Period Brain Myth Busted

Periods, yes they may make you feel moody and eagerly wanting to eat every piece of chocolate in sight. But no, there is no such thing as “period brain”. A recent study that was published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience debunks the period brain myth, (thanks Sherlock).

Yes, some people actually believed that menstruating makes a person less competent. The study examined the association between female hormones and cognitive functioning. Good news, periods do not hinder your ability to think! It was a myth all along (surprise, surprise). So next time someone wants to question your thinking when you have your period just let the science do the talking and show them this study.

What is Period Brain?

Have you ever forgot the name of your bestfriends boyfriend, lost the keys when you’re in a rush, or just totally spaced out for no apparent reason? Well, this is what was considered period brain. Sometimes, we can be forgetful or maybe a little out of it on the first two days of our period, and many scientists actually believed that this was a result of periods messing with our ability to think straight.

How Did They Debunk the Period Brain Myth?

The study was conducted in Europe and the researchers collected data from 88 menstruating women during the women’s first cycle and then the researchers followed up with 68 women during their second cycle to rule out false-positive findings. The researchers assessed 4 different aspects that included “working memory, attention, cognitive bias and hormone levels at four consecutive time-points across both cycles.” (Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience). Their goal was to find a link between mental performance and menstruation, and believed that it actually might come down to the hormone changes in a woman’s body that is causing the cognitive impairment.  

So what were the results?

They did not find any clear associations between hormones and cognitive functioning.

“Estrogen, progesterone and testosterone did not relate to differences in cognitive functioning.”

Brigette Leeners, the study’s lead author confirmed the findings and said “We can draw the conclusion from our results that this is a myth — that women can function absolutely well, despite having a menstrual cycle,” Leeners said. Hallelujah, we can continue on with life as we all knew it, cue quote ‘Anything you can do, I can do bleeding’.  

Other Period Myths

Beets cut with a knife


Well, that rules out that period myth. Heard of other period myths? You’d be surprised at what is out there. Here are a few busted period myths:

  • You’re more likely to be attacked by a shark on your period. FALSE.  This has never been proven, or documented, in any case. The ocean is yours.  
  • All menstrual cycles are 28 days. FALSE.  That is the average menstrual cycle is 28 days, but menstrual cycles differ in length for all of us and range between 21-35 days.
  • Menstrual blood is different than regular blood. FALSE.   Menstrual blood is regular blood plus lining from your uterine walls.
  • You can’t get pregnant on your period. FALSE. You can! Sperm can live inside of you for 3-5 days.  This means that the sperm can meet the egg when if ovulation occurs during, or soon after your period.  

Busting these types of period myths is critical in order to fight the taboo that surrounds menstruation.  Wondering about any other myths that might need busting? Let us know!

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