Homehealth & wellbeingpuberty & your bodywhat will happen when i have my first period?

What will happen when I have my first period?

Along with other changes to your body — such as growing taller, developing breasts and wider hips — your first period is a natural part of puberty. These changes are caused by a hormone called ‘oestrogen’ which aims to prepare your body for pregnancy.

When will I get my first period?

You may get your first period as early as 8 years of age, all the way up to the age of 16. The average age is around 12 or 13 years.

  • Note: If you’re over the age of 15 and you haven’t gotten your period yet, a trip to your GP might be a good idea. You can read our post about going to the doctor on your own here.
What happens before my first period?

Before the period starts, you might:

  • feel sensitive and tired, both physically and emotionally. If this happens to you, be gentle with yourself.
  • ‘cramps’ in your stomach and abdomen (a hot water bottle can soothe period cramps)
  • There might be some white discharge in your underwear
@bieu_my First period symptoms? Let’s talk about it! 💙 #menstrualhygiene #selfcare #femininehealthtips #puberty #firstperiod ♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim

What happens during the period?

You will bleed from your vagina. This is called menstrual blood. Menstrual bleeding usually lasts for about four to six days each period. It can range in colour from red to brown and varies in consistency or thickness.

The average amount of blood per period is 10 to 35 ml, but this varies from person to person. It is common for your first period to be quite light, but some also experience a rush of blood at the beginning.

How do I take care of menstrual blood?

You’ll need to use some kind of menstrual product, such as a pad, tampon, menstrual cup or wear period underwear. 

You might find that a tampon or menstrual cup is a bit tricky to use during your first period. We recommend using pads or wearing period undies. Remember to change your pad every 4 hours or so (depending on how much blood you are releasing) to keep yourself comfortable and clean. 

How to deal with your first period
  • Stay calm
  • If you are feeling unsure about what’s happening, talk to a trusted adult (a parent/guardian or teacher)
  • Talk to your friends about it. It’s great to be open and share your experiences with others who might be going through the same thing.
  • If you’re feeling faint or ill, visit the sick bay at your school or if you’re at home have a lie down.
  • If you need a pad or tampon at school, go to the sick bay
  • If you need a pad or tampon but don’t feel comfortable asking someone, you can buy them in supermarkets, convenience stores such as 7-Eleven, and chemists. 
  • Don’t have immediate access to pads or tampons? A wad of toilet paper can help but it can get messy. Try to get an actual pad or tampon as soon as you can.

If you experience pain or discomfort, read our article on Period Self Care. If the pain is severe, visit your doctor. You can read more about going to the doctor on your own here.

When will I have my next period?

Periods generally occur once a month, varying in frequency from person to person. It usually takes a while for your period to become regular though, especially if it starts from a young age, so be patient while you get to know your body and its predictability. 

  • If you want to track your period, so that you can monitor symptoms and when it is due, check out these period-tracking apps.
Where to get help

If you need support with periods, speak to a professional:

  • Family Planning Alliance Australia has links to sexual health clinics around the country. Visiting a sexual health clinic is really useful if you want to talk to someone face-to-face about your body.

Need someone to talk to? Free, confidential support is available.

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