Periods mark a new life stage for many in their tween or teen years. Some of them are excited to get their first period, talking about it with friends and wondering when it'll ever show up. Others are more apprehensive about their journey and may worry about what to expect. We totally get it! Regardless of where your child falls on this spectrum, we hope our period guide will help them know what to expect.
How Long Is the First Period?
One of the first things a tween usually asks is how long their first period will last. The first period, as well as many following ones, won't last very long. It may only last a couple of days, although it could last up to seven! It'll take about two years for the body to regulate periods and for the person to know how long their average cycle is. The very first period is usually very light and does not show much blood at all. Once periods become regular, the person with their period will lose about 3-5 tablespoons per cycle.
What Are the Phases of the Period Cycle?
Most people consider the period the only part of the period cycle, but there are actually many phases in the cycle:
- Menstrual Phase - The first stage of the cycle is the period. This occurs when you don't become pregnant and the body releases the unneeded thick uterus lining.
- Follicular Phase - This begins the first day of the period, creating some phase overlap. It occurs when the pituitary gland receives the signal to release follicle-stimulating hormone, which produces 5-20 immature eggs!
- Ovulation Phase - During ovulation, the pituitary gland releases luteinizing hormone. The ovary releases the mature egg, which travels to the uterus to wait for fertilization. Elevated body temperature and thicker discharge may indicate the ovulation phase, which occurs about halfway between two periods.
- Luteal Phase - The luteal phase releases progesterone and estrogen to re-thicken the uterine lining in case of pregnancy. It will shrink and become re-absorbed if there is no pregnancy. As you may be familiar with, this is also when PMS symptoms occur!
What Are PMS Symptoms?
We hear it all the time but what does PMS really mean? One of the first things many ask is "What are signs that your period is coming?" Some people never have many PMS symptoms, while others get them so intensely that they sometimes need to miss work or school. Some possible signs that you're about to start your period can include bloating, breast pain, headache, insomnia, food cravings, and changes in mood. Some people also feel changes in sexual desire or weight gain The PMS phase typically lasts about two weeks but is most severe in the final few days before bleeding begins.
What Does Your First Period Look Like?
Everybody's first period is different! For most people, the first one is very light and may appear to be a brownish-red color. Don’t worry! This is completely normal and occurs because the flow of the first period is typically not very heavy.
When our teens know what to expect of their first periods, it makes the transition into this new phase more comfortable and less scary. Teach your teen the importance of using all natural pads or organic tampons. Avoiding chemicals near the body is not only good for your personal health but better for the environment. Just as self care should be!