Menstruation: Your Questions Answered
Q. Can people tell I'm having my period?
A. They won't know unless you tell them. The pads on the market today are very thin and fit into the crotch of your underpants. Even if someone saw you in your underpants, they would not see the outline of your pad. Tampons are placed inside the vagina and cannot be seen through your clothing.
Q. Do I need to skip Phys Ed class when I get my period, or rest a lot?
A. The general answer is that you can do as much as you feel like doing. You may be tired or experience some cramping, but this shouldn't hold you back. You can do everything you do during the rest of the month. Exercise, by the way, can relieve cramps and make you feel energized.
Q. This looks like an awful lot of blood. Do I need to worry?
A. While the blood may look like a lot, it really isn't as much as you think. You just aren't used to seeing this amount at one time and it also takes getting used to the idea that this is blood that is supposed to happen—every month, in fact! During an average period, a girl loses from 4-12 teaspoons of menstrual blood. That can look like a lot more when you see it on a pad or a tampon, but don't be worried unless you are soaking through a pad or a tampon every hour or so. At that point, it's a good idea to see a physician.
Q. How can I know when I'm going to get my period?
A. It's a good idea to keep track of your period on a calendar, marking the first day you see blood, every month. After doing this for a few months, if your periods are regular, you should be able to see a pattern. The average period comes every 28 days. But this number can vary a bit. You will soon see how many days your own cycle lasts and then you will be able to predict your next period.
If your periods aren't regular, there are other signs that can tell you when your period is about to begin. Some girls may feel bloated. Others may feel light cramps just before their periods begin. Still other girls may feel a bit cranky around this time. You may even have all of these symptoms at once.
Even when your period is regular, sometimes a period can surprise you and arrive at an unexpected time. For this reason it's a good idea to always carry a pad or tampon in your purse, just in case.