Teenagers and Periods, What to Expect? by Bree Farmer
"As a menstrual heath advocate and menstrual Youtuber I get a lot of questions about periods, so today I wanted to answer one of the most common questions." Bree Farmer
WORDS BY: Amanda Nagel
As a menstrual heath advocate and menstrual Youtuber I get a lot of questions about periods, so today I wanted to answer one of the most common questions I’m asked, “What should I expect when I get my period?”.
The best answer to this question is expect the unexpected! Unfortunately Mother nature has not caught up with modern technology and doesn’t give you a curtesy call before you're about to start. Instead she just drops that red present off at a time of her choosing and only then you can start tracking her.
First periods most often happen around age 11-12 but any time between 8-18 is normal, personally I started at 14. Your first period might be very heavy, very light or average but its important to remember that it doesn’t mean that’s what every period will be like. It takes around 2 years for your cycle to settle down so if its a bit higgledy piggledy for the first few months don’t worry about it. My first period was incredibly heavy but now they are very manageable.
You will need to use your judgement to work out how light/heavy you are but generally speaking; A light period will last less than 3 days and you will never fill a pad, you might be able to get away with just using long pantyliners. A moderate period will last 4-7 days and might be heavy for the first 1-2 days but will lighten up pretty quickly, you shouldn’t soak through any pads in less than 3 hours if you have a moderate flow. A heavy flow will usually mean your period lasts longer than 7 days and you have 2+ days of heavy bleeding where you have to really watch the time to make sure you aren’t soaking through your pad/tampon/menstural cup. If this sort of bleeding continues you should see a doctor as you may have an underlying condition causing it.
Its also quite common to not get any cramping when you first start your period but for it to kick in later, this is what happened to me. Some girls are unlucky and get cramps from the first period but that is also normal, a hot water bottle and some ibuprofen are usually the best cramp killers (be sure to check the dosage and make a note of the time you take it so you don’t overdose), if you can avoid taking painkillers that would be the best option but sometimes you do need them to manage it. Magnesium is a great supplement to take and you can best absorb it by soaking in a bath of epsom salts for 20 mins. Who knows, you might be lucky and be in the 20% of women who don’t get cramps!
Generally speaking once you’ve had your first period its pretty easy to get to grips with how to manage it. My biggest tip would be to get a period tracking app on your phone and let it know whenever you start your period, that way you can know roughly when it will start, and how long your average cycle is, 28 days is best but anywhere between 26-34 is considered normal.
I hope this is helpful and reassuring to any of you out there waiting for your periods to start, just remember not to panic or be embarrassed, its completely normal and natural.
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