Menstruation aka Periods happens when a girl’s body reaches puberty and her body becomes capable of getting pregnant.
When your menstrual cycle begins, the hormone estrogen increases. This causes the lining of your uterus to thicken. The uterine lining thickens so it can support a fertilised egg and develop into a pregnancy.
If there isn’t a fertilised egg, your body will break the lining down and push it out of your uterus. This results in bleeding which is your menstrual period.
When Will My Period Start?
Most girls start their periods between the ages of 12 and 13. However, it is normal to start your period a little earlier or later depending on how fast your body develops.
Don’t worry if your friends have started theirs and yours has not begun. Your body knows what it is doing, your periods will start.
Will I Know When I Start?
Some girls start their periods without any warning, where others have recognisable symptoms. This is common and is called premenstrual syndrome (PMS) which usually occurs in the days leading up to your bleed.
What Are The Symptoms?
- abdominal bloating
- soreness in your breasts
- back pain
- feeling more tired than usual (fatigue)
- feeling extra emotional or irritable
- food cravings, especially for sweets
- clear or white vaginal discharge
How Can I Prepare Before They Start?
Bloody Marvellous has created a “Perfect Period Kit” which gives young girls and boys the opportunity to test and try all the current feminine hygiene pads, tampons and liners which are suitable for your first periods. This kit lets you open, handle, fit and test absorbency of each product to find the one that suits you the best. This way you are confident with the products and understand how they work and how much blood they can hold. It includes the bestselling book “What Is Happening To Me?”, which can be read with your parents or on your own.
You could also fill a small cosmetic bag with your favourite pads, tampons or liners so you are confident and prepared when your period begins.
This could include a clean pair of underwear, your favourite pads or tampons, liners, wipes and a period bag to dispose of your used products.
What If My Period Starts And I Am Not Ready?
If you start your period and do not have something with you don’t panic!
To start with the blood does not come “gushing out” of your vagina so you can easily make a little pad to use out of toilet paper to stay dry until you get a pad or tampon.
Take a long section (at least 10 squares) of toilet paper and fold the layers over each other.
Place this where a pad would go — along the panel of fabric between your legs (called the gusset) that’s in the middle section of your underwear.
Take another length of toilet paper and wrap it around the “pad” and your underwear a few times. This will help hold the tissue in place.
Tuck the end of the tissue into the top of the finished wrap. You now have a makeshift pad.
If you’re at school, you could ask your teacher or the nurse who will have some pads and tampons ready for exactly this reason.
Article by Rachel Nall at healthline.com
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