Menstrual Cycle Facts:
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Periods

According to Net Doctor, a woman can have up to 500 periods during her lifetime, depending upon what age she starts her period and when she enters menopause. While you might think you know everything there is to know about your period, there are things about the menstrual cycle that can still surprise you. 

This guide will discuss the top five menstrual cycle facts that you might know about. No matter how much you think you know about your period, there is still much every woman can learn about her body. 

Five Noteworthy Period Statistics 

Our menstrual cycles are an annoyance, but they're not without interesting period statistics. Let's talk about some of the top noteworthy period statistics

1. The Average Woman Uses Thousands of Tampons in Her Lifetime

According to Reusable Menstrual Cup, it's estimated that the average woman uses over 10,000 tampons or pads over the course of her lifetime. The below factors are taken into consideration when determining that amount:

  • Most women menstruate for about 40 years of their life
  • The average menstrual cycle length is 28 days
  • The average woman has around 13 periods a year
  • 13 periods a year for 40 years equals 520 periods
  • A woman with an average flow uses about 20 tampons or pads per cycle

If you have a heavier or lighter flow, the number of tampons or pads you use during your cycle will vary. The length of your period will also affect how many you use as well. 

2. Women Spend Over $18,000 During Their Lifetime on Period Products 

According to the National Organization for Women, the average woman spends over $18,000 on period products during her lifetime. That figure doesn't include the cost of visiting your doctor to ensure your reproductive system is healthy. 

The breakdown of that figure includes:

  • Birth control
  • Tampons/pads
  • New underwear
  • Pain relievers
  • Heating pads 
  • Acne medication 

The costs to provide relief for menstrual cycle symptoms and deal with your period itself can start to add up over the years, especially if you take into account inflation. 

3. 20% of Women Get Painful Cramps

According to HealthPartners, around 20% of women experience cramps so painful that it affects their daily lives. Dysmenorrhea, or period pain, is a common symptom of a menstrual cycle. 

The source of the pain comes from prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are the chemicals that trigger your uterus's muscles to contract. The hormones help your uterus shed the excess lining, which can result in cramping and pain during the beginning of your period. 

4. A Woman Can Lose Up to Four Tablespoons of Blood

According to Healthline, it's thought that a woman can lose up to four tablespoons, or 60 milliliters, of blood each month. Some women have lighter or heavier periods, so the amount of blood loss varies from person to person. 

Additionally, a woman loses more than just blood during her menstrual cycle. Menstrual fluid also contains a mixture of uterine tissues and mucus. That increases the volume of how much fluid you lose. 

5. Nearly Half of Women Crave Chocolate While on Their Period

Did you know that almost half of women crave chocolate before and during their menstrual cycle? According to Dr. Chockenstein, a woman's hormone levels are the highest at the beginning of their period. This uptick in hormones is triggered by higher levels of insulin in the body. 

Increased insulin can also result in dropped blood sugar levels. As our blood sugar levels decrease, we might find ourselves craving something that satisfies that urge.

On top of that, your estrogen and progesterone levels drop, resulting in hunger. When a woman is PMSing, her body craves carbs, sugar, and calcium. You can find those ingredients in most chocolate bars.  

All of those factors combine with many women reaching for a chocolate bar before and during their periods. We also associate chocolate with being comfort food, so it helps give us emotional benefits as well. 

Five Interesting Facts About Your Period

While you might've been getting your period for many years by this point, there are some interesting facts about your period you might not be aware of. Let's discuss some often not discussed period facts. 

1. You Can Get Pregnant on Your Period 

While rare, according to American Pregnancy Association, you can get pregnant while on your period. Some women might bleed when an egg is released from their ovaries each month, mistaking this for their period. A woman is at peak fertility when they ovulate. 

If you have sex when you're ovulating, you might get pregnant. Additionally, a woman might ovulate before their period is over or a few days after their period ends. Sperm can hang out in a woman's body for up to three days, which might result in conception if you have sex during this time frame. 

No matter the time of the month, it's important to use a form of birth control to avoid an unplanned pregnancy. 

2. A Woman Is Born With All of Her Eggs

According to You and Your Hormones, a baby girl is born with all the eggs she'll have for her entire life. At birth, it's estimated to be around two million eggs. By the time the girl reaches adolescence, it's decreased to around 400,000 eggs. 

Between puberty and when a woman reaches menopause, only about 400 to 500 eggs will mature and get released from the ovaries. The remaining eggs will die off as a woman ages and until they reach menopause when there are no eggs left. 

3. A Missed Period Doesn't Mean Pregnancy 

Many women who miss a period might automatically assume that they're pregnant, but that's not always the case. According to Medical News Today, a missed period could signify pregnancy but also be a sign of another underlying health condition. 

Bodyweight, stress, or hormone imbalances can have a major impact on a person's menstrual cycle. If you're missing periods and you're not pregnant, you need to consult with a physician to determine what the underlying cause is. 

Some disorders that share common symptoms with pregnancy include:

A slight change in hormones can alter your menstrual cycle and that's usually not a cause for concern. If you're experiencing missed periods and other symptoms, like pain in the pelvic region, you should seek medical attention. 

4. Stress and Anxiety Can Affect Your Period

According to Associates in Women's Healthcare, high levels of stress and anxiety can affect your period. Anxiety and stress affect every part of your body, especially if you've been experiencing both things for long periods of time. 

Stress results in your body going into fight or flight mode. When your body is in this mode, it'll affect your hormones. In turn, your ovulation and period are affected. 

Your periods can completely stop for a few months or your cycle might get erratic. Amenorrhea is the name for the medical condition of not having a period. Not having a period could also signify a major health problem, as we discussed above. 

While it's impossible to avoid stress and feeling anxious completely, there are ways you can manage it. Addressing anxiety and the source of your stress is important to establishing overall wellness. 

Some ways to manage your stress include:

  • Meditating
  • Regularly exercising
  • Getting enough sleep 
  • Eliminating or reducing caffeine 
  • Speaking with a counselor

You shouldn't ignore any abnormalities you experience with your period. 

5. There Aren't Any Scientific Proof Periods Can Sync Up

Many people believe that when a group of women spends enough time together their menstrual cycles can sync up. According to Healthline, there isn't any scientific data to back that up. 

The concept of period syncing has been around for centuries. However, the theory gained some traction when Martha McClintock, a researcher, studied a group of college women living in the same dorm in the 1970s. 

The study tracked when each woman got her period every month. Due to her findings, McClintock came to the conclusion that the women's periods were syncing up. She didn't test other factors that contribute to a woman's cycle, like when they ovulated. 

Ever since then, period syncing has also been known as the "McClintock effect." Current research doesn't support McClintock's claim. Period tracking apps have given researchers much more data in regards to women's cycles than ever before. 

Some people also believe that a woman's period and fertility are also synced to the moon. That's because the word menstruation combines both the Greek and Latin words meaning "month" and "moon."

Synchronicity is hard to conclusively prove with scientific research. However, the concept is still something that's commonly discussed, even now.  

Help Close the Menstruation Knowledge Gap With Menstrual Cycle Facts

Learning more menstrual cycle facts is important to closing the menstruation knowledge gap. 

Check out our online shop to learn more about how the Knowell supplement can help regulate your menstrual cycle and provide relief to some of your symptoms. 

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