Her Puberty & Period FAQs

Dr Nihara KrauseDr Nihara Krause

All content within this page has been reviewed and endorsed by

Dr Nihara Krause, Consultant Clinical Psychologist

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Answering questions about puberty can sometimes be tricky. So to help, we’ve provided answers to girls’ most pressing questions in this puberty information for parents article.

Three girls walking and talkingThree girls walking and talking

1

What is Puberty?

Puberty is a time of physical and emotional changes that all girls go through as they grow and mature. These changes usually start between ages 9 and 13, and include:

Post It
  • Developing breasts
  • Getting taller
  • Body hair growth
  • Starting her period (about 2 years after first symptoms start)
  • Vaginal discharge
Pantyliners on a pink backgroundPantyliners on a pink background

2

What is vaginal discharge?

Vaginal discharge is a natural fluid that helps prevent the vagina from drying out and protects it from infections. It is clear or milky white-ish and may increase at different times of the month.

When a girl notices discharge in her underwear during puberty, parents can recommend using pantyliners to help her feel fresh and clean all day. Pantyliners can also provide reassurance if she thinks she’s about to start her period.

Mother and daughter smiling while lying on the bedMother and daughter smiling while lying on the bed

3

Why do women get Periods?

Firstly, remind your child that periods are a healthy sign of the body growing and being able to carry a baby (if that’s what she chooses to do one day).

Then watch Your Menstrual Cycle & Periods - what you need to know in less than 3 minutes together to help explain the science behind periods in an easy-to-understand way.

Girl sitting in front of a brick wallGirl sitting in front of a brick wall

Content 2 columns  4

When will I start my Period?

Explain that there is no right time for her first period to come and that every girl is different.

In general, girls can expect their first period about two years after the first signs of breasts developing, usually between the ages of 10 and 16. Many girls get their first period a couple months after noticing vaginal discharge.

If she hasn’t started her period by 16, you might want to make an appointment with your GP.

Daughter and mother talkingDaughter and mother talking

5

How much blood will I lose?

The average female loses between 4 and 12 teaspoons of menstrual fluid during her period, but only a small amount of that is blood.

Since her body contains over four litres of blood, explain that it doesn’t miss the little bit lost during a period and replenishes it quickly.

It leaves her body over three to seven days, so only a bit comes out at a time.

Mother and a daughter looking at a laptop screenMother and a daughter looking at a laptop screen

6

What is spotting?

Spotting is light vaginal bleeding that happens between periods. If it happens around her usual period (in other words, just before or after), it can be normal. If it’s happening often or unpredictably, you should check with your doctor.

Mother and daughter sitting on a couch and talkingMother and daughter sitting on a couch and talking

7

Do tampons hurt?

Reassure your daughter that using a tampon will not hurt – nor will it mean that she’ll lose her virginity.

Tampons can be used safely by any girl on her period and are particularly useful for girls who like to hit the water during their period.

If she wants to try a tampon, applicator tampons can often be easier to insert. Talk to her about finding a comfy position – for example, standing with knees slightly bent.

Suggest she watches this video on How to Insert a Tampon.

Family shopping bathroom miscellaneousFamily shopping bathroom miscellaneous

8

Can you flush period products?

No! Too many people still believe pads, tampons, wrappers or applicators can be flushed down the toilet.

Encourage her to Bin It – Don’t Flush It! Flushing period products can cause blockages in the drainage system.

  • Wrap tampon applicator, used tampon or pad in packaging of new product or toilet paper.
  • Put it in the bin.
Two women on swingsTwo women on swings

9 number

Will I get period pains?

While periods themselves don’t hurt, a lot of women experience cramps before, or at the start of, their period. This is caused by the uterus contracting to push out its unneeded lining (the endometrium).

But she doesn’t need to suffer. Read the article Helping Her Manage PMS And Cramps to provide support as and when she needs it.

Always sanitary padAlways sanitary pad

10

What are the right products for me?

Women come in various shapes and sizes, so explain that there are different products to suit different needs – pads with and without wings, tampons with or without applicators, even menstrual cups and period pants.

  • Pads are often the go-to choice when a girl starts her period. Always Ultra pads are great as they provide up to 100% protection, thanks to a special technology that turns liquid into gel – and gel doesn’t leak!
  • It’s easy to choose the right pad size to suit her needs, thanks to the Always My Fit chart (below). This can also be found on the top of each pack and the numbered size is clearly marked on the front.
  • She may have a heavier flow at the start of her period, so she might need to choose a more absorbent pad.
Find Your Fit
Daughter and mother looking at each otherDaughter and mother looking at each other

11

What should I do if I get my period at school?

Help her prepare for it. Give her some period products that she can put in her schoolbag or locker and reassure her that if she does get caught off guard she can talk with a trusted adult or school nurse who should have period products available.

Worst case - she can make a makeshift pad out of toilet paper until she’s able to get a proper pad.

Drawing of a calendar in a notebook shown against a pink backgroundDrawing of a calendar in a notebook shown against a pink background

12

Can I calculate when I'll get my next period?

Not knowing when your period is going to come can be a source of anxiety – especially as, in the first year, they can be quite erratic.

You can help her figure out how many days there are in her menstrual cycle by using our Period Tracker – and make sure she’s prepped with pads and pantyliners just in case.

Take our Puberty & Period Myths Busted Quiz

Quiz

Puberty & Period myths busted

Read the Always Changing & Growing Up Parents

Parent's Guide

Download our Always Changing & Growing Up Parents Guide for more advice on puberty and periods

Watch Your Menstrual Cycle & PeriodsWatch Your Menstrual Cycle & Periods

The menstrual cycle explained in 3 minutes - Watch the video

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