All you need to know about your first period.
What is the normal age to start having periods?
The average age for periods to begin is 12, but it can range from 8 to 17 as well. However, the NHS does recommend that you should see a doctor if your period has not begun by the time you are 16. If you haven’t seen any other changes in your body by 14, it is recommended to see a doctor at that age.
There is no way to predict exactly what day or time when a period may begin, so it is important to be educated from a young age. Periods may seem scary at first, but they are a natural part of life. You may wake up one day and have started to bleed a little while you’re asleep or it may happen while you are awake. You may want to carry some pads or tampons with you in your backpack to be prepared while you are at school.
How will I know when my periods are going to start?
There is no way to predict exactly when a period may begin, but there are some signs that you are developing. Growing underarm or pubic hair, developing breasts or a whitish vaginal discharge are all signs that you may be about to start your period. Discharge is very normal, but is important to pay attention to it. If it is a color other than white/clear or pale yellow, you should ask your parents or guardians to take you to a doctor. You may also feel some cramping pains in your stomach, sides or back as you get closer to starting your period.
It is impossible to know the exact day or time when your period will start, so you may want to be prepared and carry some pads or tampons with you in your purse or backpack so you feel prepared.
Will my periods be regular from the outset?
No, they may not be regular for a few months. You might have one period, and then not have another few a few months! Or you may have have light spotting (small drops of blood) on a few days and then a heavier flow. For a few days. It will take your body some time to adjust to the menstrual cycle.
Generally, the cycle lasts for 28 days, so you will have one period each month. Your period can start on any day of the week or month, and last between 3 to 7 days. You may also notice some light spotting within the first three days before your period properly begins. This is perfectly normal. If you experience spotting for longer than that, or find that you are bleeding for longer than 7 days, it is recommended that you see a doctor. That doesn’t mean anything is wrong, it just means that you should let your doctor know what is happening with your body and they can give you further advice. Some girls fall into a regular pattern quickly while others always tend to fluctuate, in the end it’s down to each individuals body, everyone is different and that is normal.
How much blood will you lose?
You will lose about 2 to 3 tablespoons of blood on average during each period. It may seem like a lot at first because you aren’t used to having a period. It will not all come at once, either. You may have some light spotting for a few days, and a heavier flow for a few days. You have wake up and have bleed quite a bit while you were asleep. If you change position while you are laying down, like rolling onto your stomach or back, that may cause a small gush of blood to leak out.
How long will my periods last ?
Your period may last between 3 to 7 days. The whole menstrual cycle lasts about 28 days, so you will have one period per month. Your period can start on any day of the week or month, and it can happen while you’re asleep or awake. You may notice some spotting (small drops of blood) happening within the three days before your actual period begins. Spotting is perfectly normal, but if you are bleeding for longer than you think you should be, you should see a doctor.
You will lose about 2 to 3 tablespoons of blood on average during each period. It may seem like a lot at first, but it will not all come at once. You may have spotting for a few days, and then a heavier flow for a few days. Or you have have a heavier flow for a few days, a day or two of spotting, and then another day of a heavy flow.
Why do girls/women have periods?
The menstrual cycle, of which the period is only one part, occurs so that one day you might be able to be pregnant and give birth to a baby.
What sort of menstrual product should I use?
There are so many options now that it can be overwhelming to choose which menstrual / period product is right for you. You may even need to experiment to determine which product is best for you. There are main categories of products.
- Internal Disposable — tampons
- External Disposable — pads
- Internal Reusable — menstrual cup
- External Reusable — period underwear or reusable pads
What if period blood leaks through my clothes?
This can happen to many women. If it happens while you are asleep, then you will notice as soon as you wake up. Take any article of clothing or bedding that have blood in them rinse the blood out under cold water. You can then apply a stain remover detergent, or some hydrogen peroxide to the stain and let it soak in for 20–30 minutes before rinsing again and putting it in the washer. If you are using any chemicals, it is important to do so carefully and perhaps with a parent.
If it happens while you are away from home, go to the toilets. You may be able to dab some of the blood out onto some toilet tissue. Depending on the size of the stain, you may not feel comfortable walking around with it showing. In which case, you may want to go home, or go to a shop to buy a replacement article of clothing. If you have a jumper or a jacket, you can also tie it around your waist. But, if you wear period under, like WUKA, you won’t have to worry about leaks coming through the underwear. We have a leak-proof layer that will stop any blood from getting on your clothing.
How do I get ready for my first period?
You are already taking the first step just by reading this! Take the time to learn about what a period is, how much blood you may lose, and what age you may begin your period. It is important to learn about the different menstrual product options you have. You may need to to try a few to learn which one is best for you.