15 Period Questions Teenage Boys Want Answered

natracare intern george Whether it’s a lack of education from schools or the taboo around periods, the topic seems to be a total minefield for teenage boys. But regardless of gender, we believe that everyone should know about periods. One step towards tackling this and seeing periods as normalised is by openly talking about it.

At Natracare HQ, we were lucky enough to have an intern, George, for a week. We decided to find out – as a teenager – everything and anything he knew about periods! We tested his knowledge, and thankfully had the chance to help fill him in on some knowledge gaps.

What are periods?

George: Once a month when people bleed from down there, and they cry more and eat chocolate.

Let’s get the basics down first, shall we? Periods or menstruation is a part of the menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle is a hormonal cycle that a person’s body goes through to prepare for pregnancy. A menstrual cycle typically lasts around 28 days, and it begins on the first day of a person’s period. A period is when a person bleeds from their vagina as their body releases the lining of their uterus.

How long does a period last?

George: I would say it lasts about a week.

On average, periods last for around 2–7 days, but this can differ for each person. Young people can get their first period at any time from the age of 8, but it usually happens around 12-13, and they will usually continue to get their period every month until they reach menopause, which comes around the age of 50-55. This means that a person will have an average of 451 periods in their lifetime… yay 🙄.

Why is it called a period?

George: Because it’s a period of time?

The word period comes from the Latin word periodos meaning “cycle, circuit, period of time”, which we think is rather fitting.

What do periods feel like?

George: I’ve heard they’re as bad as being kicked in the balls.

How long is a piece of string? It often feels like you would expect – like you are bleeding from your vagina. Every experience of a period varies for different people, from the symptoms that you might feel, to the flow of blood.

There are also different symptoms you might feel thanks to a period, like mood swings and stomach cramps, otherwise referred to as PMS.

Some people find the intensity of these symptoms to be debilitating, halting their productivity at work or school, while others may be able to drink a ginger tea and feel fine. It’s a process of getting to know how your periods work over time, figuring out which symptoms are normal, and how is best to manage them.

like death warmed over gif

Why do people bleed on their period?

George: Because the egg rips some veins?

Thankfully, our veins are not being ripped by our eggs once a month. Actually, the reason why there is blood during periods is that the uterus lining breaks down and bleeds out of the body.

During the menstrual cycle, levels of the hormone oestrogen rise which causes ovulation – the releasing of an egg from the ovaries. The uterus lining then prepares to receive the egg by thickening. After the egg has been released, if the person does not become pregnant, the egg dissolves and hormone levels fall, causing the uterus lining to break down and leave the body as period blood.

why periods bleeding

Is it really just regular blood?

George: I think there’s also some other stuff in there, like discharge.

Menstrual blood may seem alien, maybe even gross (it’s not), to the likes of teenage boys, we understand that. But period blood is entirely harmless. Actually, only about 1 tablespoon worth of “regular” blood is lost in a typical period. Menstrual fluids are made up of the blood and tissue built up on the uterus lining over the course of a menstrual cycle. Period blood can vary in colour, from bright to dark red to brown, even to black – this is normal and is caused by blood reacting with oxygen.

How much blood is there?

George: Too much.

On average, between 3 and 5 tablespoons of menstrual fluid is lost each period but, again, this can vary for everyone. The range of period products available match the changes in menstrual flow during a period, which can be much heavier at the beginning.

too much blood

What’s so bad about ‘day one’?

George: The muscle contractions pushing all the blood out?

Day one is the WORST! Just kidding… kinda. The first day of a period is often when the flow is heaviest and the symptoms are at their most intense. Cramps, fatigue and the feeling of wanting to nest peak. But like most of the answers here, this isn’t necessarily true for everyone.

Why do people get grumpy on their period?

George: Because they’re annoyed that their husbands don’t have periods.

There’s that, and the pain, the blood and the hormones. Seriously though, the flux in our hormone levels can make us more sensitive or argumentative. There’s a drop in oestrogen and progesterone which causes pre-menstrual symptoms like sadness, irritability and anger. Along with the painful symptoms this can cause us to lose our rag a little! Hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle also help us feel on top form during other times, so it does generally balance out as the best and the worst of us.

jess from new girl gif

Do people’s periods sync up when they spend time together, and how?

George: By connecting their Bluetooth?

Somebody’s been watching too much Black Mirror. You may have heard this one through the grapevine. The short answer to this age-old question is “we don’t know”. There have been studies that have found evidence supporting both for and against it, and so the results remain inconclusive for now. But when we find out, we’ll be sure to let you know! In the meantime, at least you know you weren’t alone in thinking we had bluetooth vaginas:


Can people go swimming on their period?

George: Surely the blood will attract sharks if they’re in the sea.

We absolutely can go swimming on our period! In fact, while we’re on our periods we can do anything we would normally do when we aren’t menstruating, swimming is just the start. We might not necessarily feel like swimming if we’re doubled over in pain from stomach cramps, but other than our own willingness, there is nothing stopping us (not even sharks) from perfecting a swan dive or two.

How long do tampons last in the vagina?

George: I would say about a day and a bit. Depending on whether you pee or not.

Tampons are inserted into our vaginas to soak up blood and they should be changed every 4 to 8 hours. They can actually be kept in when we pee, that comes from a different hole! Tampons can come with or without an applicator, which is often made from single-use plastic but can also be made from cardboard or be reusable. Like pads, some tampons are not biodegradable as they contain synthetic fibres and plastics such as rayon. But it is possible to find compostable and biodegradable tampons, too.

What’s the difference between pads and panty liners?

George: Pads are thicker?

Exactly! The biggest difference between pads and panty liners is that pads are thicker and more absorbent. Both of them can be useful for different reasons, depending on how heavy our flow is, where we are in our cycle and what we prefer.

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What actually is a menstrual cup?

George: A cup that collects blood, like a gauntlet you find in haunted houses.

Close enough! Menstrual cups are a reusable period product option. It is very much what it sounds like; a usually silicone, cup that is inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual blood, then taken out, emptied, cleaned and re-inserted. Menstrual cups should be emptied and rinsed at least every 12 hours.

Why would someone choose tampons over pads and vice versa?

George: Because tampons are more discreet?

There are a variety of different period products available for people to use, but what it all comes down to when choosing is personal preference. A lot of people will try a variety of period products throughout their lives to find the one that makes them feel the most comfortable and confident.

she's the man tampon gif


What is a perimenopause?

George: When you stop having periods because of eating too much spicy food.

Oh, George, if only it were as easy as eating a madras to get rid of our periods for good. Perimenopause is when symptoms of menopause have started before your period has stopped. This can go on for months or years and symptoms can include hot flushes, difficulty sleeping and vaginal dryness.

If your period is at the end of a month, say the 29th, would it carry on to the next month?

George: Maybe? I mean the thing that makes the menstruating happen doesn’t have a calendar. I think.

Regardless of the date in the calendar, a menstrual cycle usually lasts around 28 days, so yes, it will carry over to the next month if it falls on the 29th.

So, there you have it! Do you have any more period-related questions? Leave yours in the comments below.

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15 thoughts on “15 Period Questions Teenage Boys Want Answered

  1. Dawn J said:

    What a great lad!
    I’m sending all this to my daughter and sharing where I can. It’s time it was discussed properly not like some curse we endure.
    Thank you

  2. Sophie said:

    Awww I loved this, George gave me a good laugh! It would be really great if you could mention endometriosis as a source of intense period pain it affects 1 in 10 women worldwide and painful periods are its hallmark symptom. It’s not normal to have an intensely painful period or rollercoaster hormonal imbalance, it means something is wrong within the body. Overall, a great post!

    • Natracare said:

      Thanks Sophie! Good advice, we do have resources and information on our blog about endometriosis. We know there needs to be better awareness and support for this very painful issue.

  3. jasmine c said:

    No questions but what an absolutely fabulous Q+A I loved reading it. Are you going to share it on FB?

  4. gowri said:

    Loved it. I will share it with the young girls during their MHM sessions. Thank you for the write up

  5. Brooke said:

    Hi I’m Brooke and I’m gonna tell u my worst period story. So I was on the toilet and I looked down. I saw brownish red stain in my pants ps. I’m 1O. And then the next day I told my mum…. I got my period cause obvs I was bleeding the next day. So yh that’s a confession

    • Leah said:

      It’s perfectly normal to start your period early. I’ve heard of girls starting as early as 8. I didn’t start my period until last year, on Christmas. I’m 15 by the way.

      • Eleanor said:

        I haven’t started my period yet and I’m 13 and everyone else in my school has .

    • Samantha said:

      I got mine when I was in Michigan and my mom was at my house in Wisconsin it was really late at night and i felt this really weird feeling down there so i hurried to the bathroom we were sleeping in the camper in the backyard so i ran inside and saw a red-ish brown-ish color in my underwear i was so embarrassed i called my cousin to come out of the camper to come to the bathroom because its in an emergency when she gave me the panty-linear i put it on and the next morning i was bleeding down my leg i started crying and my cousin had to tell my aunt my aunt treated me like a little baby for the next few days and she also called my mom and told her and when i got back to Wisconsin my mom absoultly freaked out and was so exited for me

  6. Lucfer* said:

    Thx for this so much important info really appreciate this. 🙂
    Would not like to reveal my name as i still viewing it in incognito mode . But still appreciate this work

  7. Ella said:

    What is the worst place to get your period? Just wondering for when I get mine.

    • Natracare said:

      Hey Ella, it’s great that you’re getting prepared for your first period! We recommend carrying period products and an extra pair of underwear and possibly even bottoms with you when you’re at school or out and about. This’ll mean you’re ready for your period when it first arrives, and there won’t be a “worst” place!