Women's Health Facts, Myths, and Misconceptions
"Mother Knows Best" - there are songs about it, poems devoted to it and inspirational posters confirming it. Now we're asking, was she wrong? We love mom, but truth be told, her health advice wasn't always completely accurate. In honor of Mother's Day, we have gathered 4 health myths that mom told us growing up, and we've debunked them. It is time for some RepHreshing Truth.
Health Myth #1: Chocolate causes acne
You just got dumped? Eat some chocolate. It's Valentine's Day? Here's some chocolate. You're on your period? You need chocolate! So when mom said that chocolate causes acne, we all felt hopeless. We had to ask ourselves, can I end my relationship with chocolate for a good complexion?
You'll be happy to know that "chocolate has no link to acne," according to WebMD. Dr. Albert Kligman at the University of Pennsylvania conducted a famous experiment many years ago, effectively showing that there is no link between chocolate consumption and acne. In all reality, acne forms when the "oil glands make too much sebum, a waxy substance that along with dead skin cells can clog pores". Bacteria can grow and further irritate the blocked pores, leading to their redness and swelling.
Chocolate has actually been shown to have health benefits: cocoa is anti-oxidant rich and contains flavonoids which protect cells from free radical damage. So, this Mothers Day, turn this bad advice on its head and treat your mother to a Chocolate Facial Treatment! You can even whip one up at home and enjoy the benefits together.
Health Myth #2: The menstrual cycles of women living together will sync up
You love your best girlfriends and you cannot wait to move into a place with them, but like any woman knows, hormones can be a dangerous thing. If mom warned you about your menstrual cycle syncing up with your friends or roommates and leading to World War III, you probably believed her. After all, you continually discovered that you had your period at the EXACT same time as your best friend. This is referred to as the McClintock Effect.
The McClintock Effect is the "hypothesis that menstruating women secrete pheromones that subtly alter the cycle of other women in close proximity" (Oprah). However, science now disputes this claim. Some studies have shown that it is just a coincidence. After all, the average menstrual cycle is only 28 days long and most women's periods last 5 to 7 days. According to Patricia Barnes-Svarney, a science writer, the potential for random overlap is very high, likely explaining the apparent "synchronicity".
So, Mom was wrong about the science, but right about the probability that there will be times when your "monthly gift" will arrive at the same time - whether or not you are roommates.
Health Myth #3: Douching is the best way to stay fresh
This one likely depends on the relationship you had with your mother growing up, but assuming it was a more (eh-hem) open one, you probably heard about douching. Or maybe it was a more subtle hint of putting the box next to your favorite sanitary products. Of course, you wanted to stay fresh and take mom's advice, so you easily fell into mom's suggested hygiene routine. And you are not alone. According to the Office on Women's Health, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, 40% of women douche regularly. Research shows that women who douche believe it promotes cleanliness, freshness and removes odor-causing organisms. And the #1 source for this information was dear ol' Mom.
What mom didn't know was that pH is the real issue when it comes to freshness and vaginal odor. Douching can throw off pH, and studies show that vaginal issues often occur when vaginal pH is unbalanced. A healthy vaginal pH is 3.5 to 4.5 and when unbalanced can allow odor-causing microorganisms to flourish. So, traditional douching may unbalance the pH and actually make things worse. Swapping a douche routine for RepHresh Gel, which maintains healthy pH, is a much better way to stay fresh.
I know what you are thinking - there are times when douching makes sense: after a day at the beach when you got sand "down there", when another hygiene product is irritating and must be washed away or for those times when your period is over but just won't go away - and it's your anniversary. In those times, it's important to note that all douches are not the same. RepHresh Clean Balance, for example, is not your traditional douche. Clean Balance promotes feminine freshness with the two-step difference: Step 1 provides purified cleansing and Step 2 provides healthy conditioning that works with your body by maintaining healthy vaginal pH and eliminating odor. Next time you decide to douche, try Clean Balance, the better option that promises 3 days of freshness along with the healthy pH benefits.
Oh, and if you have one of those (eh-hem) open communication relationships, be sure to tell your mom too — or try the subtle hint of replacing her old-fashioned douche with RepHresh Clean Balance.
Health Myth #4: Cracking your knuckles will cause Arthritis
Mom yelled at you all of the time for cracking your knuckles. But, if she told you the truth that you were annoying her beyond belief, would you have stopped? No. So, moms everywhere began telling their children that this annoying habit would lead to Arthritis.
In reality, several clinical studies have shown that knuckle-crackers are no more likely to have arthritis than non-knuckle-crackers (http://www.jabfm.org/content/24/2/169.long). As the doctors concluded in one study, "The chief morbid consequence of knuckle cracking would appear to be its annoying effect on the observer." This brings us to Moms real point - unless you want to be extremely unpopular, Mom's no-knuckle-cracking advice is still worth listening to. Also, points to Mom for trying to give your less-civilized self a reasonable explanation instead of the never-appreciated "because I said so!"
Even with all of these half-truths and old wives tales, we know that mom had good intentions. We all look back and realize Mom was right about a lot of things. No, your first boyfriend wasn't the one, hanging out with the "popular" girl wasn't worth it and that one embarrassing thing that happened did not ruin your life forever. Mom fed us a few urban legends over the years, but we forgive her. All in all, the great advice she gave us trumps the few that she got wrong. Happy Mother's Day!