Just gotten your period for the first time? Or want to know what to expect? It’s a completely natural part of female development and nothing to be afraid of.
Everyone’s experience is different; when it first occurs, how long it lasts, how it feels, etc. The best thing to do is be prepared and to understand your body. And lots of self-care!
A period is when you bleed from your vagina (the blood passing out of your uterus) in preparation for pregnancy. It happens once a month (though this can vary from person to person) and usually lasts 2-7 days. It can take a while for your period to become regular though so don’t stress if not so predictable at the start! If you want to track your period each month, so that you can monitor symptoms, when it is due and when it arrives check out these free period-tracking apps.
A period is part of the menstrual cycle and occurs once a month if you are not pregnant. It is controlled by the hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Basically you have 2 ovaries, and each one holds many tiny eggs. During your menstrual cycle, hormones make the eggs in your ovaries mature — when an egg is mature, that means it’s ready to be fertilized by a sperm cell. The hormones create a thick lining is made of tissue and blood. If the egg is not fertilised (you do not become pregnant) the lining is released through the vagina – aka your period arrives!
There are two stages of this cycle to remember: menstruation and ovulation.
Menstruation is when you have your period – when the blood and tissue from your uterus comes out of your vagina. It usually happens every month.
Ovulation occurs about halfway through your menstrual cycle, (usually about 14 days before your period starts, but everyone’s different) when your hormones tell one of your ovaries to release a mature egg. Once the egg leaves your ovary, it travels through one of your fallopian tubes toward your uterus.
Most people don’t feel it when they ovulate, but some symptoms are:
You have the highest chance of getting pregnant on the days leading up to ovulation – these are called fertile days.
Read this post to find out more about going to the doctor on your own.
Around the age of 50-60 women start to experience what is in a way the opposite of puberty – their body starts to make less oestrogen hormones and they gradually become less fertile until their period eventually stops all together. This process is called menopause.