A period is part of a body cycle, known as a menstrual cycle, where a girl or woman bleeds from her vagina for a few days each month. Girls usually start their period between the ages of 11 and 17, although sometimes they can start earlier or later. Every month an egg is released (ovulation), this along with the lining of the womb makes its way through the vagina which makes the period. A period usually lasts between 2 to 7 days where you will have to use sanitary products (towels or tampons) to catch the blood produced.
It may be a good idea to keep a diary with a note of when you get your period, most girls get them every 4-5 weeks however some are very irregular. It is good to keep a note so you can try and work out when your next period may be due. It’s also a good idea to keep some protection with you, either towels or tampons and some clean underwear just in case your period starts when you’re not expecting it. Throughout your period the blood might look very different, it might be watery or thick, red or brown, this is all normal.
You may experience some cramping and other symptoms such as mood swings, low mood and bloating, but again this is perfectly normal and worth talking to a trusted adult about if you feel it is getting too much to handle.
Even if you have not started your period, if you’re having sex you can still get pregnant and catch sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so remember to always stay protected. To speak to specially trained staff in confidence, young people aged 20 and under can access young people drop-in clinics.