It’s amazing that even as adults we often don’t have a grasp on our bodies and our health. Women’s health particularly seems to be shrouded in mystery, with misinformation and myths flying around. There’s no doubt that we need to provide young women with a more comprehensive and effective education when it comes to their own health—but at the very least, we need to stop the women’s health myths that, for some reason, continue to circulate.
A lot of women’s health myths can actually lead to massive (even life-changing) consequences. There’s confusion about when you can get pregnant, how you identify infections, and how to treat them—all of which can lead to serious complications. So, it’s time to put all the nonsense to bed.
Here are 10 of the biggest women’s health myths that ob-gyns and other doctors have heard, because yogurt should be for eating and eating alone.
1. You Can’t Get Pregnant on Your Period
This is such a common myth—with the potential for huge consequences. A lot of women think that you can’t get pregnant during your period, but you definitely can. It’s more rare, but because sperm can live in the body for days, you can end up pregnant from sex you have during your menstrual cycle.
2. The Pill Takes a While to Wear Off
It’s hard to tell where this myth comes from, but some people believe that it takes months for the birth control pill to work its way out of your system. Some even believe that birth control can make you permanently infertile. Neither of these things are true. You can get pregnant as soon as you stop taking the pill, so be aware.
3. The Pullout Method is Effective
Sorry, people around the world, but the pullout method is not a reliable form of birth control. Sperm can exist in pre-ejaculate, so you can still end up pregnant even if your partner pulls out. And of course, the pullout method doesn’t protect against STIs.
4. You Need Special Products to Clean Your Vagina
There are a lot of products out there marketed to women for cleaning their vulva and vagina—soaps, sprays, wipes, and douches that can actually do some serious harm. The vagina is self-cleaning and is actually like its own little ecosphere, so these products can throw off the balance of pH levels and leave you at risk for infection. Use water, and if you think something’s off, visit your doctor instead of taking things into your own hands.
5. You Can Get an STI from a Toilet Seat
Public toilet seats can be pretty revolting, but they’re probably not going to give you an STI. The exposure to air stops the STI from spreading, so you can put that worry out of mind.
6. If I’m Healthy I’ll Get Pregnant Easily
This is a destructive myth because it leads to a lot of women feeling confused and angry with themselves. Being healthy does not always equate to an easy pregnancy. There are so many different factors that can affect fertility—and you haven’t done anything wrong if it takes longer than you thought it would.
7. You Can Use Yogurt to Treat a Yeast Infection
As out there as this might sound, it does happen. “One of the worst pieces of advice I’ve heard from a patient is one who actually put yogurt into her vagina because a friend told her the probiotics in yogurt would help with her yeast infection,” Nicole E. Williams, a gynecologist and founder of the Gynecology Institute of Chicago, told Reader’s Digest. “Unfortunately, she used strawberry-flavored! It didn’t work and there’s been no evidence in the literature to prove this to be true.” Stay away from the yogurt—especially the strawberry kind.
8. I Don’t Have Any Symptoms, So I Don’t Have an STI
So many of us use excuses to avoid taking care of our sexual health—and to avoid getting tested for STIs. But not having symptoms doesn’t mean you don’t have an STI. Many STIs are asymptomatic, so the only way to know for sure is to get tested.
9. Bras Cause Breast Cancer
This is a myth that’s been floating around for a while and feels a bit like an old wives’ tale. But bras don’t cause breast cancer. If you don’t want to wear one, that’s totally fine. But if you’re looking to protect yourself against breast cancer then yearly mammograms after the age of 45 are the way to go.
10. Nursing Mothers Can’t Get Pregnant
One final pregnancy myth to bust: Nursing mothers can actually get pregnant. Yes, often when nursing you won’t have a period and your ovulation will be suppressed. Thus, it’s less likely to become pregnant while breastfeeding—but it can happen. So if you don’t want to get pregnant again, make sure you’re using contraception.
As a woman, it should be easier to access accurate and helpful information about your own health. But unfortunately, myths still run rampant. Make sure you’re educating yourself from reliable sources and, when in doubt, always reach out to a doctor or medical professional.
Originally posted on Brides