First period: Starter kit
Getting your period for the first time can be a bit scary, we've got you covered with everything you need to know when the day comes.
Getting your first period is exciting and terrifying all at the same time. On the one hand, you’re a woman now and that’s just great, while on the other hand… Why?!
Learning more to prepare for your first period is key to having less worries when it does arrive. Here is our first period starter kit so you can relax and handle it like a woman.
When will I get my first period?
The age of first period (aka menarche) ranges between 9-15 years old with an average age of around 12. Although the age of a woman’s first period depends on a number of factors including genetics, environment, physical composition, exercise and nutrition. For example, women with a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) tend to get their periods at a younger age, while female athletes or women who have a lower BMI reach menarche later on.
Signs & Symptoms
For many young girls, other body changes related to puberty will occur before their first period. Signs of an increase in reproductive hormones in the body include:
- Development of breasts
- Appearance of pimples
- Underarm and pubic hair growth
After your first period, you may begin to experience PMS or premenstrual symptoms. Although, this will differ from one girl to another; some girls won’t feel the effects of PMS at first while others may experience symptoms like abdominal cramps, bloating, mood changes and headaches before or during their periods.
Exercising on your period
You don’t have to stop doing what you love to do once you have your period. There are tons of options for staying active throughout your cycle. So, no matter what you like to do, you can find the right feminine hygiene to support you; swimming, hiking, tennis, you name it! Also, exercise helps decrease the occurrence and severity of period symptoms, so stay active.
Starter Kit checklist
Initially, a young woman’s period may be fairly irregular, in other words, you won’t always be able to predict when it comes next. So, it’s a good idea to keep a small period kit with you wherever you go so you don’t have to worry about it arriving unexpectedly in the middle of gym class.
What to pack:
- Tampons, menstrual cup, pads or panty liners (your choice)
- Baby Wipes
- Extra underwear
- A mild pain reliever
Dealing with Accidents
If an accident does happen, don’t worry, accidents happen to everyone! Almost every woman will be able to tell you a story of a time when she didn’t see it coming. The best thing you can do to prevent accidents is pay attention to your body and be prepared (see starter kit checklist). At school, you can confide in a female teacher or school nurse as they’ll know what to do and be more than willing to help you out.
Take your time and always read the instructions and any warnings on feminine hygiene products you choose to use. There are some products such as tampons, when not used properly can have adverse side effects. Read more about sexual health, safety and hygiene tips in our Feminine Hygiene Guide.
When to ask for help or to talk to a doctor
Your first periods will bring a lot of new symptoms that you will not be used to, so it may be hard to tell if what you’re experiencing is normal. Although the most common symptoms can be treated with things you can pick up at the pharmacy, it’s good to remember that some symptoms are not normal and may be signs that you need medical treatment.
Contact your doctor or tell an adult you trust if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Severe pain (making you keel over)
- Very heavy bleeding
- Very early period (before age 9) or late (after 15 years old)
- Extreme acne
- Severe Depression
If your symptoms are keeping you from going to school or participating in daily activities, seek professional help as a doctor will be able to offer you treatments for relief.
Don’t be afraid of your first period. It is a lot like riding a bike, the more you get used to it, the more second nature it will become! Also, take comfort in knowing that millions of women have experienced their periods before you which means there are countless inventions that make this time of the month a lot easier.