A period is a pretty long and painful thing, both while writing and experiencing it.
Starting your period — or menstruation — is a major part of puberty and means your body (in layman terms) can now make a baby. On a side note, it also means lots of other changes are going on throughout the month (Smirks).
Some girls find getting their periods very exciting (Yes such people exist), and others feel uncomfortable about it. It definitely can take a little getting used to! But lots of women come to see their periods as a wonderful sign that their bodies are healthy and working the way they’re supposed to (And also for other ingenious reasons their boyfriends also feel happy when their girl gets her period).
What is your period?
What comes out during your period is the blood and tissue that build up as the lining of your uterus each month.
Your period flow can be light, heavy, or in between. Sometimes menstrual blood also will be different shades of red, from light to dark. You may see some dark clumps or clots of blood, which is normal.
Your period may be heavy the first day or so each time and then decrease on later days.
Periods usually last between three and five days. It is normal to have periods that are shorter or longer, up to seven days. It is also normal if your periods are not the same number of days each month, especially in the first years.
At what age do you get your first period?
Usually, girls get their periods between ages 12 and 14, but it can happen years before or after that. Don’t worry if you get your period later or earlier than your friends get theirs — that happens a lot. If you haven’t gotten your period by age 15 (or within three years of when your breasts started to grow), talk to your parents or guardians, your doctor, or another adult you trust.
What causes your period?
Natural body chemicals, or hormones, cause your ovaries to release one egg about once a month. Most months, the egg and the lining of your uterus come out of your vagina as your period. This is part of your menstrual cycle. This cycle is what makes it possible for a woman to have a baby.
Does your period come each month?
Menstrual cycles take place over about one month (around 21 to 34 days), but each woman’s cycle is different. Many women have a cycle that lasts 28 days. Some women may have cycles as long as 45 days.
Taking Care of Periods
What you should know about pads
- Pads stick to the inside of your underwear and soak up the blood that comes out through the vagina. A sticky strip holds them in place on your underwear.
- Some pads are thinner for days when your period is light, and some are thicker for when you are bleeding more. You can also use these thicker pads at night when you sleep.
- Check your pad every couple of hours during the day to see if it needs changing. You should change it before it is soaked with blood or starts to smell.
- No one can see that you are wearing a pad, so don’t worry about that.
What you should know about tampons
- A tampon goes inside your vagina to soak up blood before it leaves your body. Instructions come with tampons to show you how to put them in. Using tampons sometimes takes practice.
- Some tampons have a plastic or cardboard covering that makes it easier for you to put the tampon in. This is called the applicator. Do not leave the applicator inside your vagina.
- All tampons have a string at the end. This string helps you take the tampon out when it needs to be changed.
- You need to change your tampon at least every four to eight hours. If you think you might sleep for more than eight hours, it’s a good idea not to use a tampon overnight.
- Tampons will not get lost in your vagina or “slip up.”
Other ways to care for your period
You may not know about alternative period products that are natural or reusable. Some girls choose items such as menstrual cups or reusable pads because they feel they are better for their bodies and for the environment.
- Menstrual cups. You put a small cup into your vagina to collect blood. Some cups are for one-time use. Others are emptied, washed well, and reused.
- Reusable pads. These are pads that are washed and reused. Usually, you would put a cloth pad into a liner that attaches to your underwear. You change the pad as needed and wash it according to the maker’s instructions. These pads are more expensive than disposable ones, but they save money over time because they last for years.
Gradually my whole concept of time changed until I thought of a month as having twenty-five days of humanness and five others when I might just as well have been an animal in a steel trap ~ Florence King