Period 101: A Guide For Your First Period

Your first period can be confusing and, well, messy. But don't worry, we're here to help! Our guide will walk you through everything you need to know about your first period, from what to expect to how to deal with any cramps or other symptoms.

What is a Period and Period Cycle?

A period is when the uterus lining sheds through the vagina. This happens because the body is no longer preparing for pregnancy. The average length of a period is 3-5 days, and the period cycle is 28 days, but it can vary from person to person.

What Happens During a Period?

During a period, the body sheds the lining of the uterus through the vagina. This process is called menstruation. The menstrual blood is made up of blood and tissue from the lining of the uterus. It usually lasts 3-5 days.

Most girls experience some cramping during their period. This is caused by the contractions of the uterus as it sheds its lining. Some also experience bloating, headaches, backaches, or mood swings.

What Does Having a Period Mean?

A period is a sign that your body’s reproductive system is working. It means that you're not pregnant and that your reproductive organs are healthy. Periods also play an important role in infertility. But that’s not something you have to worry about if you’re just getting your period now! 

When Should I Expect The First Period?

There's no one answer to this question since everyone experiences their first period differently. Some people may have very little bleeding, while others may have heavy bleeding. 

It's also normal for your first period to last longer or be shorter than subsequent periods. In general, though, you can expect to get your first period anywhere from age 10-to 16.

What are the Signs That Your First Period is Coming?

Most people experience some sort of pre-period symptom in the days leading up to their period. This is because of the hormonal changes occurring in your body, like the uterine lining sheds. Common pre-period symptoms include:

  • Acne
  • Bloating
  • Breast tenderness
  • Cramps
  • Mood swings

Is It Normal to Worry About My First Period?

The average age for girls to get their first period is around 12, but it can be normal for girls to get their first period anywhere between 9 and 16.

It's perfectly ok for you to have some apprehension about getting your period. Some of you might be afraid of the painful menstrual cramps it can cause. While some menstruators have worse symptoms and cramps than others, you’ll soon find the right combination of things (that might include medicine that your doctor can provide) that make you feel better.

How Long Do Periods Usually Last?

How long does period last

Periods last from 3 to 5 days. The blood flow is usually heaviest on the first day or two; it gradually slows down. Some girls have periods that last only a couple of days and are very light. Other girls have periods that last 7 days with heavy flow. 

What to Expect During Your Period?

There are a few things you can expect during your period:

  • Cramps: You may experience cramping as your uterus contracts to shed its lining. The pain can range from mild to severe and is usually worse on the first day or two of your period. 
  • Bloating: You may feel bloated or notice that your clothes are fitting more snugly around the waistline. This is caused by the hormonal changes in your body and should subside after a few days.
  • Headaches: Some girls get headaches during their period, especially on the first day. If you do get a headache, try to rest and drink plenty of fluids. 
  • Mood Swings: It's common to feel moody or irritable before your period. Again, this is due to the hormonal changes in your body. If you're feeling particularly down, talk to a trusted adult about what you're going through.

period cups

Period Essentials: What Products to Use to Manage Your Periods?

There are lots of period products that can help you stay comfortable during your period! You can start researching them now. 

  • Period Panties: These are specially designed underwear that can help absorb your menstrual blood and prevent leaks.
  • Tampons: Tampons are small, cylindrical pieces of absorbent material (usually cotton) that are inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual blood.
  • Pads: Pads are rectangular pieces of absorbent material that are attached to the inside of your underwear to absorb menstrual blood. Pads are usually disposable, but many people have started using reusable pads as well!
  • Menstrual Cups: Menstrual cups are small, bell-shaped devices that are inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual blood.

Check our Period Essentials

How To Maintain Hygiene During Your Period?

It's important to maintain good hygiene during your period to prevent infection and discomfort. Here are a few tips:

  • Wash your hands before and after inserting a tampon or pad.
  • Change your tampon or pad every 4-8 hours or as needed.
  • Empty your menstrual cup every 12 hours or as needed.
  • With warm water and soap, wash your vulva gently every day. 
  • Pat dry with a clean towel after washing.
  • Avoid using douches, deodorants, or perfumed sprays on your vulva.

If you have any questions or concerns about your period, talk to a trusted adult, such as a parent, doctor, or school nurse. They can help you better understand what to expect and how to take care of yourself during this time.

How to Manage Your Period Pain?

Following are the few things that you can do to manage your period pain:

  • Place a heating pad on your lower abdomen or back
  • Take over-the-counter painkiller medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen 
  • Exercise regularly
  • Try relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation
  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat a healthy diet

When to Consult a Doctor?

PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is a collection of symptoms that some people experience in the days leading up to their period. 

These symptoms can include mood swings, irritability, bloating, and headaches. Not everyone experiences PMS, and the severity of symptoms varies from person to person. 

If you think you might be experiencing PMS, track your symptoms in a journal for a few months to see if there is a pattern. If you're struggling to cope with your condition, talk to your doctor.

Period Do's and Don'ts!

Now that you know the basics of periods, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Do drink plenty of fluids, especially water. This will help to prevent cramps and bloat.
  • Do exercise regularly as it can help to relieve period pain and improve your mood.
  • Do eat a healthy diet as eating lots of fruits and vegetables can help to reduce cramps and bloat.
  • Don't skip school or work just because you're on your period. Unless you're really not feeling well, it's important to stick to your routine.
  • Don't use tampons if you're not comfortable with them. There are other options, like pads and menstrual cups.
  • Don't forget to take care of yourself. If you're feeling overwhelmed, talk to a trusted adult or your doctor.

Everybody is Unique, and That's Why Blood Flow and Period Pain is Different for Every Body, Too!

Everybody is different, so what works for your friends might not work for you. In order to keep cramps from getting worse or better, you need to keep track of what makes them worse. Together, you can find a solution that works for you.

Verdict!

We hope this article has helped you feel more comfortable and confident about your first period. Remember, there's no need to be embarrassed or scared. It's a natural and normal part of life! If you have any questions or concerns, talk to a trusted adult or your doctor so they can help you through this new and exciting time.