Period questions are normal. You’re not alone in asking them. All women have different menstrual cycles. Whether it’s your first period and you’re nervous or you want to learn more about the changes in your body. Just remember you’ve got this.
What is Menstruation?
Menstruation or periods are a part of growing up for every girl. Menstruation is a part of the physical development of a girl as she passes from childhood to being an adult. During every reproductive cycle, blood is shed from the reproductive organ (uterus) and flows out through the vagina. So when a girl has her period, her body is just getting rid of a small amount of blood and some unneeded tissue. It is a natural, normal body process for all girls as they become women and mature physically.
When does the period start?
Shortly after the beginning of puberty in girls, and usually, about 2 years after the development of breasts, menstruation starts. While menstruation usually begins between ages 12 and 13, it may happen at a younger or older age. Every girl’s body has its own schedule. There isn’t one right age for a girl to get her period. But there are some clues that it will start soon:
- Most of the time, a girl gets her period about 2 years after her breasts start to develop.
- Another sign is vaginal discharge fluid (sort of like mucus) that a girl might see or feel on her underwear. This discharge usually begins about 6 months to a year before a girl gets her first period.
How long do periods last?
The time between the first day of one period and the day before the start of the next is called a menstrual cycle. However, it can vary greatly when a girl first starts her period. It may skip months or come several times per month in the beginning. The first day of the menstrual cycle starts with your period, the release of blood from the vagina, which can last from 2 to 10 days.
Will every day of my period be the same?
Most girls find that the first two or three days of their period are the heaviest and then during the last few days it gets lighter. Some girls use a higher absorbency pad or tampon during their heavier days and move to a lighter absorbency product in the last few days.
Does having your period hurt?
Menstruation itself doesn’t hurt, but some girls and women get cramps or other symptoms during their periods that may be uncomfortable. This is typically due to the hormones your body releases during menstruation that cause the uterus to contract so it can shed its lining. Some amount of discomfort like pain in the abdomen, backache, headaches are common, if it becomes severe it can be controlled by using heating pads, resting, drinking lots of fluids and pain medicines if needed.
What if your periods start at school or somewhere else?
Keep a pad and a clean pair of underwear in your backpack or purse, so you are always prepared. If you are at school, take help from your teachers or school nurses. If you’re out somewhere else, give a call to your mother, elder sister or aunt.
What is PMS?
PMS (premenstrual syndrome) is when a girl has emotional and physical symptoms that happen before or during her period. These symptoms can include moodiness, sadness, anxiety, breast tenderness, bloating, and acne. The symptoms go away after the first few days of a period.
What care should you take during your periods?
Appropriate hygiene during menstruation is vital in order to prevent infections as well as for general well being. Unclean pads or sanitary material can lead to infections locally as well as cause urinary and uterine infections. Furthermore, infrequent changing of pads can lead to skin irritation, which can get infected and hurt. Sanitary pads should be changed every two to six hours or even more frequently if you have a heavier flow. Always free to speak to your mother or any woman in your family, or your female teachers if you face problems related to menstruation.
Understanding how the process works and taking general measures during menstruation are extremely important. Any concern in your cycle should be consulted with a doctor. Here are some basic hygiene measures every girl and woman should take during menstruation:
- Take a shower or bath at least once a day.
- Change pads or tampons regularly to prevent infections – it is advisable to change a sanitary pad once every six hours and a tampon, every two hours.
- Opt for good sanitary pads – women with sensitive skin should avoid sanitary pads with plastic linings, as they can cause rashes, itchiness, and boils when rubbing against the skin.
- Use clean underwear and change it every day.
- Always keep your vaginal area dry after every wash, or else it might cause irritation. Also, keep the area between the legs dry.
- Make sure that you wash your hands with warm water and soap after changing your pad/tampon/menstrual cup.
- Never flush a used sanitary pad and tampons down the toilet as they can clog plumbing and cause the toilet to overflow. Discard them properly and throw them in the dustbin to prevent the spread of infections.
- Wear comfortable, loose clothing, rather than jeans or tight-fitting clothes during periods. This will ensure airflow around the sensitive areas as well as prevent sweating to a large extent.
Aster Clinic, Discovery Garden