Are Sharks Attracted To Period Blood?
Ever since the beginning of time, we have relied on legends, myths and elaborate stories so they can have an explanation of the things that frighten them or things they do not understand. As a woman who loves to go snorkeling and deep-sea diving, one of my biggest fears was being bitten by a shark because I am on my period. Whether you use tampons, pads or period panties, myths about menstruation are usually centered around an idea that women should avoid doing certain activities, being in certain places and being in certain situations when they’re on their period- The sea, sky diving, the moon, being in a position of power, etc. I know it sounds funny, but it’s the truth.
There are probably more myths about women’s periods than any other topic. In this post we are going to bust some big time period myths once and for all!
Myth 1- Being in the ocean while on your period attracts sharks
Are sharks attracted to period blood? We all know that sharks have the ability to smell blood in the water. We have also heard they can smell a drop of blood from miles away which is 100% false. It’s true that sharks have a fantastic sense of smell, however according to marine biologists, sharks aren’t that much better at detecting odors in the ocean than the average fish. And as far as being able to detect a single drop of blood, they would have to be in a body of water the size of a swimming pool. So, I guess if there is a shark in your pool don’t go swimming??
So, what about swimming in the ocean while you’re on your period? Are you really putting yourself at risk of a shark attack? Well according to top shark researchers like Chris Lowe, of Cal St University, a woman menstruating doesn’t produce nearly enough blood to attract sharks. In fact, the amount of blood lost during your period is usually less than an average cut or scrape a child or snorkeler might get while in the water.
It takes a lot more than a little bit of blood to get the attention of a dangerous shark. The founder of the Shark Research Institute, Marie Levine says “I have been deep sea diving for several decades and have even been on my period near a school of hammerhead sharks, they weren’t even remotely interested in me”.
So don’t let your period keep you from going to the beach and swimming in the ocean. The truth is, you’re more likely to be killed by a lightning strike than by a shark attack.
Myth 2- Being on your period while camping attracts bears.
Worried about the upcoming camping trip because you’ll be menstruating? Don’t! According to studies that were published by the National Park Service, period odors don’t attract deadly bears. This myth all began with a rumor which started in 1967. Two women were viciously attacked and killed by Grizzly bears at Glacier National Park
Where did this rumor even begin? Well, in 1967, two women were attacked and killed by grizzly bears in Glacier National Park in Montana then rumors began circulating that being on their period probably had something to do with it. Time went on and so did the fear of bears for menstruating women. Finally a top animal researcher, Kerry Gunther discovered absolutely no evidence that bears are attracted to menstrual odors more than any other odor. As a matter of fact, one study Gunther had completed found that menstrual odors were essentially ignored by black bears.
The National Parks Service still highly recommends you take certain precautions like putting your used tampons or pads in a separate plastic bag, then double bag it whenever you go camping.
Myth 3- When a group of menstruating women occupy the same space, their cycles will sync up
I believed in this one forever probably because I wanted to believe it. There’s just something magical about the idea of a group of women being able to sync up their periods through the powers of their uterus… kind of like ESP of the vagina. Older women will argue with you all day long about this, unfortunately no research has ever proven that cycle syncing exists. So why does it feel like it happens all the time to us? It’s because we tend to interpret things that we experience as a confirmation of our already existing beliefs.
Myth 4- Going to space will affect your menstrual cycle
Believe it or not, women’s periods wear actually an early argument for why females shouldn’t be allowed to become astronauts. Some even made an argument that a plane crash is more likely if the pilot was menstruating. Sally Ride became the first American female in space in 1983. Funny fact, engineers planning her trip wanted to send her up with 100 tampons for a one-week trip.
NASA is dominated by men so there was a lot of discussion on how female astronauts would deal with their periods while in space. There were even ideas that period blood may flow in reverse due to lack of gravity causing health problems.
As it turns out, having your period in space is just like having it on earth. Sure, there would be an added level of inconvenience with the space suit and all, but certainly not a reason to not become an astronaut. Since the early days of space travel, astronauts embark on longer and longer missions and there have been continued discussions about dealing with periods in the long-term. Some women choose to go on “the pill” so they can skip their period altogether. Inserting an IUD is also a form of birth control which also eliminates your period. I only use eco-friendly period panties here on earth but, if I were an astronaut, I’d probably do the same thing. In the past several decades of women going into space, there have been no menstrual problems due to lack of gravity.
I hope this was helpful in busting a few myths about women being on their periods and what we can and can't do.