Welcome to woman-hood, Moxette! If you’re yet to experience your first period, it’s likely that you’re not far off, if you’re reading this... In fact, the average age for the onset of menstruation is around 10 or 11 years old, but anywhere between the ages of 8 and 16 is also considered normal.
No matter what age you are, your first period can be daunting, especially when it’s all new and not something you’ve had to worry about or deal with before. Once you get to know your body and your preferences for period management, things should get a heap easier. Don’t sweat, Moxette – we’ll have you managing your monthly visitor like a boss in no time! Here are some of the basics…
What to expect the first time:
A lot of us think that our first period is going to come gushing out of our vaginas in a big rush of blood. Whilst we have seen it happen before, it’s seems a lot rarer than what more commonly tends to happen, which is just a bit of spotting (which, the first time, usually looks like brown discharge). You will likely experience the symptoms of puberty prior to when you get your first period, which are a sign that your period is on the way - your breasts will start to develop, you'll start to get body hair in places you didn't before (underarms and pubic area) and you'll likely grow taller, too!
What does it feel like?
You may experience some cramping or discomfort in your tummy, but otherwise the bleeding part itself shouldn’t be painful. A lot of women explain it as feeling like a trickling sensation.
What products should I use?
A thin panty liner or a pad, changed regularly (to suit your flow and comfort level) will help keep things in order for your first time. There are lots of different products out there to help absorb menstrual flow, including tampons, which are a little device about the size of your pinky finger, that's inserted inside the vagina and absorbs your flow inside the body - unlike pads, which sit inside your undies and absorb flow outside of the body. It might take a bit of trial and error to figure out what works for you and what you like best.
Learn more about period products HERE
Check out our first period kit HERE with a selection of goodies to help you figure out what best suits your needs.
How often does it happen?
A menstrual cycle lasts on average 28 days, but some women will experience slightly shorter or longer cycles, too. This doesn’t mean that you will bleed for 28 days straight! It means that the bleeding part will happen around every 28 days (counting the first day of your last period as day 1).
That said, some women may find that they get their first period and then nothing for a few months. This is considered to be normal and is just your body’s way of adjusting – it should find its own rhythm in a few months.
How long will it last?
Your period could last anywhere between 2 – 8 days. It’s generally heavier in the first few days, but should get lighter towards the end of it. You may also find that you like to use different products at different times to suit your flow.
How much blood will I lose?
Probably a lot less than you think! During your period, you’ll lose about 2 – 7 tablespoons of blood – the rest is just mucus and discharge. (If you think you’re experiencing super heavy periods, we recommend visiting a trusted doctor).
HELP! My skin has broken out and I feel really irritable!!
Ah, the joys of woman-hood. This is what they call pre-menstrual syndrome, or PMS. It’s a combination of physical and emotional symptoms that women may experience during their menstrual cycle, and can include things like
irritability or mood swings, skin breakouts, headaches and bloating, to name a few. It all tends to subside once your period is over.
How will I know what’s “normal”?
‘Normal’ means different things to different people. The info provided here is just a guide based on averages, but some women will experience things relating to their period outside of these stats. If you think something is amiss (like, if your periods are really painful, or super heavy, or if your period comes too early or too late), then we strongly recommend visiting a trusted doctor. Most often than not it’s nothing to worry about, but it’s always worth getting checked out for peace of mind!
What is Toxic Shock Syndrome?
Toxic Shock Syndrome, or TSS, is a serious but a very rare disease that is caused by bacteria. It is more common in women who are menstruating and use tampons, though there is no scientific evidence to suggest that tampons themselves cause TSS. If you're a tampon user, regularly changing your tampon, and ensuring that you only use the lowest absorbency possible for your flow can help prevent TSS. TSS is generally nothing to worry about for most women, but it is important to always read, follow and keep the instructions that are provided in tampon packs. You can learn more about TSS HERE and HERE.
You can expect to get your period for quite some time, Moxette. Women will generally experience their period until they reach menopause, which happens at around 50 -55 years old (but don’t worry about that just yet, we’ll talk about that some other time!).
In the meantime, the best thing you can do is be kind to yourself and your body and remember that self-care is important, especially when you might be experiencing some of these classic period dramas! Have a warm bath, snack on some of your favourite chocolate and just do what makes you feel good!
* * * * * * * * * * * *
We’ve put together a specially curated ‘Welcome to Periods!’ Box with a heap of Moxie must-haves to help you curb all the period drama that can come with a first period. Think super cute knickers, a mini hot water bottle, chocolate, and of course, your choice of Moxie period products. Find out more HERE