1. What is Period?
A period is when a woman’s body releases tissue it no longer needs. This tissue comes from the uterus, which is where a fetus can develop in the female body. Every month or so, the uterus lining gets thicker to prepare for a fertilized egg if the woman becomes pregnant. If the egg doesn’t get fertilized, that lining is released from the body as blood through the vagina. This monthly process is called menstruation or a period.
So when a girl has her period, her body is just getting rid of a small amount of blood and some unneeded tissue. It is a natural, normal body process for all females as they become women and mature physically.
Why do girls have periods?
Very simply put - when a girl has her period, her body is just getting rid of a small amount of blood and some unneeded tissue. It is a natural, normal body process for all females as they become women and mature physically.
When do periods begin?
Although most girls get their first period between 11 –14 years old, a few could start your period anywhere from 8–17 years of age. Many factors like genes, body type and lifestyle can influence the beginning of periods in a girl.
What do women experience during their periods?
Women face a lot of discomforts during their menstruation time. Some of the common issues faced by women include bloating, stomach ache, headache, irritation and more. Problems such as itching in your vagina and heavy bleeding are also common during menses. Women also face a lot of emotional stress due to changing hormonal patterns.
What does a period feel like?
The actual flow of your period doesn’t feel like much when it’s happening. Chances are, you won’t even feel it coming out. When you actually start your period, you may feel some dampness in your private area — this may be caused by a few spots of blood on your underwear. Nothing to worry about!!
2. Signs/Symptoms of First Periods
You can be ready for your first period by looking for clues. Typically, you can expect these changes to start when you are between 11 and 14 years old — but don’t worry, some girls start as early as eight or as late as 17. They may not happen in the order listed below, but here are three common signs indicating you are about to start your first period.
a. Breast Development
Before your period, you might notice your breasts are growing. The first sign of a girl’s first period is developing breast buds — this is when your nipple becomes raised because of the fat, tissue and milk glands your body develops. During this period, you might feel more comfortable wearing a training bra or camisole. Your breasts can then take up to four years to fully develop. Generally, you will start your period one to three years after your breasts begin developing.
b. Hair Growth
You’ll start developing more body hair either before or after your breasts bud. You will first start growing pubic hair in the area below your lower stomach and between your legs. At first it will be soft and thin, then it will gradually become coarser and curly. Then your underarm hair might become coarser and darker. Your period will usually arrive around one or two years after your pubic hair develops.
As soon as the pubic hair grows, a girl can experience the growth of hair in armpits. Similar to pubic hair, the armpit hair is also soft and thin in the beginning and becomes thick and coarse with time. This indicates that the girl is just a year or two away from her first period.
c. Vaginal Discharge
This is a big sign that you may start expecting your first period. You’ll begin to experience vaginal discharge that will be either white or yellowish. Don’t worry, this is completely normal — it’s your body’s way of moisturizing the vagina. Wearing party-liners can help you feel fresh and dry. Your period will likely start between six and 12 months (or up to 18 months) after discharge occurs.
3. Symptoms experienced Before a Period
Many women feel discomfort, extreme tiredness and another common one is body /stomach aches which can be so bad at times, that they feel really put out and unable to do physical activities. Their body feels bloated making movement clumsy. Some women experience tenderness in their breasts to the point of it being very painful. Pain in the abdomen, thighs and back is yet another sing of periods coming. One of the most embarrassing signs of a period is acne. It sprouts all over the face right before periods and makes you look bad. Using some facial cream/cleanser and face wash can help lessen this problem. Symptoms of periods manifest themselves not only physically but also emotionally, women can feel depressed, moody and low right before periods start.
How to deal with period symptoms?
Period or menses are result of hormonal changes in a woman’s body.These changes begin before the actual period really start.Bloating, aches and tiredness are the most common signs making women uncomfortable and experience mood changes. These symptoms can be regulated with few physical activities like adequate rest, avoiding very strenuous gym/exercising. It is all normal and natural to have them. However, if they are very severe and become unbearable, medical advice can be sought to reduce the distress.
The key to this is having a balanced and nutritious diet. It is best to take more fruits and vegetables than packed foods. Reducing salt intake and drinking more water, fruit juices or milk will prevent bloating. Breast pain and swelling can be reduced by staying away from caffeine. If you cut down on sugary foods and take less alcohol, food cravings will subside. The pain arising from period symptoms such as cramps, breast tenderness, body ache etc, can be relieved by taking pain killers. Your doctor will prescribe them and the usual advice is to take them three to five day prior to periods. They are to be taken three times a day to remove pain and make the body feel normal. Having them enables you to do physical activities without disturbance.
Women with severe mood problems are given low doses of anti depressant as it can effectively combat insomnia, irritability, moodiness and fatigue.
4. Swimming During Periods?
Can I swim during Periods? Most Commonly asked Question asked by women worldwide. Most of the women avoid swimming during periods but regular swimmers don't. Swimming is possible in periods provided you take the necessary steps. Since there is no gravitation force in water, body experiences a change in the pressure. This counter pressure gridlock the flow and bleeding will be on hold until you are out of water. Flow will be stored in uterus and once you are out of water, it becomes normal.
You can use a tampon or a menstrual cup before swimming. Though swimming can temporarily reduce your menstrual flow, a tampon will eliminate any flow. Also especially in a pool, it is not sanitary for you to go in the water without inserting a tampon or a menstrual cup first. If you are not yet comfortable with these items yet, you should try using them at home before you go swimming.
Tampons: If you are already used to wearing tampons, they are perfect for swimming. You do not have to worry about any leakage, since they expand as necessary to fit your body. Be sure to hide the string by tucking it into your bikini bottom and you are good to swim in clear water, wearing any swimsuit bottom. Remember to change your tampon every few hours if you have a flow, and to never wear it for more than eight hours.
Cups: Though menstrual cups are not as commonly used as tampons (yet), they are inserted into the vagina and sit at its base to collect menstrual blood. They can even last up to ten hours, which is more than the eight-hour maximum wear for a tampon. Just like a tampon, the menstrual cup is functionally invisible. It suctions to your body so that no blood escapes.
Swimming wearing a pad or a panty liner is not advisable. A pad will just get wet and soggy if you go in the water, and it will be unable to absorb any leakage. If you just wear it in your suit, it will swell and may be noticeable and probably uncomfortable.
5. What is Menstrual Cycle?
A typical 28 day cycle - The average menstrual cycle is 28 to 32 days. Some women have longer or shorter cycles, so the exact timing of ovulation can vary. Here's an overview of a typical 28-day menstrual cycle.
Your cycle begins on the first day of blood flow.
Days 2-14 Follicular Phase
The follicles on your ovary become active, and your cervical mucus starts to thin.
Ovulation occurs mid-cycle, but can vary from between Day 11 and Day 21 of a woman's cycle. Rising estrogen levels trigger the LH surge, which causes the follicle to ovulate and release an egg. It's important to chart your basal body temperature and LH surge so you know when you ovulate.
Days 15-22 Luteal Phase
After releasing the egg, the follicle produces progesterone, which thickens the lining of the uterus for implantation.
Days 23 to 24
Implantation of a fertilized egg can take place. At this point, hormones produced by pregnancy may be detected by a pregnancy test.
Days 25 to 28
If pregnancy does not occur, your hormone levels begin to fall. The uterine lining sheds, resulting in your period.
The first day of your menstrual cycle is the first day of your period (day 1). The period usually then lasts anything from 3 to 7 days. You’ll probably find that if you get any period pains, they’ll be at their worst in the first few days of your period. This is because the hormones in your body are causing your womb to actively shed the lining that was built up in the previous menstrual cycle.
6. YOGA During Periods?? Is Possible
Yogis, it’s hard to bring yourself to take a break from your regular practice even if you’ve just started your menstrual cycle and feel a little bit rundown.
Menstruation is a hormonally charged time for a woman and there are varied opinions on whether a woman should practice yoga during these days. Yoga while menstruating has no specific rule. Some practitioners tell you not to do yoga while others say it is perfectly okay to practice yoga. Many say there is nothing you need to avoid during menstruation while others insist you skip yoga altogether for that week of the month. We have found the middle ground between the two.
Recommended poses during periods
These poses can help relieve back aches and other myriad pains that occur during menstruation.
- Full Forward Bend Pose (Paschimottanasana)
- Head to Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana)
- Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
- Diamond Pose (Vajrasana)
- Butterfly pose/ cobblers pose (Baddha Konasana)
- Downward facing dog pose (Adho Mukha Svasasana)
Try to avoid the following asanas when their time of the month comes a-knocking.
- Shoulder Stand
- Handstand Or Headstand
- Seated Spinal Twist
- Full Wheel
- Unsupported back bends
- Free-standing poses
You could take some precautions while practicing yoga even during your periods.
- Listen to your body. It might be telling you that it may not be able to do as well as it does every day.
- Your body is expending energy during your period so the aim should be to avoid poses that make your body work harder instead of relaxing it. Hence inversions and head stands are not recommended.
- Seek advice from your teacher. You might have some doubts which can be cleared up.
- Remember to eat well. Your body needs nourishment much more during this time.
7. Menstrual hygiene during period: Do’s and Don’ts(7 tricks to be well prepared for your Periods)
Is it imperative for every woman, starting from her early growing up years to maintain clean and hygienic habits, especially personal and menstrual cleanliness? Women usually tend to ignore their health and personal care resulting in various health issues in later years.
Here are some tips to help you stay clean and hygienic during your periods:
1. Be careful while choosing your sanitary care product.
Each woman has a unique menstruation pattern and body type. With advancement of time and needs today there are a number of options available like sanitary napkins, tampons and menstrual cups to be used during periods. The usage of sanitary napkins is the most preferred method prevalent in India. While there are some women who choose to use either different types of sanitary napkins on different days of their periods or different methods of protection (like a tampon and a sanitary napkin) - there are some who prefer to stick to one type and brand. It is recommended to try and use one brand for one type of protection for a while to know if it helps your needs. Frequent switching between brands can make you uncomfortable since brands are as unique as you, they suit everyone differently. It would help to take advice from medical practitioner regarding the same before hand.
2. Changing the pad/tampon frequently:
This might sound like a simple day to day routine but it has a huge reasoning especially during periods. Our menstrual blood is contaminated with the body’s organisms. This rule is true even in low flow days since your pad is still damp and will have organisms from your vagina, sweat from your genitals etc. When these organisms remain in a warm and moist place for a long time they tend to multiply and can lead to conditions like urinary tract infection (UTI) and skin rashes which can be uncomfortable and painful in a long run.
Though there is no standard time to change the pad/tampon and it depends on person to person and from day to day during the cycle. Thumb rule should be 4-6 hours for a pad and 2-4 hours for a tampon.
While some women might have a heavy flow and would need to change more often, others will need to change less frequently. There are a few instances where your sanitary napkin or tampon might not be completely used – usually on days when you have a lesser flow – but you must change at regular intervals.
3. Wash yourself regularly:
During your periods the blood tends to stick to tiny spaces like the skin between your labia or crust around the opening of the vagina and you should always wash this excess blood away. This will also ensure that there is no bad odor from the vaginal region. So, it is important to wash your vagina and labia well before you change into a new pad. If you cannot wash yourself before you change make sure to wipe off the areas using toilet paper or tissue. There are many brands of intimate wipes available which can be easily bought from the market, these have a balanced pH value and do not irritate the sensitive skin.
4. Don’t use soaps:
The vagina has its own cleaning mechanism that works in a very fine balance of good and bad bacteria. Washing it with soap can kill the good bacteria making way for infections. So, while it is important to wash yourself regularly during this time, all you need to use is some warm water/intimate washes. You can use soap on the external parts but do not use it inside your vagina or vulva. There is a wide range of specialized cleansers and intimate washes available in the market .These are mild and have the correct pH balance to maintain hygiene and keep your sensitive areas clean .
5. Keep your monthly kits handy:
Its always advisable to be prepared for your periods ensuring that you have adequate supply of pads, extra wipes/washes, sanitizers and panties not to forget some disposable bags for safe disposal of used pads/tampons. If you have a hectic and busy lifestyle it would help to carry a bottle of water and some healthy snack throughout the day. Our body goes through metabolic and hormonal changes during menstruation and it is important to take care of ourselves during those days
6. Taking warm baths:
It is very important to keep your body and private areas clean and dry especially during Periods. A warm bath will not only cleanse your body but provide relief from menstrual stress and aches. It also helps relieve menstrual cramps, backaches, helps improve your mood and makes you feel less bloated. To get some relief from backaches and menstrual cramps, just stand under a shower of warm water using mild washes and intimate cleansers that are especially designed to suit sensitive vaginal skins or soak your self in a bath tub. Prolonged baths will provide ease and relief during heavy flow days. Clean and dry skin will also help in preventing rashes, skin irritation and odor.
7. Disposing the used sanitary product:
Apart from ensuring that we use adequate sanitary solutions we should also be cautious while discarding the used napkin/tampon hygienically. It is essential to discard your used napkins or tampons properly because they are capable of spreading infections, also if not disposed properly used napkins and tampons tend to give out a foul odor making it unhygienic and un comfortable. Wrapping it well before discarding it ensures that the smell and infection is contained. It is advised not to flush the pad or tampon down the toilet since they are capable of forming a block and can cause the toilet to back up. It should be ensured that your hands are washed properly after discarding the used napkin to stay away from infections.