Menstruation or as some call it, Aunt Flo. It doesn’t matter what you call your period, what matters is that you know what it is and how it works.
What is menstruation? Menstruation is your monthly bleeding. When you menstruate your body sheds the uterus (womb) lining.
When you start getting your periods, it means that you can get pregnant and have a child when you have unprotected (without a condom) sex.
Your period happens about every 28 days and it usually lasts 3 -5 days, but if you have a heavier flow, your period can last longer.
What is the menstrual cycle?
It’s the changes that happen in your ovaries and lining of your womb every month.
The 1st day of your menstrual cycle starts on the first day of your period. Your hormone levels will drop.
You may feel sleepy, more tired than usual and withdrawn during this week. Since you can’t take the day off school during your period, you can try to take a nap after class. If you exercise regularly, avoid hardcore exercises and try walking or stretching instead.
By the 7th day the bleeding will have stopped.
Between the 7th and 14th day you’ll have more energy and you’ll be in a better mood during this phase. This is because of the increase in hormones oestrogen and testosterone levels in your body. Oestrogen is a hormone that is made by your ovaries causing your body to change to prepare it for carrying a baby. It also makes you feel more outgoing.
Around the 14th day, ovulation happens. This is when your body releases the eggs from your ovary. During this period you may feel and look better. You’ll probably feel more confident. This is because of the high levels of the hormones oestrogen and testosterone in your body.
Over the next few days the egg travels down the fallopian tube towards the uterus. This also when you are most likely to fall pregnant.
Around the 25th day your hormone levels will drop. This signals the start of a new menstrual cycle. The egg will break and be shed with the next period.
At this phase, you may crave carbs and sugary stuff, you may also feel moody, bloated and have headaches. Your breast may be tender during this time and you may develop acne. This is called PMS (Premenstrual syndrome), which is all the physical and emotional symptoms that you may feel a week or two before your period.
Your questions about menstruation answered:
Can I get pregnant while on my period? The chances of falling pregnant while on your period are very low. But sperm can live inside you for up to 3 days, which means that if you have sex towards the end of your period there is a small chance that you could fall pregnant.
Some months I don’t get my period, is there something wrong with me? Your period can be irregular. This doesn’t mean you’re not normal. Most women don’t get their period at exactly the same time of the month. Stress, diet and how much you exercise can affect how “regular” you are. But if the problem carries on for months, you should consider speaking to a trusted adult o r seeing a doctor.
My period is brown instead of blood-coloured, please help! Don’t panic. It’s totally normal, all it means is that the blood is leaving your body slowly. It’s exposed to oxygen for longer, which makes it turn brown.
Your period isn’t anything to be ashamed of. It’s a life process and a part of you.