Changes for girls
- You will grow taller
- Your nipples and breasts will start to develop
- You will start having periods
- Hips may get wider and your body may change shape
- You will get hair on your body – underarm, legs and you may notice a fine hair on your face
- Pubic hair(hair around your genital area)
- You may get spots
- Your hair may become more greasy
- You may feel moodier or more emotional
- You will sweat more
- You may get a clear white discharge from your vagina (this is often a few months before your first period starts)
What is a period?
A period is part of the menstrual cycle when a girl bleeds from her vagina for a few days.
A girl can start her periods anywhere from aged 8 but on average a girl will usually get her first period around 12 years of age. A girl will usually get a white discharge before her periods start.
Every month, the ovaries release an egg (ovulation). If the egg is not fertilised by a sperm it is shed through the vagina along with the lining of the womb. This is period blood.
Period blood can vary in colour from darkish brown to red, you may get little blood clots also. Period blood can be thick or watery. On average the amount of blood shed during a period is about 3-5 tablespoons – not pints as some people often think.
Sometimes before a period you may feel a bit moody or your breasts may become tender. Periods can sometimes be a little bit painful and give you stomach cramps. You can help with this by exercising, having a warm bath or try gently massaging your stomach.
Your vagina is naturally self cleansing so you don’t need to use perfumed pads or special sprays as they cause irritation
What should i use?
It is up to you to decide what you may want to use whilst on a period. You may want to experiment and find out what suits you best.
Pads (Sanitary Towels)
These go inside of your knickers and soak up the blood. You can’t use a pad to go swimming and you can’t flush them down the toilet. Towels need to be changed about every 4 hours. Pads come in different sizes and absorbencies. In toilets in public places there are special bins for disposing of sanitary wear.
If you are a girl, non-binary or transgender who has periods and are in school or college you may be able to get period products free of charge.
Tampons are tubes of soft cotton with a string attached so you can pull them out. Tampons are inserted into the vagina and absorb the blood. They need to be changed frequently. Some tampons have applicators to help you put them in, others you can use your fingers. It may take a bit of practice to put in a tampon and get used to them. Always remember to remove the tampon at the end of your period. Tampons (not applicators) can be flushed down the toilet.
These are small re-usable containers made of flexible material that are inserted into the vagina to catch the menstrual blood. They can be washed and re-used.
These are knickers with a built in absorbent layer. They can be washed and re-used.
The menopause is when your periods become irregular and eventually stop. The menopause can last for a few years and usually happens to someone in their late 40’s to early 50’s.
Growing up can be difficult as well as exciting too, if you’re really worried about any of these things try talking to an adult to someone you can trust.
If there’s something you feel you can’t talk about to anyone you know you can call Childine who are free and confidential on 0800 1111