When I first cracked open Blood, I landed on a chapter full of menstrual product myths. 

Is there asbestos in tampons? Are organic products safer? Can a menstrual cup cause my uterus to fall out??

Dr. Jen Gunter has been hearing one myth — that tampons increase your menstrual flow— since she was in medical school. 

“It bothers me because it’s biologically impossible, but if you’re someone who doesn’t know the science…you could see how people could fall prey to it,” she says. 

This chapter in Dr. Gunter’s new book Blood: The Science, Medicine, and Mythology of Menstruation is a perfect example of the tidal wave of disinformation that women face today. A wave fuelled by fear and shame, and often delivered by someone on TikTok laying out the “facts” so confidently….that they must be right?

But myths like these have been around far longer than your For You page. The insidious culture of shame around menstruation has been woven into patriarchal societies for generations and is still creating massive problems for women today.

“Disinformation about your body serves the patriarchy,” Dr. Gunter says. “Keeping you off balance, keeping you not knowing, restricting your access to birth control, restricting your access to abortion. Those are things that harm women and those are tools of many governments.”

Blood takes readers back to the basics: the science behind menstruation and reproductive hormones, helpful information about painful and heavy periods, and judgement-free guides to contraception and abortion. The 462-page book is a follow-up to Dr. Gunter’s trio of informative books about reproductive health: The Preemie Primer, The Vagina Bible, and The Menopause Manifesto.

With more than 30 years of experience as an OB/GYN, Dr. Gunter is a fierce advocate for women’s health, fighting for her patients and the public to have the facts they need to make informed medical decisions. You might have seen her dispelling medical misinformation on her CBC show Jensplaining, shutting down the latest birth control myth circulating on Twitter, or laying out the facts about everything from menopause symptoms to supplements in her Substack publication The Vajenda.


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For Dr. Gunter, simply seeing her book displayed on bookstore shelves, BLOOD printed bold and proud on the cover, is a huge win. 

“I couldn’t imagine even 15 years ago or 10 years ago, a book about menstruation being put out there. And they keep putting it out because they sell!” 

The impact of Blood goes far beyond sales. During Dr. Gunter’s book tour across the United States and Canada, many people expressed how thankful they were that someone was willing to start these necessary conversations about women’s health.

In Oakville, one woman with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) was waiting in line for Dr. Gunter to sign her copy of Blood. “She said she learned more about her condition reading the chapter while she was standing in line than she’d had in the previous eight years from any of her doctors.”


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Dr. Gunter tells me that three factors fuel this whirlwind of menstruation myths. One is a long history of patriarchal cultures valuing women only as breeders, meaning increased fears around reproductive health. The second is a pervasive culture of shame, which is often a double-edged sword—“you’re a bad woman if you don’t pop out a bunch of babies, but you’re also a bad woman if you have sex.” And finally, women’s health is so understudied, both on a medical research level and in health classrooms around the world, that many people are simply lacking the facts. 

Social media algorithms don’t help. There are entire webs of lies about women’s health that make the rounds on the internet, as well as a recent rise in posts with negative sentiments towards hormonal birth control. Hashtags like #quittingbirthcontrol and #naturalbirthcontrol rack up millions of views. One study found that nearly all of the top videos on TikTok about IUD experiences had a negative tone, highlighting pain and side effects. It gets even more insidious—  a study out of UC Berkeley found a disturbing link between birth control disinformation on TikTok and known anti-abortion advocates. 

 “I’m encountering people whose medical conditions could be well treated with hormonal contraception, and they won’t start it because of what they’ve heard on TikTok,” Dr. Gunter says. “I think it’s really important for people to realize that disinformation almost always comes from some very right-wing sources that would prefer you to be pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen.” 

Her best advice for avoiding disinformation online? “Delete TikTok! I believe it has a very fear-based algorithm. It sends you down rabbit holes.” If you can’t let it go, she recommends carefully curating who you’re following and fact-checking any claims you read on social media.


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Dr. Gunter was born in Winnipeg and now practices medicine in San Francisco—so she’s pretty well-versed in the culture around women’s health on both sides of the border. She’s received plenty of press for Blood on Canadian morning shows, but tells me no one in the US has been interested in speaking about it on TV. It seems a new, terrifying headline pops up every day about abortion restrictions in the US, meanwhile, just days after our chat, news broke about a deal in the works that would allow Canadians access to free birth control. We’re safe here, right? Not exactly.

“You’re all one election away from being in the situation that we’re in the States,” Dr. Gunter says. Her message for Canadian women? Don’t get complacent. Get involved in politics. VOTE.

She tells me being visible and vocal is the best weapon we have against shame. “Saying the words and talking about it, putting a book like Blood on the coffee table, putting tampons and pads in full view in your bathroom so your guests have access to them—that’s being an ally.”

Blood is a book for the 13-year-old girl terrified that using a tampon will mean losing her virginity. For the woman whose doctor keeps dismissing her painful periods. For the person looking to make a risk-informed decision about hormonal contraception. For the woman wondering if her menopause symptoms are normal. 

It’s a visible, vocal, and factual antidote for shame. For everyone that’s hidden a pad in the sleeve of their sweater, been the butt of a period joke, or has in any way been made to feel shame about a natural, biological process that gives us all life—read this book, and then display it proudly on your shelf— BLOOD facing out, of course.