Periods

Girls are born with thousands of eggs inside their ovaries. When you reach puberty, an egg is released every month.

The egg moves along the fallopian tube to your womb.The womb is where a baby would grow if the egg was fertilised by sperm from a man.Your womb gets ready for a possible pregnancy each month and its lining becomes thick and soft. If the egg is not fertilised, the lining and egg pass out of your body. This is called a period. On average you lose about two tablespoons of blood each period. The length of a period is different for everyone. Don’t worry if your friend’s lasts for a week while yours only lasts for a couple of days or the other way around. The age at which you first start your periods also varies. The most usual time is about a year after your breasts begin to grow. For the first year or so many of you may find that your period doesn’t happen exactly every four weeks. This usually settles into a more regular pattern.

WHAT DO I WEAR DURING MY PERIOD?

There are a number of feminine hygiene products available which absorb blood. Decide on one which suits you: sanitary pads or tampons, whichever you find the most comfortable. Most pads are attached to your pants either by a sticky strip or by tabs which are bent into place. They soak up the blood as it leaves your body. Tampons fit inside your vagina and expand gently to fit your shape. They absorb the blood before it leaves your body. They have a small string attached to them so they can be removed easily. You may want to start off with pads as they are easier to use. Using tampons may require some practise as you will have to learn how to put one inside your vagina. Many girls and women prefer to use tampons because once they are inserted they cannot be felt at all. Use a pad instead of a tampon overnight. It is easy to forget you’re wearing a tampon, especially first thing in the morning and you may forget to change it. If you choose tampons make sure they’re kept clean and dry. To prevent infection always wash your hands before putting one in or taking one out. Change your pad or tampon regularly, every four hours if you possibly can. It’s unhygienic to leave them for longer. Always dispose of your pads or tampons safely and hygienically read the packet first.

PERIOD PROBLEMS

Many girls have no problems with their periods-they are a normal healthy process. However, each month you may notice other changes to your body. Some young girls and women notice that they get more spots than usual and that their hair gets greasier- especially just before the start of your period. Your tummy may also feel slightly fuller and tender as more fluid is being kept inside your body. But nobody else will notice this. Some girls may occasionally feel pain or discomfort in their stomach. Period pain or ‘cramps’ can be relieved by a number of methods. These range from simple stretching exercises, relaxing in a warm bath, curling up with a hot water bottle, to taking mild pain killers. If they are quite sore you could ask a doctor who may be able to give you something to ease the pain. But it is unusual for them to be this painful. You may even feel slightly tired and moody round about this time which comes as no surprise considering what changes are going on inside your body! It’s perfectly normal to feel like this. For more information please download this leaflet: http://www.healthscotland.com/documents/3433.aspx