A period is when blood comes out through a girl's vagina. It is a sign that she
is getting close to the end of puberty. Puberty
is when your body goes from looking like a kid's into looking more like a grown-up's.
There is a lot to learn about periods. Here are some common questions that kids
When Do Most Girls Get Their Period?
Most girls get their first period when they're around 12. But getting it any time
between age 10 and 15 is OK. Every girl's body has its own schedule.
How Will I Know My First Period Is Coming?
There are some signs that a girl's period may start soon. These include:
She has hair under her arms and in her private parts.
She has some clear, stringy liquid (called discharge)
coming from her vagina.
Why Do Girls Get Periods?
A period happens because of changes in hormones
in the body. Hormones give messages to the body. These hormones cause the lining of
the uterus (or womb) to build up. This gets the uterus ready for an egg (from the
mom) and sperm (from the dad) to attach and grow into a baby. If the woman does not
get pregnant, the lining breaks down and bleeds. This same process happens every month.
That is why most girls and women get their periods around once a month.
Do Periods Happen Regularly When Menstruation Starts?
For the first few years after a girls starts her period, it may not come regularly.
This is normal at first. By about 2–3 years after her first period, a girl's
periods should be coming around once a month.
How Long Do Periods Last?
Periods usually last about 5 days. But a period can be shorter or last longer.
How Often Does a Period Happen?
Periods usually happen about once a month. But some girls get their periods around
every 3 weeks. And others only get a period about once every 6 weeks.
Should I Use a Pad, Tampon, or Menstrual Cup?
There are a few ways
to deal with period blood. You may need to experiment a bit to find which works best
for you. Some girls use only one method and others switch between different methods.
Most girls use a pad when they first get their period. Pads are
made of cotton and come in lots of different sizes and shapes. They have sticky strips
that attach to the underwear.
Many girls prefer to use tampons instead of pads, especially
when playing sports or swimming. A tampon is a cotton plug that a girl puts into her
vagina. Most tampons come with an applicator that guides the tampon into place. The
tampon absorbs the blood. Don't leave a tampon in for more than 8 hours because this
can increase your risk of a serious infection called toxic shock syndrome.
Some girls prefer a menstrual cup. To use a menstrual cup, a
girl inserts it into her vagina. The cup holds the blood until she empties it.
How Much Blood Comes Out?
Although it may look like a lot of blood, a girl usually only loses a few tablespoons
of blood for the whole period. Most girls need to change their pad, tampon, or menstrual
cup about 3–6 times a day.
Will I Have Periods for the Rest of My Life?
When women are around age 45‒55, they stop having periods (this is called menopause).
Women also won't have a period while they are pregnant.
What Is PMS?
PMS (premenstrual syndrome) is when a girl has emotional and physical symptoms
right before her period starts or during the early part of her period. A girl with
Lots of girls have cramps
with their period, especially in the first few days. If the cramps are very uncomfortable,
a warm heating pad on the belly and medicines can help.
Periods are a natural, healthy part of a girl's life. They shouldn't get in the
way of exercising, having fun, and enjoying life. If you have questions about periods,
ask your doctor, a parent, health teacher, school nurse, or older sister.