If you’re reading this then you may not have had your first period yet and you’re looking for some honest advice. First up: periods are completely normal and are nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s a natural bodily function that every woman experiences, including your friends. If you’ve not had a period before then they may seem a little daunting, but there’s nothing to be worried about. A period is the time in the menstrual cycle where the uterus sheds its lining and you bleed from your vagina. Everyone’s is different, but most of your girlfriends will be going through the same thing too, so talk openly about it! You may have heard lots myths and rumours, but we’re here to tell you what to really expect from your period and how to deal with them.
Everyone is different
When it comes to periods, it’s important to remember that everyone is different. Whatever your friends may be experiencing might not be what you are, but that’s nothing to worry about. We’ve answered some of the most commonly asked questions to help you get to grips with what to expect.
When do you first get your period?
The most common age that girls get their first period is 12 years old, however it can be any time between the ages of 8 and 16.
How long does a period last?
When you first get your period, it may take a few months for your cycle to settle down and get into a normal rhythm. Periods can last between 3 and 8 days, however they usually last for about 5. Again, this can vary from person to person.
How often do you get your period?
You will usually get your period every 28 days or so (that’s why you might have heard it been called ‘the time of the month’) but they can be more or less frequent than this. Again, this may take a few months to settle down into a regular pattern. If you tend to be bleeding more often than not, it’s best to see a doctor and get some advice.
What sanitary products do people use?
There are so many different sanitary products out there that you’ll definitely be able to find the right thing for you. The most common sanitary products are sanitary pads, tampons, and menstrual cups – we’ll go into more detail about these later.
How much blood do you lose on your period?
You’re likely to lose between 5-12 teaspoons of blood during your period, although some women will lose more blood. The first two days of your period are when you’re likely to have a heavier flow.
How to care for ‘period skin’
Around the time of your period, your hormones are in fluctuation, which means that your skin is likely to change too. Your complexion will vary between oily, dry, and sensitive and will become more prone to breakouts. It can be tempting to reach for every spot-busting, oil-controlling product you can find, but it’s all about balance. And remember, the spots will disappear soon! For when you are experiencing period skin, we’ve got some recommendations to help you get through it. Cleanse your skin with a gentle cleanser such as The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser – this will help to keep your skin balanced and won’t leave it feeling stripped. As an added treatment, we love the Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying & Hydrating White Charcoal Mud Mask. This mask draws all the dirt and impurities out of the skin, whilst still being hydrating. When you really want to tackle those spots, dot them with a targeted treatment such as the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, and remember not to pop them, no matter how tempting it might be!
What is PMS? (And how to deal with it)
PMS stands for Premenstrual Syndrome and is the reason why you tend to feel like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster before your period arrives. PMS can mean that you feel more agitated than usual, your mood can change quite a lot, you might crave certain foods, and you may have body aches. These are all completely normal things to experience, but they can make you feel a bit rubbish. It’s nothing you can’t handle, and we have BEAUTY BAY’S Period Kit To help you through it. This box has all the things you need to help make your period a more pleasant experience. Inside you’ll find a mask, cleanser, and spot treatments to keep your skin happy, organic night pads, refreshing intimate wipes, and a calm balm to help restore some zen into your routine.
How to manage period pain
For most people, period pain comes hand-in-hand with your period. Like PMS, it can be a nuisance, but is completely manageable. Period pain occurs when the muscular wall of the womb contracts to help shed its lining, which can mean you experience painful cramps in your lower stomach area. Period pain can also occur in the back, thighs, and some people experience breast pain. Not everyone gets period pain, and the pain level can alter from one period to the next. It tends to last for about 48-72 hours, when your flow is at its heaviest. If you do experience period pain, don’t suffer unnecessarily! Common painkillers like ibuprofen can ease symptoms, and at BEAUTY BAY HQ we often reach for the BeYou Period Patches and CBD Muscle Balm. The period patches stick to your lower stomach, are discreet, and last for 12 hours, making them ideal for helping to alleviate any pain.
What to use
Sanitary pads are the best starting point for when you first start getting your periods. Sanitary pads are strips of padding that you stick to your underwear to keep them in place. The absorbent material soaks up any period blood after it leaves the vagina. Pads come in different shapes, sizes, and levels of absorbance so you can find the one that’s right for you. They can be used at any time of the day and it’s best to use pads at night (instead of tampons) – there are specific night-time pads that you can use. Our faves are the Grace & Green Day Pads and the Grace & Green Night Pads. You may also come across liners – these are smaller, thinner pads that can be used when your period is very light or when you are using a tampon as extra protection against any leakage.
Tampons are small cylinders of cotton that are inserted inside the vagina to absorb period blood before it leaves the body. There is a thin string at one end that you use to take the tampon out. Like sanitary towels, they come in varying sizes, designs, and absorbencies. There are two types – tampons with a plastic applicator and tampons without an applicator, where you use your fingers to insert. Whichever you prefer is just down to personal preference. Tampons come with instructions and diagrams to help you insert them, and when in place you should barely be able to feel it, hence why so many people choose to use them. Try out the Grace & Green Non-Applicator Tampons, they’re organic and come in varying absorbencies.
With tampons and sanitary towels comes waste, such as the plastic applicator, outer wrapping, and sticky adhesive. Menstrual cups are a reusable, eco-friendly alternative which have become more popular recently. A menstrual cup is a silicone cup that is inserted inside the vagina and collects the blood. They’re reusable, so you can take them out and wash them. Our fave is the BeYou Menstural Cup and they also do a Cup Wash too! Check out our honest review of menstrual cups here.
Honest questions you want to know the answer to
Can anyone tell when I have my period?
No, unless you tell them!
What if I start my period at school or somewhere not at home?
Your periods tend to start after you hit puberty, so there may be other signs to look out for that signal your period might be on the way. You may have started to grow breasts, pubic hair, and might have experienced some vaginal discharge. Carry a sanitary towel around in your bag in case your period comes when you’re not at home. If you get caught off guard, your school office is likely to have some sanitary supplies. If you’re out and about, most health shops, corner shops, and supermarkets stock period supplies.
Can I still play sports and go swimming on my period?
Yes, don’t let periods get in the way of your day-to-day life! Just make sure to wear a tampon when you go swimming.
Is clotting during my period normal?
Experiencing clots in your period blood is totally normal and nothing to worry about. Your period blood may also be different shades such as red, brown and pink. This is also normal at different stages of your cycle.
Can a tampon get lost?
It’s a common myth that tampons can get lost inside you. Just make sure that you have taken your last tampon out before you insert a new one.
What is Toxic Shock Syndrome?
Toxic Shock Syndrome is a very rare condition that can be caused by tampon use. It affects very few people, however you should be aware of it. To avoid TSS, make sure to change your tampon regularly, wash your hands before and after inserting a tampon, alternating between tampons and pads when you’re on your period, and don’t use a tampon that has a higher absorbency than you need.