Your first period
First thing to remember, getting your period is a natural part of becoming a woman. It's a really important part of our lives and without it we couldn't have babies. In fact they're something we should be pretty proud of.
Basically what's happening is every month your ovaries release a tiny egg. As your uterus gets ready to release the egg it builds up a protective lining. If you had sex and sperm entered your uterus this egg could become a baby. If the egg doesn't become a baby, the egg and lining are released from your body. This happens periodically – or about once a month. Which is where the name period comes from.
Here's another thing to know, you actually lose very little blood during your period. On average it's roughly 100ml. It's totally normal for your period to be heavier for the first few days then lighten up for the last few days. So it's important to change your pad or tampon more often at the start and you shouldn't go for more than 8 hours between changes if you're using tampons.
You'll get your periods roughly once a month, but it varies from person to person so don't be worried if it's not exact. It's a good idea to make a note of when your period comes and how long it lasts so you know roughly when to expect it. Don't worry if it seems like it's taking ages for your period to settle into some sort of routine, sometimes it can take up to a year. But you'll soon become an expert and recognise the signs you're about to get your period such as sore, tender boobs, bloating or cramps in your lower belly, a craving for sweet foods, headaches, an increase in pimples and irritability. So relax. And don't forget, it's a natural part of being a woman.
The most important thing is to make sure you've got the right pad, liner or tampon. Once you've figured out what works, it's easy. Everyone's different and there are lots of different options. Have a look at the products section to find out more.
Typically girls start getting their period between 8 and 17 years old. The average age is between 11 and 13. Sometimes it will come sooner, and sometimes later. But don't panic if you're one of the first in your group, or even one of the last. It's a common thing all women share. It makes us all part of a very special club.