About Your Menstrual Period
Menstruation, or a womans period, is a period of bleeding that happens every month:
- The average age for girls to begin their periods is 12 years old, but some will begin menstruating earlier or later.
- Periods vary in length for every girl and can be anywhere from three to eight days.
- You may experience long cycles in the first few years of menstruation, but they tend to shorten and become more regular as you age .
Menstruating, commonly referred to as having a period, means that your body is preparing for pregnancy. This includes ovulating and preparing the uterine lining for a pregnancy. The uterus is the area of the body where a baby grows during pregnancy.
The period of bleeding you experience is the uterus shedding its lining so that it can prepare a new one each month. The red discharge during your period is the uterine tissue and blood flowing through the cervix and out of the vagina.
Kat A Former Clue Intern Shared Her Personal Experience Of Waiting To Get Her First Period Below
“Periods can be frustrating, messy and sometimes downright painful. Nevertheless, I couldnât wait to get mine. When I was nine, my mom taught me about periods, but stressed that I shouldnât expect mine to start any time soon since she had gotten hers later than average. Still, I was determined that that wouldnât be the case for me.
When I was 10, I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, looked down, and finally, a little spot of blood! The wait was over! I was a grownup now, ready to tackle anything! I rushed down the hall to tell my mom who gave me a pad with an unconvinced look on her face. That night I was almost too excited to sleep, knowing what I could tell all my friends in the morning. You can imagine my despair when there was not a hint of red to be seen, only a small cut on my upper thigh. False alarm.
Throughout elementary and middle school I had to sit through various puberty talks and was given countless handfuls of pads and tampons from sex ed teachers âjust in case.â I had to watch all of my friends come into school ready to spill the details of where they were and how they felt now that they were âa real woman.â I wasnât as physically mature as they were but I felt absolutely sure that this milestone would make me fit in again. Days, months and years passed. I watched everyone develop, claim that they had âsynced up,â and relate to each otherâs symptoms. I felt excluded.
Recognizing Signs Of Puberty
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Be Clear And Straightforward
Girls typically start puberty between ages 8 and 13, though it can happen earlier or later. While thereâs no way to pinpoint exactly when itâll happen, this milestone usually happens 6 months after a girlâs fastest growth spurt.
A good way to bring up the topic is to simply to ask your child if theyâve noticed any changes with their body that theyâd like to discuss, says Melissa Dundas, MD, an adolescent medicine doctor at Hassenfeld Childrenâs Hospital at NYU Langone. âThis allows the child to invite parents into that safe space to facilitate a conversation.â
Whether your child asks questions or not, you should consider that they might be stressed, scared, or confused about whatâs going to happen â and that good information can help a lot.
Start with the basics. You should explain that some bloody fluid will trickle out of the vagina slowly over the course of 3 to 7 days, and that sheâll use pads or tampons to collect it so it doesnât get on her clothes.
You should also explain that some women get premenstrual symptoms like bloating, cramping, headaches, and breast tenderness. These arenât very common when a girl gets her first few periods, but they are possible, so she shouldnât be totally caught off-guard.
Why Did I Get My Period Twice In One Month
These are some reasons your period started early or occurred twice in a month:
- You have a short menstrual cycle
- You had very stressful weeks or months
- Youve taken emergency contraception
- You have vaginal infections
- You forgot your last period date
- Your birth control pill was not taken properly
- You just started a birth control pill
- You have polycystic ovaries
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Cervical Polyps Or Cancer
Cervical polyps are growth that hangs into your cervix. This can cause bleeding in women during intercourse and may be confused with period. Also, women with cancer of the cervix can have vaginal bleeding.
If you are more than 40 years and notice irregular bleeding, then it may not be period. Inform your doctor ASAP as it may be due to endometrial cancer.
Common Questions About A Girl’s First Periods
When you start getting your period, you’re likely to have an endless stream of questions about everything from the amount of flow to the best types of protection .
Here are basic answers to some of the most common questions about menstruation during the early years. Keep in mind that it never hurts to talk to a parent, caregiver, family friend, or a doctor about anything regarding your period that concerns you.
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What Should I Expect From My First Period Postpartum
Whether you delivered your baby vaginally or by cesarean delivery, you can expect some bleeding and vaginal discharge after giving birth. Your body continues to shed the blood and tissue that lined your uterus while you were pregnant.
In the first few weeks, blood might be heavier and appear in clots. As the weeks go by, this blood gives way to vaginal discharge known as lochia. Lochia is bodily fluid that can appear clear to creamy white to red in color.
This discharge can continue for about six weeks, which is about the time your period may return if you arent breastfeeding. If your discharge had the appearance of lochia, stopped for some time, and then you experienced a return of bleeding, this is likely your period. If you arent sure if the bleeding youre experiencing is pregnancy-related or your period, there are a few ways to tell:
- Lochia isnt usually bright red in color beyond the first week postpartum. Its usually lighter and can be watery or white in appearance. Bright red bleeding that occurs six or more weeks after delivery is more likely to be your period.
- Pregnancy-related bleeding can increase with increased exertion or activity. If your discharge increases with exertion and decreases when you rest, its more likely to be lochia.
- Lochia also tends to have a distinct odor. Lochia may have a sweet smell to it, since its mixed with leftover tissue from the pregnancy. Report any foul order to your doctor.
Are There Any Other Period Signs
Besides tracking the timing of your cycle, some people also know a period is near when they develop certain symptoms that are caused by the menstrual cycle hormones. The most common symptoms reported before a period include bloating, moodiness, food cravings, breast tenderness, headaches, orâ¯menstrual cramps. Within a day or two after the period begins, these symptoms disappear naturally. If you experience some or all of these signs before most of your periods, you may have a condition calledâ¯premenstrual syndrome or PMS.
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What Postpartum Symptoms Should I Watch Out For
Its important that you call a doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- soaking through more than one pad every hour
- bleeding thats accompanied by sudden and severe pain
Contact your doctor if you experience these symptoms or anything else that concerns you related to your period. Some of these symptoms may indicate an infection.
How Long Should I Wear A Menstrual Pad
Menstrual pads should be worn anywhere between 3-7 hours. You may need to change more regularly to match your menstrual flow.
Super, Long and Night time pads are for when the blood loss is heavier at the beginning and at night. Others such as Regular pads or panty liners are for lighter flows at the end of your period. It is good to change regularly to help feel and keep clean.
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What Is A Period
Basically, your period happens when your ovaries release an egg that doesnt get fertilized . Once you start menstruating, you release an egg each month. When that egg doesnt become fertilized, it dissolves into the lining of your uterus. The lining then sheds. Thats what the blood is that comes from your vagina when you have your period.
Diagnosing Early Pregnancy And Periods
You may have an easier time determining which symptoms youâre having if you start by tracking your symptoms on a calendar each month. This will help you determine how youâre feeling and notice any patterns you may have including PMS.
Your doctor will ask you several questions to rule out possible problems. They may want to know about your eating habits, exercise habits, work, and family history.
Keeping track of your symptoms will also help you know if youâve missed a period.
Only a licensed healthcare professional can diagnose pregnancy. If your doctor suspects you may be pregnant, they will order a blood test and ultrasound scan to confirm.
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Will Your First Postpartum Period Be Heavy
In short, theres no typical pattern for the first period after having a baby. Some women may have heavy, painful periods. Others may enjoy light, easy periods. Many women are surprised to find that their first period after baby has more blood clots in it. You can use tampons once it’s been four to six weeks since you gave birth and with your doctor’s okay.
Your postpartum flow may depend on your choice of birth control. If youre not breastfeeding and decide to go back on the pill after giving birth, you may have a lighter period.
What Causes Cramps 3 4 5 6 Days Before Period
If you have cramps before period, then there is nothing to worry about. Pelvic pain before period is common and may not mean any problem if it occurs 3 to 6 days before your period.
Do you have severe pain before period?
Do you use pain killers to relieve your pains?
If you have cramps before period, it may occur some 2-3 days before period and last until 48 hours after your period starts.
Cramps before period due to pregnancy is mild and short lasting.
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Your Period Causes Days Of Pain So Bad Its Hard To Leave Your Bed
Unbearable pain also falls into the category of menstrual cycle problems that absolutely warrant a chat with your medical provider. Dr. Streichers rule of thumb is that if youre experiencing even an iota of period pain beyond what youre fine with, its too much.
The first step in dealing with period pain is typically to take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, since they block hormone-like chemicals known as prostaglandins that cause uterine cramping. If that knocks out your cramps, awesome. If youre still curled up in the fetal position after a few hours, thats a sign that talking to a doctor makes sense for you, Dr. Streicher says. Youre likely dealing with severe dysmenorrhea , and doctors can help. Dysmenorrhea is the most commonly reported period problem, with more than half of women who get their periods experiencing it for one to two days each month, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists . There are two types of dysmenorrhea: primary dysmenorrhea and secondary dysmenorrhea. Primary dysmenorrhea is pain thats due to natural pain-causing chemicals associated with your period. Secondary dysmenorrhea is the result of a disorder in the reproductive system.
Am I Old Enough For Tampons
If you are having your menstrual period, your body is mature enough for using tampons. While many girls get their first periods between age 12 and 14, you may have your first period at a younger or older age. Whether to use tampons or not is a personal decision, there is no age restriction. You will need to learn how to insert a tampon, which can be tricky when you are new to using one.
You must be sure to change it every four to six hours to lessen the risk of toxic shock syndrome. Use the lowest absorbency available and start with those that have a smooth plastic applicator with a rounded tip . You may want to also use a pantyliner in case there is a leak. If you’re active or want to be able to swim during your period, then tampons may be a good choice. You can also consider different kinds of underwear for that time of the month.
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What If My Child Is Nonbinary Or Transgender
If your child is going through puberty and is biologically female, then theyâre on track to start menstruating. Although some nonbinary and transgender kids might take it in stride, many find the disconnect between their identity and whatâs happening to their body to be distressing.
Your best move is to ask your child how they feel about the fact that periods are on the horizon, Dundas says. âOnce that has been established, the goal should be to support them however they would like to manage their periods.â
Some might prefer pads because they donât need to touch their genitals. Others might opt for tampons because they arenât as visible. Or they might like menstrual cups, because they donât have to be changed as frequently.
If your child is having gender dysphoria, meaning they are severely distressed by the conflict between their gender and the sex they were assigned at birth, be sure to discuss that with their doctor and a mental health care provider. On the physical side, pubertal blockers might be worth exploring. There are pros and cons to this treatment, so discuss it thoroughly with your childâs doctor and mental health provider.
Cleveland Clinic: âTime to Have the Tampon Talk With Your Daughter? 5 Tips for Teaching Her How to Use One.â
Mayo Clinic: âPubertal Blockers for Transgender and Gender-Diverse Youth.â
Melissa Dundas, MD, adolescent medicine doctor, Hassenfeld Childrenâs Hospital at NYU Langone.
How Long After Pubic Hair Grows Is The First Period
Remember, everyones body is different and has a completely separate timeline from everyone else. That being said, the timing between growing pubic hair and your first period is usually pretty close together. Pubic hair arrives shortly after the breasts begin to develop. The first period may pop up a year or two after that stage.
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What Exactly Is A Period
Thereâs a lot to understand about the menstrual cycle and periods, but basically, a period is something that begins to happen a couple of years after puberty begins. When someone has a period, it means they have bloody fluid that is released from the uterus and trickles out of the vagina. Most periods last 3-7 days, then about every month, it happens all over again. Itâs called the menstrual cycle because it is a cycle that repeats itself over and over. It may sound weird, but itâs totally normal, it happens to half of the worldâs population, and itâs actually a sign of good health.
Is It Normal For A Tween Or Teen To Have A Light Period
An extremely light period after several menstrual cycles could be normal for your kid, as every single body is unique. However, it could also be a sign of a health problem. Athletes who consistently train hard or underweight people might have a period that completely stops, which could cause problems down the road. If your tween or teen has excessive acne or facial hair, it could signal a common hormonal disorder called polycystic ovary syndrome . Bottom line: If your child alerts you to the fact that their periods have recently changed to become very light or have diminished altogether, its a good idea to schedule an OB-GYN visit.
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