There are many myths surrounding menstruation, from the more light hearted myths like sharks or bears drawn to menstrual blood, to the more dangerous ingrained cultural beliefs such as: showering during menstruation will cause infertility, women contaminating food and even periods being recognised as disease.
But Perhaps the most common misconception about periods is that it will make a woman forgetful, unable to think and mentally slower.
Although most women already know this to be a myth, a study was conducted and published in the Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience Journal that debunked the popular myth.
The researchers studied a menstruating woman’s concentration, cognitive function, ability to multitask and memory and found there was no link between periods and cognitive ability. Professor and author Brigitte Leeners explained:
The hormonal changes related to the menstrual cycle do not show any association with cognitive performance, although there might be individual exceptions, women's cognitive performance is in general not disturbed by hormonal changes occurring with the menstrual cycle.
How did they bust this myth?
By testing the cognitive ability of 88 women at four different intervals during their monthly cycle, testing 68 of the 88 again the following month. Researchers also measured the women’s levels of the hormones: Progesterone, testosterone and oestrogen.
The results showed “no consistent association."
Despite the evidence many women and men are prone to believe the myth, professor Leeners explains:
As a specialist in reproductive medicine and a psychotherapist, I deal with many women who have the impression that the menstrual cycle influences their well-being and cognitive performance.
As recent as last month Putin was famously quoted about woman’s periods and their brain functionality:
I am not a woman, so I don’t have bad days. I am not trying to insult anyone. That’s just the nature of things. There are certain natural cycles.
Previous studies conducted seemed to prove a link between cognitive function and menstruation but, as Leeners explains these studies were: “prone to inflated effect sizes and probable false positive findings due to methodological biases and random variance.”
The evidence is in, so let’s put this myth to rest.