Everything You Need to Know About Periods
Whether your periods have just started, you’ve been having them for a good few years, or still on the onset, chances are there are numerous menstrual mysteries that are yet unsolved. And when you begin to look for the answers, you probably end up getting confused for there is too much to consume on the internet. If you’re in the same boat, fret not as we’ve narrowed down the most crucial information about periods in the simplest manner possible. In this ultimate period guide, we attempt to answer all your questions related to menstruation. Before going through these FAQs, check out a video on “Periods” to help understand it better!
Period Questions Answered
Q1. What is puberty?
A1. Puberty is the phase where girls and boys start becoming sexually mature. For girls, it usually happens between 10 and 15 whereas for boys, it is somewhere between 12 and 16. The body starts experiencing significant changes, such as pubic hair and acne, and some symptoms vary between the two genders. For instance, breast development in girls and voice becoming hoarse in boys.
Q2. What is a period and what causes them?
A2. Period is a monthly cycle where a woman’s body releases tissue, which it no longer requires. This tissue is present in the uterus and it is where the baby develops. Each month, the uterus lining becomes thick to prepare for pregnancy, but when it doesn’t happen, the lining breaks down and is released in the form of blood. This cycle keeps recurring every month and is termed as period, aka menstruation.
Q3. When will I start my period?
A3. Period cycles usually start somewhere between 12 to 14 years of age, but some girls can experience them a year or two sooner or later. It depends from one girl’s body to another and is completely normal.
Q4. How long do periods last?
A4. The average length of period is three to seven days, so as far as you fall in this category, there is nothing to worry about. However, if your period cycle is shorter or longer, you should consult a gynecologist.
Q5. Is it OK to have a bath or shower when I have my period?
A5. Taking a bath or shower is not only OK, but must for all women during their period. Taking shower helps maintain hygiene, keeping you fresh during those days of the month.
Q6. How much blood do I lose during my period?
A6. Usually, a girl loses about 30-40 millilitres of blood, which is about two to three tablespoons during this period. As the days pass, the quantity of blood released automatically starts to reduce.
Q7. How often will I get my period?
A7. You will most probably get your period once every month. An average menstrual cycle is usually about 28 days, but can vary anywhere between 21 and 35 days, from the first day of your period to the first day of your next period.
Q8. What is the difference between periods and spotting?
A8. If you’ve been bleeding for a while now, you would know the difference between your regular bleeding and spotting. Spotting can happen due to numerous reasons like irregular timing, injuries, ovulation or a result of birth control medicine. Sometimes, it is completely normal and can happen one day before or after your period.
Q9. Is clotting normal during your period?
A9. Yes, a lot of women experience clotting during periods and it’s completely normal. It may be a little painful and uncomfortable, resulting in more cramps, but it’s a natural process.
Q10. What if I am having heavy bleeding?
A10. Heavy bleeding is normal, especially in the first few days, but in case you need to change your pad or tampon every hour, you may be experiencing severe bleeding. In this case, you need to visit a doctor to find out if there are some other underlying health issues. There’s nothing to worry about as most of these problems can be treated with medication.
Q11. What if I have irregular periods?
A11. Irregular periods are common especially in the first one to three years. Gradually, the cycles become more stabilized. But if the cycles still remain irregular i.e., less than 21 days or more than 35 days, it’s time to fix an appointment with your doctor.
Q12. Does having a period cause pain or discomfort?
A12. Period can be a bit uncomfortable with symptoms like pain and cramping. However, if the pain becomes too much to tolerate, you should consult a doctor.
Q13. Why is it a good idea to track my period?
A13. From potential diagnosis, to knowing your fertile days, to indicating your overall health, keeping a track of your menstrual cycle can help you significantly. It can also help you determine your sex drive and manage your mood during the not so good mood days. Last but not the least; it can help you plan some important dates, social gatherings and vacations.
Q14. How can I track my period on a calendar?
A14. You can always keep a small pocket calendar with you at all times and mark the date when you get your period. This way, you can anticipate the date of your period the next month. Alternatively, you can also use our easy to use free period tracker tool to map your cycle.
Q15. Is vaginal discharge normal when I’m not having my period?
A15. A girl’s body usually starts releasing some kind of vaginal discharge about 6 months to 1 year before her first ever period due to changing hormones. This is totally normal and in fact helps maintain hygiene.
Q16. What if my discharge looks or smells funny?
A16. Normally, the colour of discharge ranges from white to somewhat off white. However, if the colour is somewhat unusual with lumps and strong smelly odour, it may be a signal of some underlying condition.
Q17. What is PMS?
A17. Premenstrual syndrome aka PMS is a series of physical and emotional changes that a lot of women go through a week or before their period. It is truly not a big deal with minor symptoms, such as tender breasts, acne, or mood swings, and usually goes away as your period starts. If you still want to manage it, you can always opt for some quick and easy ways, like eat right, exercise, or sleep tight.
Q18. How are pads used?
A18. Most of the sanitary pads available in the market have a sticky cover at the bottom. All you have to do is strip off the cover and gently press the pad onto the crotch of your panty. If you’ve invested in pads with wings, you can wrap the wings around the bottom of the crotch to ensure proper placement of the pad. Once the pad is used, pull it off from the panty, roll it properly in the wrapper, and dispose of the pad.
Q19. How often should I change my pad?
A19. The duration of keeping on a pad really depends on the amount of blood flow and absorbency. But no matter what, you should certainly change your pad every 4-6 hours. On heavy flow days, you should look for a pad that has high absorbency and on light flow days, you can choose a less absorbent pad too.
Q20. When will I stop having my period for good?
A20. Most women get periods till their late 40s or early 50s, until they hit menopause. However, for some women, menopause can happen some years sooner or later down the line.
Now that you’ve gathered ample information about periods, you might want to take a quick look at some fast facts about the same.
4 Facts About Periods
1.You can get pregnant on your period:
This is probably one of the most common myths that certainly needs to be debunked. Sperm can live in your body for about five to six days, so you might want to be mindful about that. While the possibility is very less, you still must get your facts straight.
2.You menstruate for about 10 years in your life:
Wait, what? Yes! A woman menstruates for about 400 to 450 times in a year, which equates to about 3000 to 3500 days on an average. So, in a nutshell, you literally spend about a decade of your life on periods. That said, you got to make your experience a happy one.
3.You don’t lose a lot of blood during periods:
All those used pads can stress us on the amount of blood lost during a period. However, it’s not really true. Your body loses an average of three tablespoons of blood during one cycle. On heavy flow days, it might seem like a lot, but the reality is far from this.
4.You consume about 15,000 period products in your life:
Like we mentioned earlier, women menstruate for about 3000 to 3500 days in a lifespan. And considering you have to change your pads every 4-6 hours, you end up using about 12,000 to 15,000 pads or tampons in your life, unless you’re using a menstrual cup.
So, ladies, now that you’ve gathered significant information about periods, it’s time to bid adieu to myths and say hello to periods. Happy chumming!