actually lead to the lessening of menstrual symptoms like cramps. A study published in 2013 in Cephalalgia showed a link between sexual activity and the reduction in migraine and cluster headaches. The http://everydayhealth.com says women are more sensitive during this time of the month and there is also less need for lubricants. However due to the presence of STIs in menstrual blood and the widening of the woman’s cervix during this time of the month, the website cautions couples to continue practicing safe sex.

6. You cannot get pregnant during your period

You can get pregnant during your period depending on the length of your cycle. Since women have different cycle lengths ranging between 21 days and 32 days, ovulation varies from woman to woman. Women with shorter cycle lengths can ovulate soon after their period ends and this can lead to fertilisation and the start of a new life due to the unique ability that sperm has to remain alive within the woman’s body for close to 5 days.

7. Virgins should not use tampons

Our culture discourages the use of tampons by virgins due to the added risk of the tampon breaking the hymen. It all boils down to one’s belief, but personally the choice between pad or tampon is purely dependant on one’s lifestyle and beliefs. Although a tampon might break ones hymen, other activities such as horseback riding, riding a bicycle and doing splits can also cause the breaking of this membrane. Furthermore, I personally believe that it is only sexual intercourse and sexual intercourse alone which can lead one to lose their virginity.

8. You shouldn’t go swimming during your period

Yes and No

Yes if you do not have the correct sanitary wear i.e. tampons. If you intend to go near water during this time of the month then you should be properly equipped to ensure that no seepage and subsequent embarrassment occurs as you frolic in the water. Pads should only be worn if you intend to sun bathe and enjoy most of your swim time on dry land and not in the water.

No if you are able to wear tampons. Your period shouldn’t slow you down or hamper you from enjoying the activities that you enjoy. Before I knew the magic of tampons, I always wondered how female swimmers like Kirsty Coventry could be able to spend so much time in water without experiencing any nasty incidents and now that I know, I hope that more African women take advantage of them so as to enjoy more of physical exercise.

9. You can’t exercise during your period.

Ladies are encouraged to rest more during this time of the month but this does not mean that one should forgo physical exercise completely. Regular exercise can actually go a long way in making periods more bearable through the reduction of menstrual cramps.

10. You lose a lot of blood

What would you say if I told you that on average you actually lose less than half a cup of blood? Crazy right? The amount of blood that is visible in your sanitary wear can be very misleading as scientists have since proven that women lose blood ranging between one 4 tablespoonful’s and half a cup. Excessive bleeding should be discussed with health care providers since it could be a symptom of an underlying problem.