10 unusual facts about periods

Infos insolites à propos des règles

They are present one week a month in our daily lives, but what do we really know about periods ? Here we share with you 10 surprising and little-known information about menstruation , which we unearthed to satisfy our curiosity and we hope yours!

1. Each country has its crazy expressions to designate the rules

Depending on the traditions of each country, the rules are not approached in the same way. But if there is one thing that brings cultures together, it is the fact that menstruation remains taboo and that we often have to use lexical subterfuges to talk about it in public. In France, for example, we talk about the famous ragnagna or the English who arrive . In Austria and Germany, it is “strawberry season”. Among the British, we say “to be on the rag , in English: to be on the rag , a reference to the supposed bad mood during menstruation days. As for the United States, we talk about Aunt Flo coming to visit me .

What if we simply said: “I have my period”?

2. We lose two to three tablespoons of blood during our periods

Even though we often have the impression of losing liters of blood during our periods, fortunately it is only an impression! During each cycle, a woman loses on average between 35 and 50 ml of blood. In the case of heavy periods , this can be up to 80 ml. Beyond that, these are hemorrhagic periods, part of the “menorrhagia” family. Moreover, what is commonly called “menstrual blood” is not made up only of blood, it also contains fragments of the endometrium as well as secretions from the cervix and vagina.

3. Period synchronization between girls is just a myth!  

Among friends, we have all already experienced this surprise of realizing that we are settled at the same time. This menstrual alignment, called period synchronization , is a well-known phenomenon among women. But is it a myth or a scientific reality? In any case, it was a subject of study for many researchers, referred to as the “McClintock effect”, named after the psychologist who, in the 1970s, carried out extensive research on this subject. According to the latter, this synchronization is due to the pheromones secreted by women during their period. This scientific postulate has since been widely contradicted. Indeed, in 2017, a study carried out by British scientists demonstrated that this supposed alignment was not one: it would simply be the result of the mathematical chance of statistics (1).

4. There is a Walt Disney movie about periods!

Yes Yes ! And it is very soberly called “ The Story of the Menstruation ”, in French “L’histoire des menstruations”. Released in 1946, and sponsored by an American tampon brand called Kotex, this short advertising film aimed to explain the menstrual cycle, through diagrams and animations. Used in education and health classes in schools until the end of the 1960s, it is the first film in which the word “vagina” was pronounced.

5. Hippocrates caused a lot of confusion about menstruation

Considered the “father of medicine”, Hippocrates is also at the origin of the belief that menstrual blood is impure. According to him, periods would purify the woman's body thanks to the evacuation of toxins through menstrual blood. This is the so-called “humours” theory taught by the famous Greek doctor and philosopher, who was at the origin of medical practices such as bloodletting. The latter aimed to chase away the “bad moods” of the suffering individual, by causing blood to flow in order to evacuate harmful toxins. For Hippocrates, the flow of menstrual blood was essential to the good psychological health of women. This theory, fortunately, was invalidated thanks to scientific advances in the 20th century.

6. If you take contraception, your blood loss is not really periods but “withdrawal bleeding”

In fact, under hormonal contraception, there is no longer a menstrual cycle; Bleeding is caused by a drop in hormones when stopping the pill at the end of each pack or in women using a contraceptive ring or patch. In the case of the pill, the dosages are such that on the last days of the month, the synthetic hormones are dosed very little in order to cause the level of these hormones to suddenly drop to cause this blood loss. But what exactly is it for? Nothing… Well, yes, to reassure us. In the 1950s, the very first pills worked continuously and therefore did not cause these “withdrawal bleeds”. But scientists realized that the absence of bleeding caused women to lose their bearings. They therefore made the decision to introduce pills with a one-week break in order to artificially reproduce the woman's menstrual cycle to promote acceptance of this invention, considered revolutionary. These artificial rules therefore have the sole purpose of giving women the assurance that they are not pregnant (even if this is not correct because, even if the probabilities are tiny, it is possible to get pregnant using hormonal contraception) .

7. A woman has her period 2,500 days in her life

In years, that represents 6 years and 10 months... And yes, that's a lot! So you might as well pamper yourself and choose beautiful menstrual lingerie ;)

8. Period blood: an effective therapeutic product?

Menstrual blood is of interest to health researchers. The rules are said to be a truly underestimated treasure in medical research. Menstrual blood would represent an interesting stem cell culture for scientific advancement in the treatment of pathologies. Indeed, the stem cells present in menstrual blood would have a greater capacity for multiplication than other types of stem cells present in the body. Scientists are very optimistic about clinical trials, which are showing great promise for research against cancer or degenerative neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease (2) .

9. During Antiquity, women used sanitary protection

In Egypt, in 1550 BC, women created periodic protection by making tampons from moistened papyrus rolls!

10. A woman spends €23,500 over her lifetime on periods

According to a British study published in the Huffington Post (3) , each woman pays on average €23,500 for periods during her lifetime. This cost takes into account periodic protection but also pain medication and the purchase of new underwear to replace stained ones. We took out the calculator: if we estimate that a woman is settled for an average of 40 years during her life, €23,000 then represents €575 per year. A cost that many women cannot afford; we also wrote an article on the subject of menstrual poverty . This is one more reason to adopt washable protection such as menstrual panties ;) Indeed, for 6 Perdième menstrual panties which last 3 years, the price is €234 per year and €3,120 for 40 years, i.e. 8 times less than with disposable protections! We find this enormous, don't you?

Written by Inès Perrein


  1. Arièle Bonte, AB (2017, April 18). Period synchronization, or the end of a myth . www.rtl.fr. https://www.rtl.fr/actu/psycho-sexo/la-synchronisation-des-regles-la-fin-d-un-mythe-7788103664 

  2. Amandine Schmitt, AS (2017, January 10). 10 Things You Might Not Know About Periods (Because It's A Big Taboo ) The Obs. https://www.nouvelobs.com/societe/20170110.OBS3654/10-choses-que-vous-ignoriez-peut-etre-sur-les-regles-parce-que-c-est-un-gros-tabou. html 

  3. Moss, R. M. (2015, September 3). Women Spend More Than £18,000 On Having Periods In Their Lifetime, Study Reveals . HuffingtonPost. https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/09/03/women-spend-thousands-on-periods-tampon-tax_n_8082526.html?utm_hp_ref=tw