Periods for the first time, can be exciting, scary, sad or all at the same time; but they are a natural part of every girl’s life.

According to a recent survey conducted, nearly 1 in 3 women were confused when their period arrived for the first time, while more than 40% were scared when it first happened. Another half was embarrassed about their periods. Confusion, fear, and embarrassment are the indication of those missing conversations or proper knowledge about menstruation. This information can help a young girl cope with the first time she menstruates. A survey showed that 48% of women have never had a conversation about periods or what to expect before it happened, leaving them completely unprepared when it did.

There is a lot to learn about menstruation. Before discussing how it feels to get periods for the first time, let us have a quick overview about menstruation.

About Menstruation

The onset of periods is one of the milestones for every girl. It signals the beginning of a long phase of her fertile life (around 40 years!). Most girls will get their period somewhere between the ages of 10 and 15. Every girl’s body has its own schedule and there is no “good” or “bad” age to get your period. So don’t worry if you get yours earlier or later than your friends. But it is important to be educated from a young age.

As your body reaches puberty (time when a child’s body matures into an adult and is capable of sexual reproduction), the pituitary gland in the brain and the ovaries in the female reproductive will release hormones like estrogen and progesterone. These hormones will make the eggs in your ovaries to mature and will also prepare your uterus for fertilization. These hormones will also make the lining of your uterus thick and spongy. This lining is made for fertilized egg to attach to and start developing into an embryo. It usually takes about a month for the lining to build up.

If the egg does not get fertilized, the lining of the uterus will break down and flow out of the body through your vagina. The release of blood and tissue from the lining of your uterus is your menstrual period.

So, how does it feel to get periods for the first time?

You may experience a rollercoaster of emotions and some physical symptoms before or during the period. Going through this phase can be challenging and stressful. You may even lack your confidence on those days. Additionally, a gazillion of thoughts will be running across your innocent mind.

Here are some common questions that teens have after getting their first periods:

  • How long do periods last?
  • How much blood will I shed?
  • Where to get sanitary pads for my period?
  • What pads should I use for my periods?
  • What if I bleed through my clothes- are they ruined
  • Can I still swim and play sports?
  • How do I keep track of when it will come next?
  • Will I have periods forever?

How to prepare yourself for your first period?

First period is usually an unwelcomed guest. You cannot predict precisely when your first period will happen. However, you will feel more comfortable with the first period if you can be ready for it. The following steps will help you prepare:

  • Understand menstruation, what it is and why it happens
  • Understand the physical changes you are going through
  • Learn when to expect your first period
  • Learn how to use the period supplies like pads, tampons or menstrual cups
  • Make a period kit that contains all necessary supplies for your period
  • Seek emotional support from your mother or elder sisters
  • Talk to trusted friends about your experience and ask them about theirsLearn how to deal with the symptoms while having periods

Prepare to talk to your parents about your period!

Talking to your parents about menstruation can be awkward or uncomfortable, especially in traditional families. Even if you are nervous about telling your mom, there is no reason to be afraid or ashamed; you must remember that she has gone through this phase when she was your age. She can probably answer a lot of your questions about what is going on and what to expect. Secondly, your mom may have her own tips and tricks for taking care of you, choosing period supplies, products to use, and can even help you deal with any pre-menstrual syndrome symptoms. It is great to have an unofficial expert around!

Additionally, from a practical perspective, it is important that your parents must know what’s going on with you medically, so they can help you get the best possible care when you need it.

Here are some ways to break the ice:

  • Try having a casual conversation that opens the door to discussion
  • If it is hard for you to start a face-to-face discussion, write it down
  • Take a direct approach and just tell your concern and ask questions
Reference:
  1. All about periods. https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/menstruation.html. Accessed on: 15-09-2020.
  2. Your first period. https://www.acog.org/patient-resources/faqs/especially-for-teens/your-first-period . Accessed on: 15-09-2020.
  3. Periods. https://raisingchildren.net.au/pre-teens/development/periods-hygiene/periods . Accessed on: 15-09-2020.
  4. Starting your periods. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/periods/starting-periods/ . Accessed on: 15-09-2020.
  5. Your first period. https://www.yourperiod.ca/normal-periods/your-first-period/ . Accessed on: 15-09-2020.
  6. Who can I talk to about my body and sexual health?. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/teens/puberty/who-can-i-talk-about-my-body-and-sexual-health . Accessed on: 15-09-2020.

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