The menstrual cycle is one of nature’s most beautiful processes. To think of all that goes into it - it’s astonishing! You probably have some questions about this complex process (and we bet there’s some things you never even thought to ask!).
Much of our work goes into creating the perfect technology for our Saalt Wear period underwear, or dreaming up the best and brightest new products for our incredible customers. And while our team came to the table with a lot of firsthand knowledge about the menstrual cycle and specifically our periods, there are some important things we’ve learned along the way as we developed our period cups, menstrual discs, and leakproof underwear!
1. Your cervix does not stay in the same position throughout your cycle.
WHHAATT? Yes! Your cervix can change height and position throughout the menstrual cycle. During ovulation, the cervix will rise and soften. Then, at the end of your period, it will lower back down and harden. The amount of movement varies based on each individual and their unique anatomy. This process is one of the reasons we talk so much about cervix height when choosing a cup or disc. Many menstrual cup and disc users are able to use both the small and regular cup sizes during their periods, as they will use either one based on their cervix height on a particular day. (Hello Duo Packs!)
2. You can still get pregnant on your period.
Now, this one can be a head-scratcher. But it is true! Because sperm can live in the vaginal canal for 5 days, it is possible to have sex while on your period and then ovulate very soon after your period is over. Counting your ovulation day, there are 6 days that make up the fertile window of the menstrual cycle so if you have sex within that window (even if part of that takes place during your period), it is possible to get pregnant.
3. You lose about 2-4 tablespoons of flow during your period.
But it feels like pints! Yep, we know. While this can vary widely from person-to-person, the average amount of flow that one loses during their period is 2-4 tablespoons. It can feel like much more, especially when using tampons or pads that absorb your flow, because the liquid can spread out, making it feel almost dizzying. Using a menstrual disc or cup is a great way to track your own personal flow as they catch rather than absorb. So you can get an accurate picture of where you land on the spectrum and establish what is normal for your body!
4. The bleeding you experience on the hormonal birth control pill is not a period.
While on your period, your hormones fluctuate, which triggers different stages of the cycle. The rising of estrogen and progesterone causes the endometrium (uterine lining - which is what a good majority of a period bleed consists of) to continue building up. Hormonal birth control pills work to keep the hormones at a steady place during what would be your cycle. So, the endometrium does not get built up.
Instead, the endometrium remains small and if you choose to take the placebo or sugar-pill week, you will experience what is called a “withdrawal bleed.” It is called this because your body is experiencing a sudden withdrawal from the hormones it has been taking in and triggers a light bleed. Ah, science.
5. High levels of stress can have a major impact on your period.
What we do and experience in our day-to-day lives has a major impact on our overall health, including our menstrual cycles and periods. High levels of stress can have a negative impact on the pituitary gland in the brain which helps control the release of hormones that trigger different functions of the menstrual cycle. This can cause light or even skipped periods. Mental health has such a huge impact on physical health and this is just one example of how important it is to manage stress.
We hope you found this information as fascinating as we did. Periods are incredible and here at Saalt, we grow a deeper appreciation for them every day. Happy period-ing!