1 What is puberty?

Puberty is the biological phase that marks the transformation of the body from the child to the adult stage. It is a time when the body matures and develops the characteristics required for sexual reproduction. Your body undergo growth, development of breasts; you develop body hair in various parts including armpits and pubic region. Your genitals start to grow and change. Usually, there is a yellow or white stain known as discharge which starts to happen when girls attain their puberty. The fluid that is discharged from the body is absolutely normal as it naturally moistens and cleanses out the vagina. Menstruation starts when girls attain puberty, Hormones cause your ovaries to release one egg about once a month. Most months, the egg and the lining of the uterus come out of your vagina as your periods. The menstrual cycle is what makes it possible for a woman to conceive a baby.

2 Why do even call it period, anyway?

The menstrual phase for each month is divided into four phases or periods which includes the menstrual phase, follicular phase, ovulation phase and Luteal phase. The menstrual phase, the first phase in the cycle is commonly referred as “periods”. The menstrual blood is shed from the lining of your uterus. It goes from your uterus through your cervix, vagina and out through your vaginal opening.

3 When do girls get their first period? And will it ever stop happening?

Although a lot of girls get their first period between 11 and 13 years old, you could get yours anywhere between 9 and 16. Everyone has her own “biological clock,” and yours is different from anyone else's. So even if you feel like you'll never get your period, don't worry, you will.
Since the menarche, bleeding in an interval of 22-40 days becomes a periodic occurrence in a woman’s life which comes to an end at the usual age of 45-50 years. This is called Menopause.

4 How often does it happen and how long do periods last?

A menstrual cycle begins from the first day of one period and ends at the first day of the next. A typical cycle of an adult female is 28 days. This may vary from 22-40 days based on your biological clock. Periods usually last for 3-7 days.

5 How will I know if I’m getting my period? What are the signs?

Girls commonly get their periods by the time they are 11 or 13 at the most, but the age bracket of 9 to 16 is also a likely time to start. Every girl is different, and so is her age of reaching puberty and getting her periods.
There, however, are a few sure shot signs that you can look out for to know that your period is on its way.

  • Puberty is the first sign that will let you know that your period is on its way
  • The development of your breasts is another sign that your body is now mature enough to have its first period.
  • A girl’s periods usually arrive two years from the development of her breasts
  • Growth of pubic hair is another sign that lets one know that a girl’s period is on her way
  • The growth of pubic hair takes place just after the breasts also start developing.
  • Starting off as thin, the pubic hair grows coarser over time
  • Vaginal discharge is also a sign that your period is soon to arrive.
  • Discharge, specifically white or yellowish in colour, is what may indicate that your periods are only a few months away now
6 How much blood will I lose each month?

During a menstrual cycle, a woman usually passes out 20-59ml of blood. This is equal to 2-4 tablespoons.

7 Why do I feel all crampy and how do I make it go away?

Menstrual cramps can be very painful. They have the potential make you feel exhausted and can ruin your day. Menstrual cramps are just you feeling your uterus contract to shed its lining.
To relieve yourself from cramps, you can exercise and stretch to loosen your muscles. Take a warm bath or find a heating pad for your lower belly or back. A little heat goes a long way to reduce the effects of your menstrual cramps. If you still feel a lot of period pain, it may be time to talk to someone. Schedule an appointment with your doctor. Make sure to take your menstrual cycle charts and food logs (if you keep any), and tell them about any medications, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins or mineral supplements you’re taking.

8 What about exercising or playing sports during my period? Can I still have fun?

Exercising and playing sports helps to relieve the muscular pain. This is one of the various myths associated with periods that you cannot live your life normally like other days. The fact is this is a normal process and you can continue chasing your dreams, even during periods.

9 What is PMS all about and how do I know if I have it or not?

PMS (Premenstrual syndrome) is the name of the group of symptoms that start around 7 to 14 days before your period begins and usually stop very soon after your period starts. No one knows for sure what causes PMS, but it seems to be linked to the changes in hormone levels that happen during your menstrual cycle. If you experience PMS, you may experience one, some, or many different symptoms. Some months your PMS may be worse than others or you may have no PMS symptoms at all.
Every woman is different when it comes to PMS. But here are some tips that may help:

  • Eat complex carbohydrates (found in whole grain breads, pasta and cereals), fibre and protein
  • Eat less sugar and fat
  • Stay away from salt the few days before your period (to reduce bloating)
  • Drink less caffeine (found in soda, tea and coffee) to feel less crabby and help ease breast soreness
  • Eat small frequent meals each day rather than big ones
  • Make sure you are getting the exercise teens need: 30 minutes of exercise, 4 to 6 times a week
  • Make sure to get about 8 hours of sleep at night
  • Keep a regular schedule for exercise, meals, and bedtime