All content within this page has been reviewed and endorsed by
Dr Tariq Miskry, Consultant Gynaecologist & Obstetrician
What’s a period, and why do we have these things every month? It’s normal female biology! And it’s a major sign of the physical maturity of becoming a woman.
Very simply, a period is when a woman’s body releases tissue it no longer needs. This tissue comes from the uterus, which is where a baby (foetus) develops in the female body. Every month or so, the uterus lining gets thicker. This is to prepare for a fertilised egg if the woman becomes pregnant. If the egg doesn’t get fertilised, that lining is released from the body through the vagina. This is called menstruation.
So when a girl has her period, she is not "bleeding" — her body is just getting rid of a small amount of blood and some unneeded tissue. It is a natural, normal body process. Here are some popular questions about periods.
The actual flow of your period doesn’t feel like much; you can’t feel it coming out. When you get your first period, you may feel some dampness in the crotch area — this is probably a few spots of blood on your pants.
It shouldn’t! Menstrual odour happens when menstrual fluid comes into contact with air. When menstrual fluid is absorbed within the vagina, it is not exposed to the air, so there shouldn’t be an odour. Using tampons or changing pads frequently usually sorts out any problems.
The period itself doesn’t hurt, but some girls and women get PMS cramps or other period symptoms during their periods that may be uncomfortable.
If you use menstrual protection and are careful about personal cleanliness, people won’t know you are menstruating unless you tell them.
Menstruation is a part of the female reproductive function. Boys have a different reproductive system from women, so they don’t get periods. But they do go through physical changes at puberty, including voice and body changes, the ability to produce sperm and the beginnings of facial, underarm and pubic hair.
Do you have any other burning questions about that time of the month? Ask in our comments — there may be another girl out there with a helpful answer!