You've Got Questions? That's Normal.
What is a period exactly?
Excellent question. Basically, a period is nothing more than your body getting rid of tissue it no longer needs.
The menstrual cycle is the series of changes a woman’s body goes through to prepare for pregnancy. The female reproductive system is made up of two ovaries, each containing thousands of eggs, and two fallopian tubes, which connect the ovaries to the uterus (aka the womb). Every month or so a woman’s body builds up a thick lining of blood on the walls of her uterus to prepare to nourish and hold a fertilized egg. During your menstrual cycle, an egg is released from one of your ovaries and travels down the fallopian tube into your uterus. If this egg is not fertilized by a man’s sperm, you will not be pregnant, and you will no longer need this thick lining of blood that has collected. Your body then gets rid of this lining in the form of your period. Blood and tissue are flushed out through your vagina and your body starts forming a fresh lining for the next egg, next month. A woman will have many, many periods in her lifetime. It’s kind of amazing that our bodies prepare like this month after month after month.
When will I get my first period?
A girl’s first period occurs when all the parts that make up her reproductive system are mature and working together. Most girls get their first period when they are around 12 or 13 years old, although some girls begin earlier, and some later. Every girl's body has a different schedule.
While no one can say exactly when you will get your first period, most of the time a girl’s first period starts about two years after her breast begin to develop. Some girls get their period in less than 2 years and other girls may take longer. It’s all normal.
I have no bleeding yet, but there is this other stuff…
Yup. That is another sign. If you haven’t had your first period yet but you are seeing a discharge that is yellowish or white and odorless, it’s completely normal. That’s your body’s way of moisturizing your vagina and it’s a big sign that your first period will probably come within six months to a year. When you start seeing this discharge, LoveJane panty liners can be a helpful way to stay fresh. If there is ever anything that does not feel normal, talk to your doctor.
How long will my period last?
Periods usually last three to five days, but anywhere from two to seven days is normal. (We usually refer to a period as lasting five to seven days, but that's just a generalization.) About two weeks after your period begins, a new egg is released and the cycle repeats itself.
So my menstrual cycle is different than my period?
Exactly. Your period is part of your menstrual cycle, which is counted from day one of bleeding to day one of the next period’s bleeding. A typical cycle is around 28 days, but they can range from 21 to 45 days—especially when you first start getting your period.
How much blood will there be?
This is a common question girls have before their first period. This is understandable since, up until now, seeing blood was usually a sign that something was wrong. Not so anymore. Seeing blood when you get your period is a sign that your body is working exactly how it is meant to.
As for the amount of blood, while it can seem like a lot it’s usually less than six tablespoons a month. (Like everything else, this varies, especially when you’ve just begun having your periods.) Also, it’s not all blood. What comes out is blood mixed with fluid from your cervix and vagina, as well as small clumps of tissue from your uterus. If it looks thick or a little clotty, that’s perfectly normal.
What will it feel like?
The actual flow of blood from your vagina probably won’t feel like much. You might feel a trickle, or some dampness, if you don’t already have a pad or a tampon in place.
Will I have cramps? If so, will they be bad?
You might have cramps. Like everything else, cramps vary from woman to woman. If you read above about what a period is, you know that your period is your uterus flushing out unneeded tissue. In order for that to happen, your uterus will contract. If the contractions are very hard it might feel uncomfortable. Luckily there are things you can do to relieve cramps. Try lying down and gently rubbing your abdomen. Sometimes mild exercise can help. Some women rely on heating pads or warm baths. You can also discuss with your parent or doctor if ibuprofen could help. If your cramps are too bad or if you feel dizzy, nauseous, or are vomiting, see your doctor.
How will I know when my period is coming every month?
There are many period tracker apps for your phone and on your computer. Someday, LoveJane hopes to have its own period tracker! Until we do, there are others you can rely on. You can use these apps or start marking the days on a paper calendar. Mark your first day of bleeding and your last day of bleeding every month. Pretty soon you’ll start to see a pattern and you can anticipate the next. Remember it usually takes many periods before your body settles into a routine.
LoveJane Period Kits are designed to be so pretty you won’t mind having them in your purse, backpack or wherever. That way, you’ll always be beautifully prepared.
What if I have an accident?
If you have an accident, the very first thing you should do is b-r-e-a-t-h-e. Then you can welcome yourself to the club, because just about every woman has had a period accident at one time or another. Having your LoveJane Kit with you will keep you prepared with the supplies you need, and even our emergency LoveJane Panty in case you’ve had an accident. You can use the disposable bags to carry your soiled underwear home if need be.
Should I use pads or tampons?
Pads or tampons is a personal preference. It’s entirely up to you. Some women use only pads all the time. Other women like to rely on tampons for sports, others use them throughout the day. If you are using a tampon and have questions about inserting them read the instructions that come in your LoveJane Kit. (Or you can read them here.) Don’t worry, a tampon will not get lost up inside of you, nor will it fall out. Panty liners are great for keeping you fresh and clean in the beginning of your period and at the end.
What is PMS?
PMS stands for premenstrual syndrome, which sounds a lot scarier than it is. Some girls have PMS symptoms right before they get their period each month. Fatigue, headaches, feeling a little blue, sore breasts and difficulty concentrating are some of the physical and emotional symptoms of PMS. Every girl is different and each may or may not experience some or all of the symptoms at one time or another. Eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of rest, reducing salt and caffeine intake, and realizing that this is all just a normal part of growing up, can help reduce the severity of PMS symptoms.
Will everybody know when I'm having my period?
Nobody has to know you're having your period unless you want them to. Friends might share this information with each other (or not), but as far as other people knowing you’re having your periods, no need to worry. Just think, every day around 25% of the women you see are having their period and nobody is the wiser. LoveJane Period Kits hold all the supplies you'll need when you get your period. They're pretty, discreet, and something lovely you would want to carry around anyway.