All About Menstruation

Girls at your age talk a lot about menstruation also known as periods. But what exactly is a period and what makes it happen?

Your first period is called menarche, when menstruation occur there will be bleeding from the vaginal area every 21-28 days, due to hormonal changes that help in preparing for pregnancy and conception in the future. Your period is the 2 to 7 days that a girl or woman experiences menstrual flow of blood that leaves the body through the vagina, to prevent this blood from staining your clothes you wear a pad which sticks to your underwear, with the importance of changing it frequently as needed.

What goes on Inside?

In the first half of the menstrual cycle, estrogens levels start to rise. Estrogen plays an important role in keeping you healthy, especially by helping you to build strong bones. Estrogen also makes the lining of the uterus (womb) grow and thicken. This lining of the womb is a place that will nourish the embryo if a pregnancy occurs. At the same time the lining of the womb is growing, an egg, or ovum, in one of the ovaries starts to mature. At about day 14 of an average 28-day cycle, the egg leaves the ovary to the uterus via the fallopian tube. This is called ovulation.

in case the egg was not fertillzied, shedding of the endometrium will occur which will lead to menstrual bleeding. 

What's a Cycle?

When people talk about the periods, menstrual cycle or monthly cycle, they usually mean the 2-7 days when blood and tissue leaves the body through the vagina. But the menstrual cycle is a process that takes about a month. A normal menstrual cycle for girls and teens ranges from 21 to 45 days. At most, only a week of the cycle involves blood exiting the body.

When Periods Start

Most girls have their first period between ages of 10 and 15 years old, some girls will have their period as early as 9 years of age or as late as 16 years, so it is different from one female to another, every girl will have her period when her body is ready.

What If My Periods Are Irregular?

Usually periods stick to a regular schedule, the entire cycle takes the same number of days, but the first year of having your periods, your periods are usually irregular and hardly predicted. So always try to track your periods on a calendar because after a while your periods starts to be regular and predictable. 

If your period is occurring more often than every 20 days or less often than 45 days, you have to consult a doctor.   

What about Cramps?

If you have minor pain, you can take over-the-counter pain killer like ibuprofen. Other things you can do that may help with your cramps include:

  • Mild regular exercise
  • use heating pads on your lower abdomen

If this did not work out for you and you are still in pain or if your period prevents you from going to school, you should check with your doctor.

What about mood changes?

Hormone changes can cause girls’ mood to be unstable, you might feel more sad or irritable before your period starts. Being physically active is a natural mood lifter, so regular exercise often helps, also being on a healthy diet by limiting caffeine intake and consuming less sugar and getting enough sleep will help in mood elevation.