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Menstruation 101

What are periods/menstruation?

Periods are a natural body function that allow women to get pregnant and have babies. During your periods, blood from the uterus (womb) passes through the vagina and out of the body. Periods are totally normal and healthy!

Why do girls get periods? 

Periods are part of the reproductive system. The reproductive system is made up of the body parts that enable people to have children.

Every menstrual cycle, the lining of your uterus prepares for a fertilised egg by becoming thick with blood and tissue. If an egg is fertilised by sperm, the fertilised egg implants into this lining and grows into a baby. But if there is no fertilised egg, then the lining is shed through your vagina.

When will I get my first period?

Girls' periods usually begin between the ages of 9–15, about two years after their breasts start to develop.

Women usually stop having periods between the ages of 45 and 55.

How much blood will I lose?

It may seem like a lot, but it is only around three tablespoons in total. Most girls and women begin with a heavier flow at the start of their period and end with a lighter flow.

What if I don't have a sanitary product on me and I am far from home?

If a female teacher or friend can't help, you can fold tissue or toilet paper together to make a temporary pad and use it in your underwear. This won't last for long, but can help until you find something more suitable.

Will anyone know I am on my period?

No. Unless you decide to tell, no one will know that you are on your period as there are no signs of menstruation visible to anyone else. However, It is a good idea to tell family or a friend if it is your first period and you need help.

How long will my period last?

Periods usually last between two and seven days but can be longer.

Can I go to school and play sports?

Yes! There is no reason why you should stay away from school or stop playing sports as usual. Just make sure you carry sanitary products with you in case you need to change them during the school day.

I haven't started my period yet! What should I do?

We are all different and our bodies develop at different rates. This is nothing to be alarmed about and speaking to a female teacher may help you to understand what is happening. Only consider seeing a doctor if you are over 16 years old and your period still hasn't started; if your period routine lasts for seven days or more; or if your period begins and then stops suddenly.

What is the difference between disposable pads and cloth pads?

Disposable pads are used once and then thrown away, while cloth pads can be used, washed and reused once they are dry.

Do I need to see a doctor when I start menstruating?

No. Menstruation is normal and natural.

My periods don't come once a month like the other girls. What should I do?

The number of days between your periods may vary, especially during the first few years of menstruation. This is normal and healthy. If you have internet access and a smart phone, you can track and learn how to predict your menstrual cycle through the OKY app.

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