4woman Ladies

Fast Facts

When will I start?

How much blood willthere be?

Is it really blood?

Will my period hurt?

Will I get cramps?

Does menstrual fluidreally smell bad?

What if I am caughtby surprise?

How long will it last?

What is a normal period?

How do you count yourcycle?

Will I have periods therest of my life?

Does having my firstperiod mean that I can get pregnant now?

How do you know whenyou ovulate?

What's this other gunkthat I find in my panties?

Do animals menstruate?

Do girls really get theirperiods together?

Why does PMS make youa bitch?

When will I start?

Girls start their periods when they are anywherebetween nine and sixteen years old, but between eleven and thirteen isprobably the most common time.

How much blood will there be?

Generally your first few periods are pretty light.I was very disappointed that my first period consisted of a few splotchesof sticky brown stuff. Apparently, this is common, and this blotchy stuffis not so much your first period, but an announcement that your periodsare about to start.

Within a couple of years your periods will becomemore regular, and more heavy. How much you bleed can change from monthto month, and some women bleed more than others. The books I have readsay different things, but between 2 tablespoons and one cup of fluid ismy best guess.

Is it really blood?

I call menstrual fluid "blood" eventhough I know its not really blood. It is the broken down lining of thewomb, the endometrium, so it is partially blood, but it also includes wombbits and vaginal secretions. The blood colors everything red and brown.

Will my period hurt?

Maybe. The bleeding is not painful in itself,but cramps that sometimes come with your period can be painful.

Will I get cramps?

A girl's first several periods are often whatare called anovular - this means you are menstruating but not ovulating,there is no egg being produced. These periods tend to be light, irregularand often painless. Sometimes they are not, though. Periods are very individual.You might get cramps your first time.

Does menstrual fluid really smell bad?

It definitely has an odor. Menstrual fluid startsto smell when it is in contact with air. So a pad you have been wearingall day at school can get pretty strong smelling. Also, you might findthat the fluid that comes at the end of your period has a stronger smellthan the more liquid flow at the beginning.

You may be able to smell your menstrual fluid,but don't worry, other people will not. Think about it, have you ever smelleda woman's menstrual blood when standing near her? Probably not, even thoughthere are menstruating women everywhere you go.

Wash with mild soap and water every day of yourperiod if you are worried about it.

What if I am caught by surprise?

Everyone is caught by surprise the first time,there is no way around it unless you wear a pad every day for a year ortwo. Don't panic! For most girls, her first period is more like a stainthan a flood, so you should have some time to figure out what you are goingto do.

(here are some suggestionsfor what to do if you're taken by surprise)

How long will it last?

You could bleed anywhere from two to seven days.Each day is a little different, though, and the last few days are generallyvery light. For instance, my period is five days long, which is prettyaverage. The first two days I bleed a lot and have cramps. On the thirdday it just stops, every time. When it starts up again on the fourth dayit is heavy for a couple of hours, then it is very light for the next dayand a half.

What is a normal period?

If you have just started your period, expect itto be irregular. Sometimes a girl will have her first period, and thennot bleed again for a few months. This is normal. Your periods should becomemore or less regular within a year or so. Regular does not mean you startyour period on the same day of every month, it means each of your cyclesis roughly the same length.

Any cycle length is normal as long as it is alwaysabout that long. Books often say a menstrual cycle is 28 days long, butthat is just a convenient average. A cycle may be 19 days long or 40 dayslong. What is regular for you is normal. The only thing to be concernedabout is if your period never becomes regular.

How do you count your cycle?

The first day you bleed, even the tiniest bit,is day 1 of your cycle, and you count each day until day1 of your nextperiod. That is the length of that month's cycle. If you start keepingtrack on a calendar, you will find that you can see a pattern. If yourlast cycle was 25 days long, you can look at the date you started thismonth, say it was the 15th, and you can predict that next month you willstart around the 10th of the month

Will I have periods the rest of my life?

No, when you are about 50 you go through menopause,the end of menstruation. . Also, you don't have your period when you arepregnant, and breast feeding can stop it for a while longer. If you becomevery sick or if you are not eating enough your period might stop as well.

Does having my first period mean that I can getpregnant now?

Yes, no and maybe. Certainly one of the thingsyour first period means is that your body is becoming sexually mature,but that's not all it means.

The best bet, whatever the situation, is to alwaysassume that you can become pregnant. Girls have become pregnant beforethey have their first period. This is possible because ovulation, the releaseof the egg, comes two weeks before your period. A girl could ovulate, havesex and become pregnant without ever having her first period.

On the other hand, a girl's first year or so ofperiods are often anovular - without ovulation. If you are not producingeggs, you cannot become pregnant. But it is difficult to tell if you areovulating or not, especially when you first start your period. This isnot something to guess about!!!!

Also, there is a myth that you cannot get pregnantif you have sex when you are menstruating. This is not true. Always assumethat you will get pregnant if you have sex without using birth control.

How do you know when you ovulate?

There are many little clues that you are ovulating,but none of them are very reliable. You start to recognize your own personalclues by paying attention to your cycle. Some women feel tiny twinges onone side of their belly or the other. Your sense of smell and sight maybe more sharp than usual. Your vagina gives off slick, stretchy dischargewhen you are most fertitle.

Another way to tell is to take your body temperatureevery morning before you get out of bed, and keep a record of it. It risesa little around ovulation and stays high until your period begins. Thisis a method that women who are trying to get pregnant use to figure outwhen they are most fertile.

The best way to tell is after the fact: countbackward 14 days from when your period starts, and that day was the dayyou ovulated.

What's this other gunk that I find in my panties?

A healthy woman gives off a variety of differentsecretions (gunk) throughout the month. Menstruation is only the most obvious.Your vaginal secretions vary depending on where you are in your cycle.You probably give off the most around ovulation, and this is slick andstretchy, like egg white. At other times it is thicker and less clear

You should only be worried about a secretion,also know as discharge, if it smells really bad, if there seems to be toomuch of it, or if it makes you itchy or burns. In these cases, you probablyhave a vaginal infection, and need to see a gynecologist


Do animals menstruate?

Only humans, apes and some monkeys menstruate.Other mammals like dogs and cats sometimes will bleed a little when theyare in heat, which is when they ovulate and mate, but they do not havemenstrual cycles. Having a menstrual cycle means you do not go into heat.Because of this, humans can mate whenever they want, and have babies atany time of the year.

Do girls really get their periods together?

Yes, research has proven what women have alwaysknown: that women who live together often get their periods within a fewdays of each other. What's interesting is that it seems that friendshipmatters more than how near they are to each other. In college dorms wherethey did the experiments, all of the women lived close to each other, butit was friends whose periods synchronized (matched up). This is calledmenstrual synchronization.

Why does PMS make you a bitch?

It doesn't necessarily. One of the symptoms ofPMS is mood swings or irritability. But PMS might just make your face breakout, or make you cry at Hallmark commercials.

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