How to answer your daughter's questions about her first period

Répondre aux questions de sa fille sur ses premières règles

Your daughter is growing up. Thank you Captain Obvious! Yes, but for some time now, she has changed a lot, and you see it physically: her breasts are growing, her armpits are adorned with hair , her face has small acne spots here and there. It's puberty ! And with it will soon come her first period . As a child, she has probably already asked you about menstruation , surprised to hear someone talk about “ ragnagnas ” or to see you buying sanitary protection at the supermarket. But what about today? The questions must certainly become more present and more precise in his mind. Without getting ahead of them, you can prepare to answer them. To do this, discover the answers that Perdième would give to a teenager wondering about her first menstruation .

“What does it mean to have your first period? »

Menstruation is the blood that flows from the vulva in women once a month for a few days. Having your first period means, for a young girl, experiencing this type of bleeding for the first time.

“And that’s normal?” »

Complitly normal ! It is even a sign of good health: it means that puberty is progressing correctly. From this event, which is called menarche , so-called “adjusted” young girls are physically capable of becoming pregnant. Their body is now mature to accommodate a pregnancy.

“But what are the reasons for the rules? »

At puberty, women gain the ability to reproduce. From then on, their body functions in a cycle called the “menstrual cycle”. Each month, the same series of reactions occurs in their body to enable a pregnancy to occur. Each time, the uterus prepares to welcome an egg: the mucous membrane which covers its internal wall, called the “endometrium”, thickens and is equipped with lots of blood vessels in order to form a cozy nest. Halfway through the cycle, one of the ovaries releases an egg into a fallopian tube. If it encounters a sperm there and is fertilized by it, the egg thus created can attach itself to the uterine mucosa and begin to grow there: this is the start of a pregnancy. But if there is no fertilization, there is no pregnancy. Then, what was supposed to be used for this is no longer useful and must be evacuated from the body. Thus, the endometrium disintegrates in the form of blood and mucous residues. These discharges flow from the uterus towards the vagina then exit through the vulva: these are periods, also called menstruation.

“When will I get my first period?” »

You can't know in advance when you're going to be paid. It's a surprise! But on average, young girls experience their first period around the age of 13. Sometimes it happens earlier, from 9-10 years old; sometimes, later, around 16 years old. Each one is different. In addition, there are warning signs of the first period, such as breast growth and the appearance of pubic hair.

“How do I know I have my first period?” »

You will certainly realize this when you discover brown marks in your panties. Since the very first periods are often scant and not very fluid, they will probably be quite dark in color, close to brown, and have a somewhat thick consistency. Over time, they may change appearance depending on the moment: more or less red and more or less liquid.

“How long will I have my period?” »

Over the course of your life, you will have your period for about forty years, from puberty, around the age of 13, until the moment when you can no longer have children, a moment that we call menopause and which occurs around age 50. On average, you will have your period for 2 to 7 days every 28 days (except in the case of a temporary absence of periods, for example caused by pregnancy or a health problem). Note that the first cycles are often irregular. It will take several months, even several years, for your body to get used to it and adopt a more regular rhythm.

"It's a bit gross, isn't it?" »

There's nothing wrong with having your period. It's a natural and healthy reaction of your body. You don't have to be ashamed of it. Of course, you may feel worried or embarrassed about, for example, staining your clothes or there being odors. But if you follow the rules of good menstrual hygiene , you have nothing to worry about!

" Does it hurt ? »

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It depends on each person and also on the moment. You may have pain in your stomach, lower back, or head. You may also feel more tired or sadder during this time and a few days before. In general, pain is more present during the first years of periods and eases over time. But they can continue. In any case, if they prevent you from doing things, for example playing sports, it is important that you say that you are in pain. We can then take you to see a doctor who will help you reduce this pain.

“Am I going to lose a lot of blood?” »

Not as much as you fear! On average, a woman loses an amount of blood equivalent to 4 tablespoons during an entire cycle. But it can be much less sometimes, as well as much more in other cases. In the early years, the amount of blood will likely vary from cycle to cycle. Then it should stabilize. On the other hand, if you feel like you are losing a lot of blood, you need to talk to an adult so that you can consult a doctor; this may be a sign of a disease, such as endometriosis .

“How can I prepare for this?” »

You can get into the habit of carrying sanitary protection in your bag, in case your first period starts while you are not at home.

“What hygienic protection can I wear? »

Often, newly menstruating young girls are reassured by using external protection, that is to say, which slips into the panties, such as sanitary napkins or menstrual panties . There are even period underwear dedicated to teenagers . But you can also wear protection that fits into the vagina: either the tampon or the menstrual cup. It's up to you to test and choose what suits you best.

“How do I do the swimming pool?” »

To bathe, you can wear a tampon, a cup or a menstrual swimsuit .

" Whom should I speak to ? »

To whomever you want or to no one. You are under no obligation to discuss this subject with anyone. But if you feel the need to talk about it with someone, to ask for information and advice or just to share your feelings, feel free to do it with whoever you want. Just choose people you feel comfortable with and trust.

There you go, you can take inspiration from these answers to inform your daughter about her first period. And if you want to discuss additional topics with her, extend your reading with the following articles:

Celebrate your first period, and why not?
Calculate your menstrual cycle
The effects of the contraceptive pill
Which menstrual underwear to choose?

Written by cd