Written by Catherine Hales for Doctify

We live surrounded by information and opinions – most of them on the internet. I’ve lost track of whether drinking a glass of red wine every night is the equivalent to two hours at the gym or is likely to cause you to keel over and die of heart disease. Gluten is the enemy, now it’s sugar – you’re eating dairy? Are you insane?

Health myths abound. Plus, there will always be at least one study to back up every claim out there but here are, at least a few, health myths that we can finally put to bed.

When you shave, the hair grows back coarser, darker and more quickly

health myths

I can confirm that this is how all women look when shaving their legs

 

This is one of those myths that many women seem to hear at a young age and believe for the rest of their lives. So, ladies (and gentlemen), rest easy – it is 100% untrue.

The hair follicle is located beneath the skin and shaving the hair with a razor has absolutely no effect on this follicle. Cutting the hair can’t change it’s pigment, consistency or rate at which it grows – which, when you think about it, makes sense.

For those of you shaking your head in disagreement at the screen, bear with us. This particular myth may have come about because razors usually cut hair at the widest part of the shaft and this can make it appear thicker and darker as it grows back.

Your hair’s appearance can change for a variety of reasons, some of which are hormonal, others genetic. Shaving, however, is not one of them. 

A woman can’t get pregnant on her period

health myths

When this happens, the preferred reaction is surprise rather than shock

 

This is an important one: a woman can absolutely get pregnant from having sexual intercourse while on her period.

Sperm can live in a woman’s body for up to seven days and, if a woman ovulates early, this can then lead to pregnancy. Although unlikely, it is possible. Always use protection unless you are attempting to conceive, in which case pregnancy is the desired result and congratulations!

And it may seem obvious but it bears repeating, although the pill, the coil, the implant and any other kind of hormonal contraception only prevent pregnancy. They do not prevent STDs from being passed from person to person. Be safe!

Standing in the cold with wet hair makes you sick

health myths

See, she’s having a great time!

 

Don’t get us wrong, going out into the freezing cold with wet hair isn’t super fun. It’s probably not something you want to spend your weekends doing. But will it make you sick? In a word, no. 

The common cold is caused by a virus which means that, although standing in the snow with sopping hair might mean catching hypothermia, your body temperature has nothing to do with your likelihood of catching one.

Cracking knuckles causes arthritis

health myths

It was between this and a picture of hands in the shape of a heart

 

We’ve already discussed this before on the blog. Despite learning this ‘fact’ at the tender age of about 7, it turns out that the link between arthritis and the intensely satisfying act of knuckle cracking is nonexistent. Orthopaedic surgeon, Mr Toby Colegate-Stone goes into more detail in the other post but, essentially, the cracking sound actually comes from small gas bubbles in our joints popping.

The research seems to show little to no connection between the habit and developing arthritis. There is a slight possibility that there may be other negative effects but nothing definitive has been proved. So, the next time someone tells you to stop cracking your knuckles because its bad for you, feel free to smugly show them this blog post. I’m sure you’ll have bookmarked it immediately after reading it.

 


 

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