13 disturbing facts about periods your mom definitely didn’t teach you

As any female can attest, getting your period is typically the least anticipated part of every month. In addition to painful cramps, bloating, and uncontrollable mood swings, we also get the pleasure of having to deal with running to the bathroom every hour to avoid leaks. So. Much. Fun.

Fortunately, though, we are much better off than our predecessors who were shamed from society and forced to wear uncomfortable belts during their monthly cycles. Check out these and other disturbing facts about the early days of menstruation below.

1. During medieval times, it was believed that cramps were ‘a reminder of Eve’s original sin’ and pain relief was not made available.

2. Primitive “tampons” were usually just pieces of linen material.

3. The Hoosier sanitary belt was created in the late 1800s and women could purchase washable pads that were attached to a belt.

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4. Men believed that period blood was extremely poisonous and could cause wine to sour and crops to die.

5. The first “legit” tampon was developed in 1929 by Dr. Earle Haas.

6. Mayan mythology held that menstruation was a punishment for the Moon Goddess who disobeyed the rules of alliance when she slept with the Sun god.

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7. If a woman did not get her period at the expected age (14), some doctors would suggest taking blood from her veins instead.

8.  In Judaism’s Halakha laws, when a woman begins her period, she enters into the profane state of Niddah and is not allowed to touch her husband until she has slept on white sheets for a week.

9. In medieval Europe, women carried nosegays of sweet-smelling herbs around their necks and waists, in hopes of neutralizing the odor of their blood.

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10. Early petticoats were often red-colored to disguise period stains.

11. Queen Elizabeth I of England famously took a bath once a month “whether she needed it or not”, and this was likely at the end of her flow.

12. People believed that if you had sex while on your period, your child would be born with red hair.

13. One method of slowing a heavy flow was to burn a toad and wear the ashes around your waist.

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