First Period: Understanding The Duration, Early Signs, And Self-Care Tips

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First Period: Understanding The Duration, Early Signs, And Self-Care Tips

The first period represents an important change in a girl's mental and physical health. However, many girls are uncertain about what to expect.

First Period: Understanding the duration, early signs, and self-care tips

Image Source: Dinodia

Embarking on the path of womanhood entails encountering substantial transformations and milestones. Among these crucial stages, the arrival of the first period stands out. It signifies a significant change, both in terms of physical and mental aspects, and necessitates being well-informed and prepared. Unfortunately, due to limited communication and the social stigma surrounding menstrual health, many girls find themselves uncertain about their first period. However, with the widespread availability of the internet, curious minds now have the opportunity to learn all about menstruation.

When can I expect to have my first menstrual period?

Typically, the average age for the onset of the first menstrual period, also known as menarche, is between 10 and 12 years old. However, the exact timing can differ due to individual factors. If you have a higher body mass index (BMI), your first period may start earlier than the average age range. On the other hand, if you are underweight, experiencing stress, or dealing with hormonal imbalances, your first period may be delayed.

If you have experienced other signs of puberty but have not started menstruating by the age of 15, it is recommended to consult a gynaecologist. 

Signs of puberty include:

  • Growth of pubic hair, with increased thickness on the legs and visible hair under the arms
  • Development of acne on the face or body
  • Breast development
  • Changes in body shape, such as the hips and thighs becoming fuller
  • Rapid growth

Usually, the first period begins a couple of years after the initial signs of puberty manifest. However, there is no precise way to predict its exact onset.

A few days before the first period, some females may notice spotting in their underwear or experience abdominal cramps. Additionally, they may observe an increase in acne.  It is essential to emphasise that these symptoms may not be encountered by everyone.

What initiates the menstrual cycle?

The menstrual cycle begins with the first occurrence of menstruation in females. This typically happens after a female ovulates for the first time, which occurs when the ovaries release an egg into the fallopian tube. Following ovulation, the lining of the uterus thickens in preparation for the possibility of fertilisation. If fertilisation does not occur, the body no longer requires the thickened lining and it is shed during menstruation, resulting in period blood.

For most females, this cyclical process continues regularly from the onset of the first period until menopause, which marks the end of menstrual cycles.

What will the experience be like?

Every woman's menstrual cycle is unique, with variations in duration, frequency, and flow. Menstrual periods can range from light to heavy, depending on the individual.

In some cases, the first period may be light, characterised by a small amount of blood. It may start gradually, with spotting or brown discharge before transitioning to red flow.

For others, periods may begin suddenly with the immediate appearance of bright red blood. Both scenarios are considered normal. The colour of menstrual blood can vary from brown to dark red, and some individuals may also experience the passage of small blood clots.

While some women may perceive their period as similar to vaginal discharge, others may not feel much at all.

What to do at the start of your period?

When your period begins, it's important to have a plan in place to manage it. One option is to ask a friend or family member for a pad or tampon to absorb the blood.

If you don't have access to pads or tampons, you can try using something absorbent like toilet paper or a clean washcloth wrapped around the crotch area of your underwear. This makeshift solution can help absorb the blood and prevent leaks.

To be better prepared, it's helpful to create a period kit before your first period arrives. This way, you'll feel more ready. Your period kit could include:

  • An extra pair of underwear
  • A variety of tampons and pads, so you can choose what works best for you
  • Unscented baby wipes to clean up any leaks

Tips for self-care during menstruation

Adjusting to having a period can take time and occasionally bring discomfort. Nevertheless, periods are a natural occurrence and should not hinder or alter anyone's daily routine. Here are some self-care suggestions for females experiencing their first period:

Managing cramps

To alleviate pain and cramping, consider the following options:

  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen
  • Applying heat pads or hot water bottles to the affected are
  • Enjoying a warm bath to relax the muscles
  • Engaging in gentle exercise, such as walking or yoga, to ease discomfort

Period leaks

Following the initial menstrual cycle, anticipating the timing of subsequent periods can be challenging. Additionally, adjusting to the use of period products may require some time and experimentation, leading to occasional instances of leakage.

Consider the following tips to manage leaks:

  • Use pads or tampons of varying sizes according to the flow's heaviness
  • Explore different types of period products to find one that suits your needs
  • Carry period products in your bag for convenient access in case of unexpected situations
  • Track your periods using a calendar, diary, or mobile app to better anticipate and prepare for each cycle


The onset of a girl's first menstrual period marks a significant milestone in her life. The anticipation leading up to it can be a mix of fear and excitement. Predicting its arrival accurately is challenging, and the impact of periods varies among individuals. When menstruation starts, it may require some time to figure out how to handle it effectively. It is advisable to have conversations with a trusted adult, doctor, or nurse to seek guidance and ask any questions that arise.

Disclaimer: The above content is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a qualified physician or doctor. The Company does not vouch for or endorse any of the above content, and disclaims any and all warranties, express or implied, relating to the same.