Fascinating Facts About Periods

Fascinating Facts About Periods

Menstruation has always been a subject of intrigue for biologists. The hormones, the history, the histrionics— this is a rich subject. We looked around for fascinating facts about menstruation, and here are the most interesting of them. History, science, linguistics… We have them all!

  • Medieval Menstruation

Ancient Egyptians used use-and-throw tampons fashioned out of rolled up lint and cotton, sometimes papyrus. Ancient Indians used rock-salt for two purposes - to absorb menstrual blood and also to act as birth control! Rock salt was a very effective anti-sperm contraceptive

  • The Story of Menstruation

The Story of Menstruation is a ten-minute Disney-animated educational film, made to inform schoolchildren about the very natural process of menstruation. It showed women engaged in very normal activities such as horse-riding, swimming, and dancing during their periods to show that there was nothing disturbing or dangerous about periods. It is also the first documented use of the word 'vagina' in film.

  • The Plug

The word tampon is Middle French for “plug”. Tampons have been used in some form or the other from ancient times; but not always to absorb menstrual blood. Tampons were originally used to stop blood flow. Soldiers used tampons to plug bleeding wounds, women used them in the hopes that their bleeding will stop completely!

  • R’Tu
The word “ritual” is derived from the Sanskrit word "ऋतु" which means "seasonal". It is believed that early Indian calendars were based off the 28-day menstrual cycle experienced by women. This could be because a woman’s menstrual cycle coincided perfectly with the lunar cycle, which ancient Indians operated by.
  • Endometrial Sparing
This is an extremely rare phenomenon where a woman’s endometrial lining -  which is the thick, blood-rich lining of the uterus that is disintegrated during a period - is recycled! This leads to light, short, painless periods.
  • Tapua
The word 'taboo' comes from the mid-Polynesian word “tapua”, which means sacred; and also means menstruation! How ironic is it, that the word 'taboo' has its base in a word which means sacred!
  • Vicarious Menstruation

This is an extremely rare phenomenon, where a woman on her period experiences bleeding from extra-genital organs, also known as bloody tears. The capillaries, which usually soften during a female’s menstrual cycle, sometimes become extremely softened, leading to bleeding from the eyes, nose, ears, etc.


Which of these facts did you find the most difficult to believe? Tell us in the comments.

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