First period symptoms: Three signs that your period is coming

Dr. Tariq MiskryDr. Tariq Miskry

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Dr Tariq Miskry, Consultant Gynaecologist & Obstetrician

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First Period Symptoms? Learn how to read and understand these signs! Here are three helpful tips to get ready for this special time!Wondering emoji

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Watch for these signs of a girls' first period.

Although a lot of girls get their first period symptoms between 8 and 13 years old, the average age is 11 to 12. However, you could get yours anywhere between the ages of 9 and 16. Everyone has their own 'biological clock', and yours is different from anyone else's. So even if you feel like you'll never get your period, don't worry, you will! How will you know it’s on its way? Watch out for these signs of a girl’s first period.

First Period Symptom

Puberty in itself is a big sign that your first menstruation is on its way. Here are a few signs of your first period to look out for, too:

  1. Developing breast 'buds': It can take three to four years for your breasts to then fully develop, but you can expect your period about two years after yourbreasts start developing.

  2. Growing pubic hair: Just after your breasts start to form, you'll probably start growing pubic hair. It will be soft and thin at first, but it’ll get coarser over time. Your period usually arrives around one to two years after.

  3. Discharge: Vaginal discharge (white or yellowish fluid) is usually a sure sign that your first period is on its way. You may want to start using Always pantyliners to protect your underwear. A girls first period should start in the next few months! You will find out more information about vaginal discharge in our article Vaginal discharge: Icky but Amazing.

In addition to these body changes, you can also ask your mum when she started her period. It’s likely that you’ll get your first menstruation within a year or so of when she got hers. Plus, it’s a good time to have a conversation with your mum about all the changes that you’re experiencing. She can also help you find the right products to deal with the first period symptoms.

Girl Talk Episode 1Girl Talk Episode 1

Watch Your Menstrual Cycle & Periods - what you need to know in less than 3 minutes

How to prepare for my first period

Since you never know when you’ll get your first period, it’s a good idea to be prepared.

Here are some ideas:

  • Prepare an emergency period kit containing a panty liner, pad and clean underwear in a discreet bag
  • Keep a pantyliner or pad in your book bag or purse
  • In an emergency, toilet paper can work until you can get a pantyliner or pad
  • Ask a friend, school nurse or teacher for help — most schools keep extra pantyliners or pads for exactly this reason!

Common questions about your first period; When should I see a doctor about not getting my period?

If you have missed three periods in a row or have not started menstruating by the age of 15, you may have a condition called primary amenorrhea. This affects some women who produce lower levels of oestrogen. You should see a doctor if you think you may have primary amenorrhea; if breast growth has not started by age 13, or if your period has not started three years after breast growth.

Possible causes of a missed period are:

  • You’ve just started menstruating
  • Miscalculation or normal fluctuation?
  • Stress
  • Extreme exercise
  • Drastic weight changes
  • PCOS
  • Pregnancy

If you think your first period is late, you should visit your doctor to help you understand what possible causes are.

What products do I need to prepare for my first period?

There are several products available to help you stay feeling clean and fresh when you’re on your period.

  • Sanitary towels – These absorbent pads stick to your underwear after you remove the adhesive strip. They are good for wearing overnight and on days when your flow is heavier. Some come with wings that fold over the edge of your underwear for better protection. We recommend ALWAYS Ultra pads - they have a special absorbent core that turns liquid into gel – and gel doesn’t leak! Ultra pads also come in different sizes and absorbency levels, so you can get just the right fit for you.
  • Panty liners – These are light pads that you wear on your lighter days. Like regular pads, they stick to your underwear with an adhesive strip. Wear an ALWAYS Dailies Fresh & Protect panty liner a few days before your period is supposed to come.
  • Tampons – These are inserted into your vagina with the use of an applicator. After wearing them for fewer than eight hours, you remove them by pulling on the string attached. Try wearing TAMPAX Pearl Compak which are grate for period beginners.
  • Menstrual cups – Like tampons, these are inserted into the vagina to gather blood, which you empty out later. For younger women, the smaller size is recommended.

How will my first period feel?

Generally, you may experience discomfort as your uterus contracts to get rid of its lining. Most women find this more painful during their teenage years, then report having it less severely as they age. The risk is usually higher if you started menstruating before you turned 11, have long or heavy periods, or have a lot of stress in your life.

You can ease the pain by putting a heating pad on your lower belly or back, or with over-the-counter pain-killers, such as ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen. If these medicines do not help over time, you should make an appointment to see your doctor.

Some women also find that hormonal changes related to menstruation make their moods, acne or migraines more severe.

If your period interferes with your ability to go to school or enjoy other everyday activities, you should see your doctor.

How often does my period come after the first time?

The average menstrual cycle is 28 days. This means that you’ll get your period just about every 28 days (counting from the first day of your period).

In reality, that 28 number varies from girl to girl, woman to woman. It can even vary slightly from month to month. Anywhere between 21 and 35 days is normal. That’s how often you should have a period, once your period is regular.

If you’ve just started menstruating, it’s normal for your period not to come on a regular schedule. You may skip a month or two, or you may get two periods really close together. Your body should get the hang of this whole menstruation thing within a year or so and get on a regular cycle after that.

Menstrual Cycle InfographicMenstrual Cycle Infographic

To keep track, you can use this period calculator.

Source:

  • ALWAYS Changing puberty education booklet. Holmes and Hutchinson. Girlology's There's something new about you.

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