Periods

How will I know when my periods are going to start?

Signs that your period is on its way are if you’ve grown underarm and pubic hair. Typically, you’ll start your periods about 2 years after your breasts start growing and about a year after getting a white vaginal discharge. The average girl will get her first period around 12 years old, but it varies from person to person.

Why haven’t my periods started yet?

Your periods will start when your body is ready. That’s usually between the ages of 10 and 16.

See a GP if your periods haven’t started by age 16 (or 14 if there are no other signs of puberty either).

Possible reasons include being underweight, doing lots of exercise (including dance, gymnastics and athletics) and a hormone imbalance.

How do I get ready for my first period?

Talk to your parent or another adult you trust, such as the School Nurse, about what you can expect before it happens.

It’s a good idea to start carrying sanitary pads or tampons around with you in advance.

If you find yourself at school without a pad or tampon, ask a teacher or the school nurse for some.

How long will my first period last?

Your first period might not last very long, as it can take your body some months to get into a regular pattern. Generally, once they’re settled, you’ll have a period every 28 to 30 days and it will last 3 to 7 days

How much blood will I lose?

It might seem a lot, but it’s only about 3 to 5 tablespoons. It’s not a sudden gush – you’ll just see a reddish-brown stain on your pants or on your sheets when you wake up in the morning.

What if period blood leaks through my clothes?

There are ways of covering up stains until you’re able to change your clothes, such as tying a sweatshirt around your waist. Keep a spare pair of pants and tights at school or in your bag.

Should I use pads, tampons or menstrual cups?

This is up to you. Tampons, menstrual cups and pads (towels) are safe and suitable if you’ve just started your period. You might want to use pads for your very first period as tampons and cups can take some getting used to. It might be worth experimenting until you find the product that suits you best.

Can a tampon get lost inside me?

No, it can’t. When you insert a tampon, it stays in your vagina. All tampons come with a string at one end that stays outside your body. You can remove the tampon at any time using this string.

What if I forget to remove my tampon?

If you forget to remove your tampon, it can turn sideways or become compressed at the top of your vagina. This can make it difficult for you to pull it out. If you think you’ve left a tampon in and you can’t get it out, go to your GP or nearest sexual health clinic. They can remove it for you.

If you have any worries or questions, you can make an appointment to speak with the School Nurse or see your GP.