Menstruation is a part of most women's lives for years (and years): Menopause typically begins around age 50, and girls in the U.S. tend to get their periods somewhere between 12 and 13 -- although puberty is beginning at younger and younger ages. Which means, women generally deal with their periods for roughly four decades (and use around 11,800 tampons, according to some estimates floating around on the Internet).
But how much do we really know about menstruation? Between botched sex-ed classes; rushed doctor's visits; pop culture portrayals that make our periods seem epically icky; and Dr. Google being a notoriously unreliable source, many of us have significant gaps in our menstruation know-how. And it matters.
"I think it's good for women to know about how their bodies function," explained Lois McGuire, a women's health nurse practitioner and instructor in obstetrics and gynecology with the Mayo Clinic. "It helps us know what's typical, personally, and what's not, so we can flag their health care team if something's off."
Here, in no particular order, are just eight of the things we should all know about our periods, but that nobody bothered to tell us. Huzzah, to period wisdom!