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Starting your periods ? What do you need to know

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

Menstruating or having your period normally begins at the age of 12 yet can sometime occur as early as 8 or 9 years old so it is important to know the facts.

Menstruating or having your period normally begins at the age of 12 yet can sometime occur as early as 8 or 9 years old so it is important to know the facts.

Over half the population on the planet have periods yet it still remains a taboo topic and an embarrassing one to talk about.

There are many things to learn about your periods and girls often have an array of questions to ask.

What causes periods?

Your menstrual cycle is how your body prepares for pregnancy once a month. Your cycle begins on the first day of your period and ends on the first day of your next period.

Two weeks into your cycle an egg is released from your ovaries. This process is called ovulation.

The egg travels to the Fallopian tubes where it waits to be fertilised by sperm.

Once the egg is released a hormone will send messages to your uterus to get thicker to prepare for the egg to be fertilised and get ready for pregnancy.

If the egg is fertilised, that is if you have had sex and the egg fuses with the sperm, the egg attaches itself to the womb and pregnancy begins.

If the egg is not fertilised, a hormone sends a signal to the lining of the womb to shed where blood, the tiny egg and tissue leave the womb through your vagina. This is your period.

Can you get pregnant as soon as your periods start?

Yes, as soon as you begin your period it is possible to get pregnant. It is even possible to get pregnant before you experience your first period.

How long do periods last?

Periods occur once every 4-5 weeks and normally last between 5-7 days.

What happens if you miss a period?

Sometimes you may ‘miss’ a period and that means that you don’t get a period at all. This can be a sign that you are pregnant so if you have had unprotected sex, get a pregnancy test to rule that out. Other reasons may be:

  • Weight gain or loss

  • Stress

  • Hormonal contraception e.g. The Pill

  • PCOS or Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome.

If you miss more than one period in a row, contact your local GP.

Managing pain felt during your period:

It is extremely common to experience pain during your periods. Some people experience a lot of pain and discomfort and others don’t experience any pains at all.

Period cramps can begin before your period even begins. Some girls experience pain during ovulation (when the ovary releases an egg). The pain is due to the opening of your cervix and the contraction of your uterus trying to expel the lining of the womb.

You may experience pain in your tummy, lower back, have headaches or even have pain in your legs.

If you experience extreme pain it may be due to another reason so is important to contact your local GP.

How to ease period pain:

  • Light exercise

  • Taking over the counter painkillers e.g. paracetamol or ibuprofen

  • Placing a hot water bottle on your lower abdomen.

  • Take a hot bath or shower.

What products are available for your periods?

There are a few options to choose from and its down to each individual to choose what’s right for them.

  • Pads

  • Tampons

  • Menstrual Cups

What is PMS?

PMS stands for Premenstrual Syndrome. Throughout your cycle, hormones rise and fall in your body and cause a change in moods.

Some symptoms of PMS include:

  • Mood swings

  • Being overly emotional

  • Bloating

  • Feeling anxious/sad or depressed

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