How Did Vikings Deal With Periods ~ What Did Vikings Use For Periods

Summary: The Viking age is known for its warriors, traders, and navigators. However, little is known about how women managed their periods during this time. The truth is that the Vikings developed various ways of dealing with menstruation, ranging from the use of cloth pads to creating small ‘lunar huts’ outside the village.

1. Cloth Pads and Tampons

The Vikings are believed to have invented cloth pads for menstruation. These pads were made of linen or wool and were often reused. Archaeological digs have also unearthed bone, antler, and silver tampons in Viking settlements. Various sources suggest that tampons were used during sports activities to prevent menstrual blood from flowing out and attracting predators or opponents. Absorbent plants like moss or soft materials such as wool or hemp could also be used to make tampons.

It’s interesting to note that these methods were similar to those used throughout history by other cultures, including the Egyptians and Greeks, who used materials such as papyrus or lint wrapped around wool.

Although there was no such thing as a menstrual cup at the time, it’s not impossible that the Vikings may have used something similar. However, as with most aspects of Viking life, there is limited written evidence relating to this aspect of menstrual management.

2. Menstrual Huts

Vikings had a reputation for being tough and uncompromising, but they also believed in respecting natural processes like menstruation. Some Viking communities built so-called “menstruation huts” where women could stay during their period. This allowed them to rest and avoid contact with men or children – especially during traditional rituals or religious ceremonies when they were considered impure.

These huts were often located out of sight, sometimes even outside the village’s stockade. They were usually small and simple, made from available materials such as branches, mud, or woven wicker. Although these huts may seem rudimentary by today’s standards, they provided a private and safe place for women to manage their menstrual needs without interrupting daily activities.

Research suggests that menstrual huts were also used in other cultures, including India and Nepal. These huts may have helped to bond female communities and give women a shared space where they could talk about their experiences and provide emotional support to one another.

3. Magic and Superstition

The Vikings were known for their strong beliefs in magic and supernatural powers, and menstruation was no exception. In Norse mythology, there are various references to blood as a symbol of power and strength. The Viking goddess Freyja, for example, was associated with love, fertility, and war. In some legends, she was depicted as bleeding gold – a reference to her privileged status as a goddess.

However, not all superstitions related to menstruation were positive. Some Vikings believed that menstrual blood could bring bad luck or even evil spirits. To counteract this, women were advised to keep clean during their period and to avoid certain foods or activities that could attract negative energy. It was also believed that menstrual blood had special properties that could be used in love spells or healing remedies. Some women even used it in an attempt to attract or keep a partner.

Superstition surrounding periods was common all over the world at this time. For example, some Native American tribes believed that when a woman was on her period, she was considered spiritually powerful and would often act as a mediator between the living and the dead.

4. Hygiene and Sanitation

Hygiene and sanitation were important issues in Viking times, especially as they lived in close proximity to each other. Despite this, there is little evidence to suggest that menstruation was seen as dirty or shameful – as it often was in other cultures.

Instead, Vikings believed in keeping their bodies clean and well-maintained. Baths were a common part of daily life, and women were usually given time and space to manage their period hygiene privately. Although there were no commercial products to help with menstrual hygiene, Vikings had access to fresh water, soap, and plants like yarrow or birch that could be used for cleansing.

It’s safe to say that while managing periods may have been challenging in the harsh and remote environment in which Vikings found themselves, they made an effort to maintain good menstrual hygiene that kept themselves and those around them healthy.


The Vikings developed many ways of dealing with periods, whether it was using cloth pads, tampons, or building menstrual huts outside the village. Although cultural superstitions may have contributed to some negative beliefs about menstruation, it’s clear that women were respected and given privacy during this time of the month. It’s fascinating to see how these ancient practices differ from today but also share many similarities, showing how women have managed their periods across time and cultures.

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