What to expect from your first period

What to expect from your first period

Your first period can be both exciting and overwhelming. It’s a milestone moment and a sign that your body is changing and starting to do some pretty amazing things.

But let’s be honest – menstruation can be confusing, especially when you’re not entirely sure about what’s going on down there.

Knowing the signs of a first period can help young girls and their parents or guardians feel prepared.

When will I get my first period?

The first period typically begins a couple of years after the first signs of puberty, typically between ages 10 and 15, but it can happen earlier or later. It's different for everyone.

How do I know when it will happen?

You might notice some signs before your period starts, like breast tenderness, mood swings, acne, or vaginal discharge. These are normal changes.

Several days before the first period, some girls may notice spotting in their underwear or abdominal cramps. Not everyone will experience this, however.

What will my first period be like?

Every girl’s period is different. It might be light or heavy and last a few days to a week. It could be irregular at first as your body adjusts to the menstrual cycle.
For some, the first period is light, with little blood. It may begin gradually, starting with some spotting or brown discharge before becoming red.

For others, periods begin suddenly, with bright red blood appearing immediately. In either case, this is normal. Period blood can range in colour from brown to dark red. Some people may also pass small blood clots.

Having a period can feel similar to having vaginal discharge, but some girls do not feel much at all.

Most periods last for 3–7 days. However, the first period can be less predictable and slightly shorter or longer.

What do I do when it starts?

If you get your first period at school, your teacher or school nurse should have a free pantiliner or pad.

There is no sure way of knowing when your period will start. You could prepare a period kit before the first period arrives. The kit could consist of:
●  a pair of period underwear or a spare pair of regular underwear
●  a variety of tampons and pads so you can choose what works best for you
●  unscented baby wipes to clean any leakages

If your period begins and you are unprepared - don’t panic - ask a friend, a family member or an adult for something to absorb the blood, like a tampon or a pad. If that is not possible, use a pad or tampon, and try to wrap something absorbent, such as toilet paper or a clean washcloth, around the crotch area of some underwear. This can absorb the blood and prevent leaks.

How will I feel on my first period?

It takes time to adjust to having a period, and it can sometimes cause discomfort. However, periods are a normal part of life; they do not have to limit or change anyone’s daily activities.

Some girls experience cramps or discomfort in the lower abdomen or lower back. Over-the-counter pain relievers and a heating pad or hot water bottle can help.

Hormonal shifts might cause mood swings or emotional changes. It's normal to feel a mix of emotions.

How will I know which menstrual product to use?

There are a variety of menstrual products available to you. Some are disposable, such as sanitary pads and tampons, and other alternatives include reusable pads, menstrual cups and period pants. It's simply a case of experimenting to find what's most comfortable for you.

 Disposables Reusables
Pads These absorbent pads have an adhesive backing that sticks to the inside of your underwear. They are available in different lengths and absorbencies, and some have adhesive ‘wings’ that wrap around the sides of your underwear. Disposable pads should be changed every 4-6 hours and disposed of after a single use. These are usually made of cotton, bamboo, or other natural absorbent fibres. They can be washed with detergent and reused. Some have velcro tabs to secure    them around your underwear.
Tampons  These are small, cylindrical plugs of disposable absorbent material (cotton and rayon) that are inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual flow. Tampons have a string attached so that they can be pulled out. They come in various sizes and absorbencies and may come with or without an applicator. Tampons should be changed every 4-6 hours, and used tampons should be discarded.    
Menstrual cups These are cup-shaped and made from flexible silicone or rubber. Menstrual cups are inserted inside the vagina to catch menstrual flow. The cup has a stem on the bottom for removal and should be emptied every 8-12 hours. They can be washed and reinserted.
Period pants  Period panties are underwear designed with an absorbent gusset to collect and hold moisture. They come in different absorbency levels and styles and are worn all day. When you change, you simply wash your underwear, let it dry, and you can wear it again.


Disposable versus Reusable comparison

Disposable period products Reusable period products

✔ Cheaper in the short run

✘ Harmful to the environment due to waste

✘ Leakages more likely to occur

✘ Can cause irritation and discomfort  

✘ Risk of toxic shock syndrome  

✘ May contain from plastic-related fibres  

✔ Environmentally-friendly  

✔ Chemical and toxin-free

✔ Less prone to leakage    

✔ Made from natural, breathable and organic materials

✔ Saves money in the long run

✔ Less irritation and discomfort

✔ Odour free

✔ Hold more period blood    

✘ Costly initially  

At Sanavay, we have worked hard for you and sourced the best reusable period products available. Our customers have tried and tested them all. Select the most suitable brand and enjoy 10% off your first order.

When will I get my next period?

It’s impossible to predict when your next period will start. Most girls and women go about 28 days from the first day of one period to the first day of the next, but anywhere from 21-35 days is typical, though the actual length varies from person to person and period to period. The cycle length may vary by a week in any given year.

During the first few years after a girl’s first period, periods may be irregular and unpredictable. Over time, however, they typically become more regular.

After the first period, it can be difficult to predict when the next period will happen. It also takes some time to adjust to using period products. Occasionally, this may result in leaks. We advise keeping period products in your bag if it becomes necessary to use one at short notice. If you use disposable pads or tampons, using reusable period products reduces the risk of leakages.

Remember, your first period is a natural part of growing up, and everyone's experience is unique. It's okay to feel a bit confused or nervous. If you have concerns or need advice, don't hesitate to speak to a trusted adult, like a parent, guardian, or school nurse. Talking can be helpful.

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