Your period is the part of your monthly cycle when you bleed. It’s just one part of your monthly cycle and happens every 3-4 weeks. Your monthly cycle has 4 stages:
Your cycle starts each month when your womb creates a fresh layer of blood-rich membrane known as the endometrial lining. This is your body preparing for pregnancy.
The next stage is ovulation, when an egg is released from one of your ovaries and travels to your womb.
If the egg meets a sperm cell on its way to your womb and fertilization takes place, you can become pregnant. If it doesn’t, your body will remove the unused blood-rich membrane lining your womb. This is your period.
Your period starts and you bleed for 3-7 days. This is repeated every month unless you fall pregnant.
Everybody is different, but periods start any time from the age of 10 and about 50% of girls will have started their period by the age of 12. Every girl is different and you might start your period earlier than other girls or be the last one of your friends to start. It’s not a competition though and your body will start when it’s ready to.
Most girls and women find that periods last for about 5-7 days. When you first start your periods though, it can all be a bit unpredictable and you might find you only bleed for a couple of days. After a couple of years though, your body will settle into a pattern that is unique to you and you’ll get to know how many days of bleeding to expect.
It may seem like you bleed a lot during your period, but most girls normally lose between 4 and 12 teaspoons of blood during an average period. Change your pad at least every 4 hours, but at the start of your period, you may bleed more heavily and need to change it every 2-3 hours.
Discharge is perfectly normal and is your body’s way of keeping your vagina clean and healthy. It tends to change in both colour and appearance during the month and normal discharge ranges in colour from colourless or milky white to yellow and has no smell. If you think your discharge looks different from normal or starts to smell unpleasant, talk to a nurse, pharmacist or doctor just to check everything is ok and you don’t have an infection.
A warm bath and a hot water bottle are great for easing period pain, while staying active and eating healthily can help with that bloated feeling many girls get. You can also ask your pharmacist to suggest painkillers if your period pain is affecting your schoolwork or ability to enjoy spending time with your friends.
It’s normal for girls to wonder about their breasts and the size of them. Whether you think yours are too big or too small and will never grow. The thing you must remember is that every woman is different in the shape and size of their breasts. It is also normal for one breast to be bigger than the other, especially when they first start growing. When they first start growing they may feel a little achy or itchy. When you have your period your breasts may feel a little sensitive or sore, this is normal. Let your doctor know if you find a lump or have a pain you really are not sure about.
Because your body is going through a big change you might feel a little uncomfortable and shyer about it. You might also feel more moody. This is completely normal; all girls go through this. Each young woman grows and changes at her own pace. Remember you are beautiful and everything will happen in due time.
How you feel during your period depends on a lot of things. Some girls find they hardly notice it at all, while other girls have a lot of period pain such as cramps and generally feel a bit tired, bloated and more emotional. Your hormones, how much exercise you do and how healthy your diet is can all affect how you feel. There’s not much you can do about your hormones, but healthy eating and exercise can help you feel better no matter where you are in your monthly cycle.
If you’re worried about any smell, changing your pad often and keeping up good hygiene especially when you have your period will help with this. You should check to see if your pad needs to be changed every few hours and don’t wait until it is soaked with blood.