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Sharks, Bears and Periods Oh My!

Have you ever let your period stop you from enjoying a perfect late summer day?

There are plenty of period myths out there, and we’re here to set the record straight on three of them. First up, if you find yourself at the beach…

Can swimming in the ocean on your period attract sharks?

Swimming in the ocean

Earlier this year, there was a Shark Week episode covering this exact myth. Its conclusion? “Your thoughts about them [sharks sensing blood] are a little overblown.” In other words, it’s a nonissue.

There are a variety of factors contributing to shark activity (or lack thereof) and little to no official studies dealing with period blood in the water, but according to another Shark Week episode, “Laws of Jaws: Dangerous Waters,” sharks were far more interested in fish blood than human blood.

We can’t completely debunk this myth, but based on that same episode, sharks are far more interested in paddle boards than human blood. You’ll be just fine. Bottom line: Always use common sense on the beach and pay attention to any signs and shark warnings.

If you’re really worried about it, wearing a menstrual cup is now scientifically proven to be “just as effective at preventing menstrual flow leaks as pads and tampons, and perhaps more effective.” So Saalt has you covered from leaks in the water to leaks on your favorite bathing suit.

Let’s bring our Labor Day weekend back to land.

Does camping on your period attract bears?

Woman drinking a warm bevcerage while tent camping

Now this is a creative myth! Sure, we hear about vicious bear attacks every so often. Fearsome grizzlies clenching the jugular come to mind.

But do you know what bears like to eat? Berries. Seeds. TRASH. As omnivores, 90% of a bear’s diet is made up of plants. And in the unique case of a story from a friend’s cabin, one daring and curious bear got hold of a case of Coke from their porch and came back the next day for more. A legendary story, including the bear breaking through their window in need of a sweet Coca-Cola fix. Terrifying and hilarious. No bears or humans were harmed.

As cute and adorable as they may seem, bears can certainly pose a danger to campers — so all safety procedures in the woods should be followed to make smart camping choices and stay safe. Stay away from bears (and baby bears) and they should stay away from you, and for heaven’s sake, say yes to the camping trip even if you’re on your period! Yellowstone National Park debunked this myth already.

Our last myth brings us to a potential road trip snafu:

“Can’t women control when they bleed, like holding in pee?”

Two women sitting on a wall in front of a field os sunflowers

We’ll give you a moment to pause and sufficiently roll your eyes while laughing this one off. But for those sincerely left in the dark on this one, we’ve got you covered.

Female genitalia includes three openings: the urethra, the vagina and the anus. Both the urethra and the anus have a sphincter, thus making it possible to hold in pee (and poop) for an appropriate amount of time (although pregnancy, childbirth, age, and a good joke can cause a leak). The vagina has no specified muscle control to tell the menstrual blood what to do, so it’ll flow on out as it pleases. Thus why women like to track their period and/or keep a menstrual cup/tampon/pad with them at all times.

So if you happen to be a male reading this, take road trip bathroom break requests seriously. Not only will everyone in the car have a chance to pee (especially since the female passengers do not have the luxury of peeing in a bottle), but the ladies will be thankful for the opportunity to tend to their menstrual needs. Everyone will be back in the car listening to the perfect road trip playlist in no time.

It’s safe to say your period shouldn’t stop you from having a killer (as in awesome, not dead by sharks and bears) summer. Enjoy the last bits of sunshine! Soak it up. (Or should we say collect it up? Period cup pun.)

Any more myths we should tackle?

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