Are you or a loved one due to have their first period? Whether it’s knowing your PMS symptoms or understanding what your period blood is telling you, periods can be difficult to navigate – especially your first one! Puberty can be an emotional time and change is always hard.
At Natracare HQ, we thought back to our first periods and the things we wish we’d known, so that we could tell you before you start yours!
1. Periods don’t last forever
“I used to think that once you got your period, that was it – you bled straight through until menopause.”
We’re beyond grateful that this isn’t true. In fact, the average period length is between 2 and 7 days, although this can vary from person to person. Your period is just one part of a longer cycle which is usually around 28 days long. The other phases of this cycle don’t typically involve bleeding.
2. PMS can be a helpful tool
“After I had my first period, I was terrified that it could arrive at any time, unannounced – I thought I might need to wear a pad all month around. I wish I knew that there would be some indication.”
When you’re about to come on, it’s likely that slight changes in your body and mood will signal that your period is coming – this is called Pre-menstrual Syndrome (PMS). Signs your period is due might include dull abdominal and lower back pain, a feeling of fatigue, a larger appetite than normal, a change in discharge, spotting, a general feeling that your period is about to arrive or any of the symptoms on this list. Our top tip is to wear a panty liner when you start to notice these changes, just in case your period is about to start.
3. You CAN swim on your period
“I wish I knew I could swim on my period. In school we had swimming lessons which I loved, but I missed out a lot whenever I was on my period.”
You read that right – you can, in fact, go swimming on your period! Now you know, you’ll never miss a chance to show off your swan dive again!
4. Irregularity is normal
“When I was 12, I remember being worried because I didn’t get my period exactly every 28 days like the magazines, school nurse, etc. said I would.”
Having irregular periods, especially when you first start, isn’t something to worry about. Our bodies often take some time getting used to our menstrual cycle, so don’t be alarmed if at first you find it difficult to keep track of your due dates. Other factors like stress, your diet and exercise routine can also impact on the regularity of your period, so it’s a good idea to keep track of how you’re feeling in yourself with a period tracker app.
5. Period leaks happen, and that’s ok!
“I wish someone had warned me just how much of a crime scene waking up after leaking can be.”
Period leaks during the night are more common than you might think. This is especially the case when you’re new to periods – you’re still getting to grips with it all! It’s annoying (especially if it happens when you’re wearing your favourite pyjamas) but it’s certainly nothing to be embarrassed about. If you want to avoid the extra clean up, or if leaking is interrupting your sleep, here are some tips to stop period leaks at night.
6. Your periods are nothing to be ashamed of
“I wish I knew that periods can and should be celebrated! When my daughter started hers we did a celebratory dance of the dawn of womanhood in her bedroom.”
Your period is a completely natural process, and it can also be a really positive experience that allows you to be more in tune with your body and what it’s telling you. There is no reason for you to feel ashamed of your body or your period.
7. Period products are a personal choice
“I wish I knew that there’s no right or wrong when it comes to which period products you choose. A girl at school laughed at me for using non-applicator (also called digital) tampons, saying it was gross. I felt so embarrassed that I switched to applicator tampons even though digital was working fine for me!”
Your period, your body, your choice! It may take a while to figure out which type of period product works best for you. You might even prefer to use a combination of products based on where you are on your period or what you’re doing that day. Here’s a breakdown of cruelty-free feminine hygiene products to help you choose. No matter which products you reach for each month, remember that your choice is valid, and isn’t really anybody else’s business.
Is there anything that’s been worrying you that we haven’t covered in this blog? Let us know in the comments below!