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Information for periods

Information for periods

When will I start my period?

Again, there’s no such thing as an exact age when you will start your menstrual cycle. You start your periods sometime during puberty – it can be as young as 8 years old or as late as 17. Clues that you’re close to starting menstruation include developing breasts, growing pubic hair and experiencing a white or yellowish vaginal discharge. Girls these days are maturing earlier than ever but it’s still worth asking your mum when she started as you’re likely to get your first period at a similar age.

More information for Periods

Your period may be very unpredictable for the first two years while you settle into your cycle. So we’ve created the four-phase breakdown below to help you recognize what’s going on and when. Being clued-up on your cycle means you’ll be better prepared to deal with your period.

You’ll know when to carry tampons or pads and how to recognize and relieve period pain. It’s also essential you understand your cycle if you wish to use birth control or are planning to have a baby.

Phase 1 – Having your period (‘menstruation’).
Basically, your body is getting rid of tissue it doesn’t need. The lining of the womb breaks up and alongside body cells and mucus it passes slowly out the body through the vagina, causing you to bleed. You might feel like your flow is heavy but in reality the bleeding of an average period is only equivalent to 6-9 tablespoons. Your period may appear bright red or quite dark and might include some clumps or clots.

Phase 2 – Just after your period ends (‘pre-ovulation phase’).
Around the time your period ends, your body gets ready again for a potential pregnancy. Your ovaries prepare another egg and a hormone called oestrogen makes your womb rebuild its lining.

Phase 3 - Ovulation
Hormones prompt your ovaries to release an egg into the fallopian tubes. At the same time, because of hormone progesterone, your womb thickens its lining in preparation for the egg to be fertilised. Ovulation usually occurs 14 days before the start of your next period.

Phase 4 - Pre-menstrual (‘luteal’) phase.
If the egg is not fertilised, your womb gets ready to release its lining. Levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone drop and you enter a new menstrual cycle as the shedding of this lining begins. (

What are period pains and menstrual cramps?

If you never suffer from period pain or menstrual cramps then you’ll be one of the luckiest girls in the world. Unfortunately, for most girls, it’s just a plain fact of life that before and during a period they suffer from a range of related aches and pains.

The most common are menstrual cramps and whilst they can cause a little discomfort, they shouldn’t really slow you down too much. You may also occasionally experience more intense period pains: either sharp stabs that make you double up or a nagging pain that spreads through your belly and lower back. Some girls also experience dizziness, nausea, diarrhea or vomiting around the time of their periods. But don’t worry, help is at hand.

There are several things you can do to help control period pain. If possible, lie down at the first sign of pain and gently rub your stomach as it can help relax the muscles. Also make sure you don’t skip sport as mild exercise and stretching are really effective in combating menstrual cramps. Applying heat to aching areas can provide relief of menstrual cramps. As a last resort, you can always try taking a medicine that soothes period pain - ask your Mum or the pharmacist to recommend one.

Why do I feel pain during my period?

You are not alone – most women feel some kind of cramps during their period at some point in their lives. You get cramps when your uterus contracts slightly to help get rid of its lining. Not all women feel the same pain. Some women only feel pain occasionally and some women never feel any pain. That’s because all women are different, and so are their periods.

Will I lose much blood during my period?

The amount of blood you lose varies during your period from day to day. Usually, the first day of your period is quite light. During the next 2 to 3 days, you will lose most of your menstrual fluid and the rest during the last few days of your period. The fluid lost is only a cup full at the most and only about 2–3 tablespoons of this fluid is actually blood.
Curious about how to insert a tampon?
Curious about how to insert a tampon?

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Next time Mother Nature brings your monthly gift, get Tampax®.
Next time Mother Nature brings your monthly gift, get Tampax®.

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