Straightforward Answers To Your Tough Period Questions
A Guide for First Timers
When can I expect to get my period?
You can get your period, on average, when you are 12 or 13 years old. But everyone is different and every body is different. Some start their periods in elementary school and for some, it doesn’t happen until high school. Regardless of when it happens, it’s important to note that your first period is a signal that your body is ready and able to carry a baby (even if you aren’t!). Experts tell us pregnancies can happen even before that first period starts. So it is important to ask the questions you have. There is no reason to be embarrassed to ask a parent, school nurse, or trusted adult for information. And THIS is a great place to start for basic answers.
How much blood will I lose during my period?
You lose less than two tablespoons of blood during your period. (Go put two tablespoons of water in a cup and see how much that is!) It’s really not a lot, but it can seem like more because of other fluids that combine with it.
For more info, check THIS out.
How do I know what products I should use to deal with my period?
There are many things to consider when choosing the right products to use, including physical and emotional maturity. Also, some families or cultures have strong beliefs about what is acceptable and when. Any age or size person can wear a pad, and they come in many absorbencies for different times of day and places in your cycle. Tampons may seem a little more intimidating because they are inserted into the vagina, but they are a safe option. They have a lot of benefits, especially for those who are more active, especially swimmers. You also may want to consider a menstrual cup, which, like a tampon, is inserted into the vagina. An additional consideration with a cup is the need for a clean water source to rinse it out, which can make some school bathrooms a bit challenging. We recommend talking to a parent or trusted adult if you have any questions. And don’t forget ALL menstruators have to make these choices at some point, so you are not alone.
Oh, one more thing. It is very important to dispose of these products properly. Never flush any of them down any toilet. And because they contain blood and other bodily fluids, you must wrap each used product well before throwing it in the trash. You can use a product wrapper to get you started, but then add an extra layer of toilet paper or tissue. Some bathrooms provide little sanitary bags that can be sealed and tossed in the trash.
OK, But there are a zillion different kinds of tampons and pads. How can I make a trip to the store less confusing?
It is confusing, at first. But you’ll see, you will find what works for you. Take a peek into the PERIOD PRODUCT GALLERY. (This is like standing in the product aisle at the store and trying to figure it all out… but in the comfort of your own home!)
What happens if I have an accident with my period?
First, it’s important to realize that it’s hard to ignore the sensation when you have your period and aren’t using a product. You’re not likely to ignore feeling wet for very long. Dr. Cara Natterson, M.D., author of The Care and Keeping of You says, “A girl can have a little pouch in her backpack with a clean pair of underwear and a couple of extra pads and even a pair of shorts or leggings as an emergency kit. Girls should be given permission to never have to worry about how they’re going to manage their periods.” For more info, check THIS out.
I got my period two months ago, but haven’t gotten it since. Aren’t girls supposed to get their periods on a regular, monthly cycle?
Wouldn’t that make things so much easier? If only we all could get our periods at exactly the time on the calendar we expect them! Alas, the body, in all its amazingness, is not exactly a programmed machine. While it’s common to talk about a 28-day cycle, that is an average, and as you know, we are all different. Some people get periods more often, or less often, and it’s not uncommon for some to skip a period occasionally. Once you figure out what a regular schedule is for you, it will be easier to manage your period. And if you have any concern at all that what you’re experiencing is just not right, you should not hesitate to talk to a parent or doctor. If you want to learn more about the menstrual cycle and how it differs for each person, take a look at THIS.
I would like to try using a tampon but I’ve heard they will cause me to not be considered a virgin. Is that true?
Any girl who has her period can use a tampon. It may be a little difficult at first, so choosing a “slender” variety will help, especially one with a rounded tip applicator. Tampons are not what causes someone to lose her virginity. Only having sex can do that. Click HERE if you’d like a bit more information.
Even with all this information, I’m nervous. WHY ME?
So much is going on with your body. This may include acne, body odor, hair growth, and emotions that seem out of control. It’s a lot! It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that EVERY girl goes through this. It happens to each of us at different times, and our experiences are varied, but you are not alone. Take a look around at all the awesome, successful, powerful girls and women in the world. Each and every one of them will get or has gotten a period. Being a girl can be stressful at times, but you are already amazing. If you find you need a little encouragement or want to ask some tough questions, reach out to someone you trust: a teacher, school nurse, parent, or maybe a friend’s parent. The more you know, the less scared you will be.