Turns out women don't crave chocolate before their periods

It’s not fair [Photo: Pexels]
It’s not fair [Photo: Pexels]

If you’re on your way to the local offy to stock up on Kit Kats before you period begins, you might want to read this first.

Many of us crave chocolate just before our period starts, the idea being that something is scientifically hardwired into us to cause this.

But according to a new study, chances are it’s really just a cultural thing.

The State University of New York recently published a study looking at PMS symptoms of women from around the world.

Among the 275 women of diverse backgrounds living in the US surveyed, foreign-born women were half as likely to experience menstrual chocolate cravings compared to those born to US parents.

They were also two and a half times less likely to have them than second generation immigrants.

In fact according to Metro, the scientists found that women who had more intense chocolate cravings were more likely to be “westernised” than those who didn’t have cravings, reporting “significantly greater US acculturation and lower identification with their native culture than non-menstrual cravers”.

In other words, it’s more likely that all of those chocolate adverts persuading you to ‘indulge’ are influencing your pre-menstrual binge than science.

Yet this is far from the only common myth surrounding periods.

Myth: You can’t get pregnant during your period

If you didn’t know this, you might want to pop to the pharmacy for a test [Photo: Pexels]
If you didn’t know this, you might want to pop to the pharmacy for a test [Photo: Pexels]

It’s exactly this kind of belief that will get you pregnant.

Think about it; pregnancy is caused by sperm fertilising an egg, and eggs are released from the ovaries during ovulation.

Since it’s actually possible for ovulation to occur during your period, yes, you could get knocked up during shark week.

Myth: You burn more calories on your period

Now this one just isn’t fair [Photo: Pexels]
Now this one just isn’t fair [Photo: Pexels]

Whether it’s cultural or scientific, some of us simply must eat chocolate during our periods.

But it doesn’t matter so much because, when you’re on it, your body is working harder and burning more calories as it goes along, right?

Wrong. In fact, we’re probably burning fewer calories during that time, not more.

Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Dr Anne Henderson told Metro that we’re hungrier during our periods as our basal metabolic rate (BMR) increases just before it, and then drops during.

Meaning that we should really be reducing our food and calorie intake during our period to maintain a stable rate. Ouch.

Myth: Periods always last for 28 days

Yep, you’re perfectly fine [Photo: Pexels]
Yep, you’re perfectly fine [Photo: Pexels]

Unless you’re on the combined pill, periods tend not to do us the favour of sticking to one definitive schedule.

In fact, it’s common for periods to begin sooner or later than this set period of time. So if yours lasts for 24 or 35 days, this is normal too.

Myth: You’re more likely to get attacked by a shark if you swim during your period

What could be lurking beneath? [Photo: Pexels]
What could be lurking beneath? [Photo: Pexels]

Though it might not always feel like it, the amount of blood you lose during a period is relatively small.

In fact, so small that it’s probably a lot less attractive to a shark than your average cut, which shark researcher Chris Lowe told Huffington Post isn’t that interesting to the creatures anyway.

The Cal State University of Long Beach scientist remarked that it’s “one of those misconceptions that refuses to die”:

“In fact, the amount of blood loss during menstruation is probably less than average scrape or cut that a kid or surfer may get while playing in the water,” he said.

“The bottom line is it takes a lot more than just a little blood to get a shark’s attention.”

Myth: Skipping your period is bad for you

No need to fret over tampons this summer [Photo: Pexels]
No need to fret over tampons this summer [Photo: Pexels]

If you’re on the combined pill and would much rather not be on your period for your next holiday, it’s perfectly healthy to skip one.

When you’re on birth control, what you consider to be a period is actually a ‘withdrawal’ bleed and the uterine lining kept thinner than if you weren’t taking the combined pill. So there’s less to be shed anyway.

And the common worry that it would somehow affect your fertility isn’t backed up by scientific evidence.

The process is pretty straight forward, too; all it takes is running your combined pill packets back to back.

Or if you’re not on the combined pill, a hormone tablet called norethisterone can do the trick.

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