Periods are full of surprises. Sometimes they startle you by being early and, at other times, they surprise you by being late. That’s not even the half of it. Factors like flow and cramp-intensity are all subject to change. However, periods also have their fair share of enjoyable surprises, like fun facts! Everyone loves fun facts! Below is a list of 10 surprising facts about periods that you definitely didn’t know. These facts will make a great topic of conversation at your next girls night.
1. Later menstruation = longer lifespan
According to a recent study, getting your period after age 12 is linked to a longer, healthier lifespan. Not only do these late bloomers get to live longer, but they were also able to avoid getting their period in the midst of middle school angst. If only we could all be so lucky.
2. Periods were even more confusing to men in Ancient Rome
If you think that most men now don’t understand periods, some men in Ancient Rome considered women on their periods to be temporary witches- the lamest type of witch.
3. Tampons have significantly improved
Ancient Egyptians used softened papyrus as tampons, while Ancient Greeks used bits of wood wrapped with lint. I’m never going to complain about my tampons anymore EVER.
4. Periods were scarcer in the Middle Ages
Due to a combination of poor nutrition, shorter lifespans (so earlier menopause) and many more pregnancies, women in the Middle Ages had very irregular periods. This lead to some serious confusion about the monthly habit. When women did have their periods, they had to use bog moss as pads. So the less of that, the better.
5. Disney made a movie about periods
The Story of Menstruation is a magical Disney production that you’ve never seen. Lucky for you, the link is above. The project was funded by Kotex and it explained to tweens what exactly was about to happen to their ovaries.
6. Before her mission in 1983, NASA engineers asked Sally Ride if she would need 100 tampons for the week of her period in space
To which she replied, “No. That would not be the right number,” according to a 2002 interview published by NASA.
7. Most women have period stains in every pair of underwear
54% of 36,000 women surveyed by THINX said that they ruined every pair of underwear they owned due to their period.
8. Sleeping with a nightlight can help regulate your cycle
Light exposure can affect the secretion of the sleep hormone melatonin. Melatonin also helps control the release of the female reproductive hormones that determine when your menstrual cycle begins and ends. According to a study from the early 90s published in the journal Psychiatry Research, women with extra long or irregular cycles who slept next to a regular 100-watt light bulb for several nights during the last two weeks of their cycles had shortened their cycles by an average of 12 days. That means that this targeted approach could help regulate your periods. The key is sleeping with the light on during the last two weeks of your cycle. Keeping it on at all times may actually make your periods irregular as since shift workers have reported irregular periods.
9. A rare period disorder can cause bleeding of the eyes
Horrifying but true, vicarious menstruation is a rare condition that makes you bleed from organs besides your uterus (such as your eyes) while you’re on your period. According to a case study published in the journal Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, this condition is caused when endometrial tissue that normally grows in your uterus and sheds during your period is transmitted through the bloodstream.
10. Period shops exist
The first period themed pop-up shop was opened in New York City and featured basically every single thing that you’ve ever needed for that time of the month, including a wall of chocolate bars. I vote that these should be opened everywhere.