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What Are Periods?

A period is a release of blood from a girl’s uterus, that comes out through the vagina. There is a lot to learn about periods. Here are some commonly asked questions about periods that people might have.  

 

When do most girls get their period?

Most girls get their first period when they are around 12 or 13 years old. But getting your period anywhere from 10 years old to 16 years old is normal. Everyone is different and on their schedule.

 

There are some clues that a girl can look for that means her period could be starting soon: 

  • Most of the time, a girl gets her period about 2 years after her breasts start to develop. 

  • Another sign is vaginal discharge fluid that a girl might see in her underwear. This discharge usually begins 6 months to a year before a girl gets her first period. 

 

What causes a period?

A period happens because of changes in hormones in the body. Hormones are chemical messengers. The female hormones are estrogen and progesterone. The ovaries release the female hormones. These hormones cause the lining of the uterus to build up. The built-up lining is ready for a fertilized egg to attach to and start developing. If there is no fertilized egg, the lining breaks down and bleeds. Then the same thing happens all over again. It usually takes about a month for lining to build, then break down. This is why most women get their periods around once a month. 

 

How does Ovulation relate to periods?  

Ovulation is the release of an egg from the ovaries. The egg travels through a thin tube, called a fallopian tube, to the uterus. If the egg is fertilized by a sperm cell, it attaches to the wall of the uterus, where then it develops into a baby. If the egg is not fertilized, the uterus lining breaks down and bleeds, causing a period. 

 

Do periods happen regularly when they start? 

For the first few years after a girl starts her period, her period may not come regularly. This is completely normal. After 2-3 years after her first period, a girl’s period should be coming around once every 4 to 5 weeks. 

 

Can a girl get pregnant as soon as her period starts? 

The answer is yes. A girl can even get pregnant right before her very first period. This is because a girl’s hormones might already be active. If a girl has sex, she can get pregrent, even though she has never had a period. 

 

How long do periods last?

Periods usually last about 5 days. A period can be longer or shorter. 

 

How often does period happen? 

Periods usually happen about once 4 to 5 weeks. But some periods are a little longer or a little shorter. 

 

Should I use a pad, tampon, or menstrual cup? 

One has many choices about how to deal with period blood. You probably won’t find the right fit for you right away. Some girls use only one method and other girls switch between different methods. Most girls use pads when they first get their period. Many girls find tampons more convenient than pads, especially when playing sports or swimming. Some girls prefer a menstrual cup. 

 

How much blood comes out?

It may look like a lot of blood, but in reality it is only a few tablespoons of blood during the whole period. Most girls need to change their pad, tampon, or menstrual cup about 3 to 6 times a day.  

 

Will I have periods for the rest of my life? 

Women will eventually reach menopause around 45 to 55 years old and then their periods stop permanently. Women also most likely won’t have a period when they are pregnant.

 

What is PMS?

PMS stands for premenstrual syndrome. It is when a girl or woman has emotional or physical symptoms that happen before or during her period. The symptoms usually go away after the first few days of a period.   

Periods are healthy and a natural part of a girl’s life. If you have any more questions ask your doctor, a parent, a school nurse, or a health teacher.