A period happens when an egg isn't fertilised and therefore cannot embed itself into the lining of the womb. Because of this the lining womb is shed and this is where the blood comes from. This is a monthly process that is just the body's way of getting rid of a small amount of blood and some unneeded tissue.
So you may have started your period already and would just like some questions answered or you haven't started your period yet and you don't know what to expect. Either way, you have no reason to be worried. Your period is a natural part of growing up.
Your period is just blood passing out of your womb as part of a natural process to prepare your body for pregnancy. Now that your body is changing you can get pregnant, so it is important that you make sure you are fully aware of all forms of contraception that you can use, if you are or thinking about becoming sexually active.
Your first period will usually happen between the ages of ages 12- 14, but it can also start earlier or later. Your period will happen once a month and will usually last between 2-7 days. However, it may take a few months after you first period for them to become regular and predictable. I recommend using a period tracker app called Clue. It allows you to track your cycle and predict when you will have your next period. Some periods are heavier than others so it is important to monitor your blood flow so you can pick the right sanitary products for you.
Signs of period
Around the time of your first period, your body shape will begin to change; your hips and breasts will get bigger, you may also notice more hair growing in new places, under your arms and around your vagina. These are all normal changes and part of growing up, so there is no need to be worried. You may also experience cramps, back-pain or headaches in the days leading up to your period. Some people even experience cravings.
My period just started, what should I do?
Don’t panic! If you are at home then tell a parent or older sister, They will be able to provide you with sanitary products and reassure you as they have been through it themselves. If it happens in school then I recommend asking a friend for a sanitary product such as a pad or asking the teacher if
you can leave the lesson to find the school nurse or head of year as they usually have sanitary products for this particular situation.
How long will my period last?
Periods usually last between 2 – 7 days but all girls are different so it is important to monitor your cycle. If your period often lasts longer than 7 days, then I recommend talking to a parent or a Doctor.
How much blood will I lose?
You will only usually loose around 3 tablespoons of blood from one period even though it may look/feel like a lot more.
Which product should I use?
It is completely up to you. There is a range of different products available to you so take you time to find out which one is right for you.
Sanitary Pads/towels are worn inside your underwear, and they absorb your menstrual flow as it leaves your body. If you choose to use this product you should change your pad every 4-6 hours and dispose of in the rubbish bin.
Tampons are made from a cotton material and are carefully inserted into your vagina where they absorb your menstrual blood. They must be removed and changed every 4-8 hours.
Menstrual cups are not as well known as the other two products but can be equally as useful if used correctly. Menstrual cups are small cups that are inserted into your vagina, like tampons. They collect your flow and can be worn for up to 12 hours. They are are washable and reusable – so they are good for the environment too!
Can I go swimming or play sports?
If you use either tampons or menstrual cups then you can go swimming and play sports as they collect the blood whilst not letting it outside your body.
How do I stay clean during my period?
Never use any chemical wash for your vagina as it gets rid of the good bacteria and result in bacterial infections. You should only ever use water to wash your vagina and you should always wash your hands before and after changing/using you sanitary products.