Periods 101

What to expect when you’re expecting your period.

Periods can be a daunting time for a girl, but knowing what’s about to come can certainly help put your mind at ease. But here’s the thing – nobody knows exactly when their period will come! Don’t fear, there are a few clues as to when it might be on its way:

  • How old your mum was when she got her first period. It may not be exact but it is genetic!
  • It’s been more than a year since you first noticed pubic hair and had discharge (link)
  • If your discharge becomes reddish-brown (the colour of dried blood), your period is close!

So if that sounds like you, here are a few things to prepare you for what’s to come.

  • Even before your period starts, it’s a good idea to have a couple of pads tucked away in your school bag, dance bag, overnight bag – that way you’ll be prepared. Note, if you are ever caught short, ask a friend – chances are she’ll have a pad. If not, the school nurse will. If you’re completely stuck, a small wad of toilet paper should give you enough time to find a proper pad! It won’t be comfortable, but it will do the job.
  • Before your period comes you might notice some cramps under your belly button. This could be a sign that it’s on the way. Try a heat pack to soothe the cramps.
  • When it starts, you might have a slightly wet, slippery feeling around your vagina, but with an absorbent liner or pad, it shouldn’t last long. Still, you might want to go to the loo and check out what’s happening. If you’re wearing a liner, it’d be best to change to a pad.
  • Period fluid is thicker than urine (wee) so it doesn’t gush – it’s more like a slow flow or seeping, bit by bit over a few days. You’ll notice that it doesn’t look the same as the blood you see when you cut yourself for instance. That’s because there’s more than just blood. There’s also mucus and bodily tissue which is why it’s stickier. Periods can last from 2 to 7 days, over which 2 to 6 tablespoons of fluid is lost. It’s not that much if you want to measure it out in water into a cup – it just looks dramatic on a white pad! About 3/4 of it is lost in the first 2 days.
  • Most girls start with pads and these should be changed about every 3-4 hours – say morning, recess and after school. If it’s the first 2 days, you may need to change more often, like at lunchtime as well. After a few periods you might want to try tampons. Applicators are a great way to start as they help guide the tampon into the right place.
  • Used pads should be placed in the bin. There are often special bins in the cubicles of girls’ toilets in schools and public places. If not, our Press. Go.Wrapper makes it easy to roll up the used pad, seal it in and discreetly pop it in any bin. Just remember, never flush a pad down the toilet; it will cause a blockage – and that will be #awkward!


If you’ve got any more questions, feel free to ‘Ask Gemmah


Anything else? Asaleo Care makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional, medical or other health professional advice.