A Helpful Healthy Chats Q&A… Just for Girls

Q: What exactly happens when I have my period?

A: The inside of the uterus is cushioned with a layer of blood and tissue. If this lining is not needed to nurture a growing baby, your body sheds the lining (that blood and tissue), which leaves the body through the vagina. It takes approximately 2 to 7 days for all the bloody fluid to leave your body. Every female gets her period – it happens in all mammals.

Q: How can I prepare for my first period?

A: Make sure that you have liners or pads readily available at home and make a period kit to have at school that you can keep in your backpack, purse or locker. It won’t take up much room – a small bag with a few liners and pads, a clean pair of panties, maybe some cleansing wipes and a plastic bag for your soiled panties.

Q: I have not started my period yet but I’ve been noticing white sticky stuff in my panties a lot . Does this mean my period is coming?

A: Yes, a clear vaginal discharge may start about six months before you have your period. This discharge is the body’s way of cleansing itself. In some girls it is more noticeable than in others. You can simply wear a panty liner when this happens.

Q: I get brown gooey stuff in my panties. The last time it was for 6 days. Can this be my first period or a sign that it is coming?

A: Every girl’s period starts differently. You may not see red blood the first few times and you may skip a few months and then spot a little or bleed a little more. Things start out irregular at first but you will have a normal cycle within a year or so. This is all perfectly normal! Just use a panty liner for this and then switch to a thicker pad as your period begins to flow regularly.

Q: How long will my period last?

A: Your period can last anywhere from 2 to 7 days. The amount of flow may vary from day to day. Every girl’s period is different so don’t get worried if yours is 5 days and a friend’s is 3.

Q: If I get my period at school, would it be okay to ask the nurse to go home – if I just want to see my mom?

A: It’s nice to want to share this with your mom but the nurse can help you by giving you a pad or panty liner. Then you can go back to class and see your mom when the school day is over.

Q: If I get my period should I stay home sick from school?

A: Having your period does not mean you’re sick. It’s something all women go through. Girls go to school and women go to work and/or take care of their families. It’s perfectly healthy, normal, and not an illness. Just be prepared with the feminine products (pads, liners, or tampons) you’ll need to change during the school day and you’ll be just fine!

Q: I got my period a few months ago and I am afraid to tell my mom. What do I do?

A: Be brave and tell your mom. Your mom will be there for you and can help you. It’s really nothing to be scared or embarrassed about. Remember, your mom went through this very same thing when she was about your age.

Q: I feel like I need to talk to my mom about getting my first period because she has not mentioned this to me at all, but I don’t know how to approach the subject. Any suggestions?

A: Yes, here are a few ideas for you. Tell your mom that you heard your friends talking about periods and you are not quite sure what it is or if there is more you need to know. You could also ask her buy you one of the many books on the subject (like the American Girl book, The Care and Keeping of You.) This way you can get some basic information and your mom will understand that you are ready to start talking about periods and growing up.

Q: Why would a girl hide getting her period from her mom? I heard some other girl talk about this and I just don’t understand, what’s the big deal?

A: You’re right! There is no reason to hide getting your period from your mom. Some moms are not always comfortable about talking their young daughters with these transitions. Sometimes it’s their own experience with this (maybe their mom did not discuss periods with them) that may hold them back, or possibly if they are religious, it is not something they feel they can talk about. Sometimes it is just a matter of a mom not knowing how to bring up the subject, so every girl should go to her mom to talk about this.

When you go through puberty, your feelings and way of thinking also changes. Some girls feel more mature and want to be more independent so they think that not telling their moms is a way of being independent but every step towards independence takes time and guidance and your mom is there to help you every step of the way.

Q: How often should I change my pads and tampons?

A: You should change your pads about every 4 to 5 hours depending on your flow. Always use a clean pad at night time. Change your tampon about every 4 hours.

Q: I’m scared to get my period because my sister says it’s really painful. Why would she say that?

A: The main source of pain during menstruation is abdominal cramping. However, be aware that every girl is different, even sisters! Just because your sister gets cramps, doesn’t mean that you will. In fact, most girls that just start their periods do not get cramps. If you do get cramps it is usually the first day only and then the cramps stop.

Q: What is the best way to relieve cramps?

A: There are many things you can do to relieve the discomfort of cramps. Here are our suggestions:

  • Take a warm shower
  • Use a heating pad on the area
  • Ask your mom for some over-the-counter medicine such as Tylenol or Motrin
  • Do some exercise, even if it is just going for a walk

** If your cramps are so bad that you are not able to do your everyday activities, then ask your mom to take you to see your doctor.

Q: If you get your period at the age of 10 what does it mean? I’m 12 and haven’t gotten mine yet but my younger cousin did.

A: Every girl will get her period at the right time for her. For some girls it can be as early as 10 or as late as 15. No one can tell you exactly when yours will come. You might get your period more around the time when your mom had hers, and not when a cousin did.

Q: Is it natural to pee (urinate) blood when you have your period?

A: You don’t pee blood when you have your period but it can appear that way in the toilet bowl as the blood will continue to come out while you’re in the bathroom. When you are menstruating (having your period) the blood comes out from an opening in your private parts, called the vagina. This opening is located just below the opening where your pee (urine) comes out, which is called the urethra.

Q: When I have my period, can I go swimming without a pad? Or should I just not go swimming? It’s hard for me because at summer camp we are supposed to go swimming every day.

A: You can certainly go swimming but only with a tampon in place if you are having your period. If you don’t want to use a tampon you can’t go swimming — but you can still use a bathing suit with a pad and wear a pair of shorts over it and sit around the lake or pool. Just tell your counselor, “I can’t go swimming today, its a girl thing”. They’ll understand.

Q: Is there a right time to start using tampons?

A: The right time to use a tampon is when it feels right to you. Many girls who participate in sports or dance start using tampons shortly after they start having their periods. Other girls wait until they are comfortable with their periods and then start using tampons.

Q: Will anyone be able to tell I have my period?

A: No one can look at you and tell that you are having your period. The only way someone will know is if you tell them.

Q: Does getting my period mean I can have a baby?

A: Yes, once you start having your period, you can get pregnant if you become sexually active. This means having sexual intercourse. Of course, for someone your age this is a BAD idea – and it’s also against the law for children to have sex, in case you did not know. Sex is an adult behavior and there are tremendous adult responsibilities and risks associated with this.

Q: If girls get their period, what do boys get?

A: During puberty, boys go through almost the same changes that girls do. The one big difference is that rather than getting periods, boys start to produce sperm. Sperm are the male cells that can join with the female’s eggs to produce babies.

Q: Will my period ever stop? Will I have it for the rest of my life?

A: No, your period will not last for the rest of your life. Most women stop having their periods between the ages of 45 to 55 years, during a transition known as menopause.

Q: What do I do if I get my period and I’m at my dad’s house?

A: This is an excellent question since it certainly might happen. Being prepared by keeping supplies at his house or bringing them in your bag is the best idea but if you should happen to get caught unprepared, you can certainly speak with your dad. Believe it or not, dads do know about girls getting their periods! If you don’t want to do this, you can use toilet paper rolled up as a pad. Next time you stay at dad’s remember to bring pads in your backpack.