You’ve probably heard your older sister or friends talk about “getting their periods” and using “pads and tampons”.
And you’re probably asking yourself what is a period?
Asking questions is a great place to start! The more you learn about your body, the more you will be prepared for your period!
By the end of this post, you will know what it means to start puberty, what a period is, why we get periods, why we bleed, and whether or not you’ll have your period forever.
Puberty is a phase of change your body goes through where your body reaches sexual maturity. In other words, you become capable of reproduction, or having babies. Having a period is a big part of being able to do this.
When you reach around ages 8 to 12, your body starts to change and you go through puberty.
For girls, puberty includes developing boobs (breasts), a growth spurt (increase in height, widening of hips), growing armpit and pubic hair, secreting vaginal discharge (a clear whitish fluid), and getting your period.
Your body works in an amazing way. Every month, your body goes through a complex cycle called the menstrual cycle (or period cycle). This cycle happens so that you can have a baby one day if you want to.
Your period, the days that you bleed, are only one part of this cycle.
On average a menstrual cycle is about 28 days. But not every girl in the world has a 28 day cycle. Some girls will have shorter cycles, some girls will have longer cycles and this is completely normal.
Your period cycle is driven by hormonal changes in your body. You don’t have to fully understand hormonesto understand your period. Just know that there are hormonal changes happening in your body throughout the period cycle.
This cycle is complex but luckily for us, it is a self regulating cycle. You don’t really have to do anything. Your body goes through this cycle by itself month after month after month!
Every cycle, your ovaries release an egg. This process of releasing an egg is called ovulation.
It’s not a giant egg like the chicken eggs we see in supermarkets. It’s actually called an ovum and it is super tiny, only about the size of the tip of your pencil!
Every cycle your body prepares a special lining in your uterus just in case you become pregnant. This lining is called the endometrial lining and it is a soft spongy lining of tissue and blood to nourish and protect a growing baby.
If you do not become pregnant, your body sheds the endometrial lining and it leaves through your vagina. This is your period!
Your period is a mixture of the endometrial lining and blood. Remember the endometrial lining is soft tissue. That’s why sometimes your period looks clumpy and this is completely normal.
Your period doesn’t come out all at once. It leaves your body through the course of 5-7 days. Some days the period flow will be heavier and some days it will be lighter.
After your period is over, the cycle starts all over again. Your body releases and egg, your body prepares a new lining, and if you don’t become pregnant, then you shed the lining and get your period…. and this goes on and on and on every month!
The good news is no….but most women have their periods from puberty until they are about 50 years old. At around this age your body will go through another change called menopause. This is when your ovaries stop releasing eggs.
But don’t worry about menopause! After all, you just started your period!
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