When girls on TV get their periods, it’s a whole big ordeal in which their mothers take them out to ice cream, they buy fancy new bras and they finally feel like a woman. But for almost every other teen, myself included, that is so not reality.
The first time I got mine, it was right at the beginning of my first summer at sleep away camp, and I was so embarrassed that I wrote to my Mom and she had to call my counselor to tell her. Not so glamorous, and we all have our awkward stories about our first periods.
But if you haven’t yet gotten yours and are maybe feeling unsure or nervous about what to expect, relax! I have some important tips for how to make that first experience calm and painless.
- Speak Up. I know it’s embarrassing to tell someone, but not doing so will just make you more uncomfortable and less aware of what to do. Every adult woman will understand, and you may even get to bond over it!
- Tell The Doctor. She may have some information for you on what to do and your body.
- Be Prepared. There are a lot of side effects that come with periods, like cramps and moodiness. Be aware of how you’re feeling, and take care of your body – and if you start to cramp, get a heating pad ASAP.
But just as important as how to react to your period is what to do before and after your first one.
Generally, girls get their periods between 13-17, or 2-2.5 years after their breasts start growing. If you’re around that place, you may start to notice that you experience certain symptoms such as bloating, breast tenderness, mood swings or cramps – these may be signs that your first period is coming, so be prepared and carry around a pad in your bag just in case.
Part of the reason why your first period can be so scary is that it marks the beginning of a monthly cycle that seems like a lot of work. When the day comes that your very first period begins, here’s what you need to know about the future:
- A lot of times, periods don’t become regular for up to 2 years, so don’t panic if you don’t get your period for a long time after the first or it never comes on time.
- When your cycle does regulate, it should come about every month, and tracking it can help you to predict the next one.
- Always be prepared with tampons and/or pads on hand – you never know when you or a friend might need one.
- Some people have more pain with their period than others, so keep track of how you feel and consult a doctor if you experience discomfort or pain.
Most importantly, just remember that every woman gets their period, and this is completely natural. So relax, take care of yourself, and you’ll be totally fine.
Last reviewed Nov 24., 2014.