When is it normal to get a period?

The Least You Need to Know
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What can I do?

TLYNTK (The least you need to know…)

  • Most girls get their first menstrual period between the ages of 12-14. Some get it a little earlier, others a little later
  • If you have not gotten your period by 16, it is probably a good idea to get checked out by your health provider
  • It is normal to skip a month or so in the first year or two after starting your period, but if you skip several months at a time, you should get checked out
  • The first few periods may be pain-free; but, later you may feel painful cramps for the first few days. Ibuprofen or Naprosyn may help. They are both over the counter and can be bought in drug stores or grocery stores. If the pain causes you to miss several days from school or other activities each month, see your health provider for advice on prescription medicine that can help.
  • Make sure you pay attention to what you eat. Bleeding each month can cause you to become anemic. This means your red blood cell count is low because you are not making new red blood cells fast enough to replace the ones you are losing. This can cause you to feel tired and have trouble concentrating…not a good combination for a BridgeUP scholar!
  • Your diet should have the ingredients necessary to help your body make more red blood cells. Click here for a list of good things to eat:
    • Spinach & other dark-green veggies, eggs, kidney & white beans, lentils, tofu, whole wheat bread, fortified cereals. Have these with something with vitamin C, like orange juice.
    • Lean meats (beef, liver), chicken, seafood (clams, oysters, shrimp) 
  • Sometimes, you may have to take pills containing iron supplements to ensure that your body has what it needs
  • Remember, now that you are getting your period, it is a sign that your body is becoming fertile, and you can get pregnant if you are having sex with a guy without a condom. If you are having sex, talk to a BeWell Health Coach or email us at contact@bewellbridgeup.org for advice about getting on birth control ASAP!

More stuff…

There are some clues that a girl may get her period soon. A girl usually gets her period about 2 years after her breasts start to develop. Another clue is that you may see thin, white, fluid on your underwear that is coming from the vagina. This usually starts 6 – 12 months before getting your period. All these changes in the body are part of becoming a teenager and an adult. They are all normal and may happen at different times in different people.

Periods happen as part of the menstrual cycle, which usually lasts 28 days. Watch this short video to learn more about your cycle. Your cycle depends on the levels of hormones, like estrogen, and how they go up and down at different points of the cycle. Click here to learn more about how hormones are related to your period and here to learn about the four phases of the menstrual cycle.

In the days leading up to a period, many girls and women have cramps, bloating, mood changes, breast tenderness and other symptoms. Some don’t feel anything at all! You’re not alone, this is very common and these feelings are called premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and they are normal. Here are some tips for dealing with PMS:

  • Eat healthy foods- like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and avoid salty foods, fried foods, coffee and caffeinated tea. Drink water and herbal teas instead.
  • Eat smaller meals throughout the day
  • Make sure that you are still moving around, exercising and stretching
  • Make sure you get enough sleep
  • Ibuprofen and Midol are good options if the pain doesn’t go away

Here are some more things for you to check out: