5 period myths that need to go away

menstrual cramp

The INSIDER Summary:

  • Menstrual blood is not unsanitary — it’s life-giving.
  • Period pain isn’t a necessary part of menstruation, and can be avoided.
  • Hormonal birth control can mask problems instead of solving them.

Alisa Vitti is a functional nutritionist, women’s hormone expert, and author of “WomanCode: Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source,” one of the top 50 bestselling women’s health books of all time. She channeled her expertise into creating the MyFLO period tracker and hormone balancing app to help people understand and navigate the underlying causes of their period problems. 

Vitti spoke with INSIDER at Cycles + Sex after her keynote speech, entitled “Your Period Doesn’t Have to Suck (Everything You Need to Know About Your Cycle and How to Fix It),” to debunk five common menstrual myths.

It’s time to give these up.

Myth: Menstrual blood is dirty and gross

“We are a culture that feels that these fluids are unsanitary, unwholesome, yucky, let’s make sure we wrap that pad three, four times so nobody sees it in the trash can,” she said. “This indoctrination is insidious.” 

Vitti wants to combat the shame and silence that often surrounds menstruation by reframing these common perceptions.

“Every single reproductive fluid that your body produces is life-giving,” she said. “Menstrual blood, for example, is the richest source of stem cells second to [umbilical] cord blood.”

Myth: Period pain is unavoidable

Killer cramps, headaches, digestion problems, and other issues are not necessary parts of menstruation.

“Getting yourself to feel the same level of vitality all month long and then to have your period start and almost miss it starting because it’s pain-free and easy and undramatic is what you’re supposed to be having,” she said. “If it’s anything but that, that’s a signal for you that you need to do something to address what’s off balance.”

Myth: Each symptom should be treated separately

Taking painkillers for cramps or using spot treatments for acne are only temporary solutions that don’t address the hormonal chaos causing them. Eliminating endocrine disruptors like caffeine and organophosphates in food can make a huge difference in getting symptoms under control.

“Your period, your fertility, your hormones, your sexual health, are part of an indivisible ecosystem that is fundamental to your health and vitality,” Vitti said.

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