Getting your period is normal, healthy and inevitable if you are female. It is one of the most significant and obvious markers of growing up. It means your body is physically ready to get pregnant if you have sex without using a condom or birth control, even if you aren’t emotionally, mentally or financially prepared.
If you are waiting to get your period or have just started menstruating, you probably have questions about all the changes that are happening to your body. It’s important to know what is happening and to get comfortable with the new reality.
Here are the basics
Most people will start to menstruate sometime between the ages of 9 and 16. Everyone is going to start menstruating in their own time. Don’t worry if you start earlier or later than you friends.
The inner lining of your uterus sheds off during your period. Just over half of it is blood, the rest is fluids and soft tissues. If a sperm fertilizes an egg, this blood-rich lining will help to support a growing fetus. If the egg is not fertilized, it dissolves in the fallopian tubes. It is only the size of a dot on an ‘i’ so you won’t even notice it. Soon after the egg is gone, the lining of the uterus separates and leaves the body through the vagina. This is your period.
During menstruation about 4-6 tablespoons of blood and fluid leave the body through the vagina. It usually happens every 21-35 days and takes between 2-7 days. The exact length of time and amount of fluid are different for each girl.
All women are born with thousands of ova (egg cells) already in their ovaries. It is not until puberty that the ova begin to mature and leave the ovaries one at a time. About two weeks before you get your period, an egg leaves the ovary and goes into one of the fallopian tubes. This is called ovulation.
Tracking your Menstrual Cycle
You can keep track of your menstrual cycle on a calendar. This will help you know when to expect your next period. Mark the day on the calendar when your period starts and count how many days pass until the next one. You might even skip your period sometimes. It could just be three weeks all the way up to a few months between periods, especially while you are younger.
If you miss a period when you are older it is generally related to illness or stress, pregnancy or medications. If you miss more than one period and think you might be pregnant please contact us for more information.