We have answers for girls and ideas for mothers. Don’t be afraid of talking about periods, sharing information and advice is the best way to understand your period and have a happy month!
Girls’ period: what you need to know
Have you just started your period? Or want to know what to expect? Your period is a natural part of growing up, it is nothing to worry about – it is an important part of being a girl.
The first menstrual period, also called menarche, begins at different times for young girls. While no one can precisely predict the exact timing of a first period, there are some biological signs that may indicate when it will likely occur. During the period itself, a girl may experience symptoms such as cramps or emotional reactions in addition to the obvious release of blood from her uterus.
Signs of periods
Around the time of your first period, your body shape will become curvier, your hips and breasts will get bigger. You will also notice more hair growing in new places, under your arms and around your vagina. These are all normal changes and part of growing up.
1.Developing breast “buds”: It can take three to four years for your breasts to then fully develop, but you can expect your period about two years after your breasts start developing.
2.Growing pubic hair: Just after your breasts start to form, you’ll probably start growing pubic hair. It will be soft and thin at first, but it’ll get coarser over time. Your period usually arrives around one to two years after.
3.Discharge: Vaginal discharge (white or yellowish fluid) is usually a sure sign that your first period is on its way. You may want to start using ALWAYS pantiliners to protect your underwear. Your period should start in the next few months! You will find out more information about vaginal discharge in our article Vaginal discharge: Icky but Amazing.
In addition to these body changes, you can also ask your mom when she started her period. It’s likely that you’ll get your first period within a year or so of when she got hers. Plus, it’s a good time to have a conversation with your mom about all the changes you’re experiencing. She can also help you find the right products.
How do I manage my period?
Pads and tampons can be used to absorb period blood. Both pads and tampons can be bought at the pharmacy or supermarket and come with instructions. It is important to remember to never flush pads or tampons down the toilet; wrap them in toilet paper and put them in the bin.
Once you have your period, it’s a good idea to keep some pads or tampons ready at home and in your school bag or locker. On Day 1, you might only notice a slight brownish stain on your underwear, but some girls start with more, so it is easier to manage if you’re prepared.
These are cotton pads that are worn outside the body and line underpants. As blood comes in contact with air, an unpleasant odour may develop. Daily showers, clean underwear and changing the pad frequently solve this problem.
If your first period starts while you are out and about, and you are not prepared, then you can temporarily make a pad from tissues or toilet paper and put this in your underwear. If you are at school when your first period comes, your teachers and school nurses will be able to help you. They are used to these things happening, so don’t be afraid to ask them even if you are not prepared.
Tampons are made of tightly packed absorbent material (usually cotton) that absorbs the blood flow in the vagina. They come in different sizes and if inserted correctly you can’t feel them and they can’t fall out.
If the menstrual flow is heavy both a tampon and sanitary pad may be needed. Tampons are popular with many girls because they allow you to do everything you normally do, including swimming. It is important to change a tampon every 3 to 4 hours to avoid infections such as toxic shock syndrome (TSS) which is a bacterial infection that can be caused by leaving a tampon in for over 7 hours. For this reason, it’s a good idea to use a pad, rather than a tampon, at night. You can also reduce the risk of TSS by not using super (high-absorbency) tampons unless your flow is heavy.
Wash your hands before and after inserting tampons. Handle them as little as possible. Insert the tampon gently. Find a position in which you are comfortable, such as squatting, or sitting on the toilet. Using a hand-held mirror can help you see what you are doing. A tampon won’t slip out if it is placed beyond the muscles at the entrance of the vagina. It can’t get lost inside you either. Remember to leave the string hanging out to make removal easier. Don’t forget to take one tampon out before putting another one in.