Girl Talk

A Guide to getting on with life

You might be waiting for your first period. You might have already started. Having your period is all part of being a woman. It's completely normal and it happens to all of us, including your friends and not so great friends too.

Girl Talk is here to tell you everything you need to know about periods, the changes you're going through and how to choose the products that are right for you.


Know your stuff

Where and when will it happen? What will it be like? Will everyone know? Don't panic! Learn about your menstrual cycle and get yourself sorted. Always keep a pad in your bag. That way you won't get caught out. You won't get a sudden gush of blood, just a few spots at first.

How often?
Roughly once a month your body will go through a cycle called your menstrual cycle. This is shown on the diagram below. If you've just started your periods your body will need time to regulate itself. So you may find you have two cycles in one month or you may even miss the odd one. Why not keep a diary so you can follow your cycle?

Menstrual cycle diagram

  1. If the egg remains unfertilised, the uterus lining and the egg are shed as a period. A typical period lasts 5 days but it can be anything from 2-7 days.
  2. The lining of the uterus starts to prepare for a fertilised egg.
  3. After ovulation the egg begins its journey towards the uterus.
  4. The uterus lining is now thick with blood.

Did you know?
On average, we have around 500 periods during our lives.

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What's going on?

Periods. They may seem pretty weird at first, but periods are a fact of life and a natural and healthy part of being a woman.

When you start your periods, your reproductive organs (the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus) are giving you a signal that you're physically able to have a baby.

Each month, one of your ovaries produces a tiny egg.

When it is ready, the egg travels down the fallopian tube into your uterus (your womb). This process is called ovulation.

The uterus prepares a soft lining of tissue and blood for the egg's arrival. If you were to get pregnant, this lining would provide the fertilised egg with the food it needs to grow into a baby.

You can only get pregnant if the egg is fertilised by sperm during sex. This fertilised egg is a single cell which will keep re-dividing to develop into a baby.

If the egg isn't fertilised by a sperm, the egg will leave your uterus along with the soft lining. This leaves your body through the vagina as a slow trickle of blood.

This is your period.

Did you know?
You can do everything you normally do while having your period, even swimming.

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Choosing what's right for you.

Pads? Liners? Tampons? Wings? Thin or thick? Confused? Don't be. Kotex® offers a wide range of products to suit your individual needs, to make you feel protected, comfortable and confident.

Pads are usually your best bet when you first start your period. Some girls feel more comfortable with a thin pad. Others feel more secure with a thicker one. Whatever pad you choose, there's no reason for anyone to know you're wearing one.

Liners can be used every day. It is normal to get a whitish discharge in between periods. Keep that fresh knicker feeling by using Kotex® liners. You can change them whenever you want to stay feeling dry and clean all day.

Tampons. Small and discreet. Handy for going swimming. Or for wearing next to nothing (why be any more self-conscious than you have to?)!

Did you know?
When we are born, our ovaries contain all the eggs we will ever produce: around 2 million!

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What you need and when.

Girls come in all shapes and sizes. So do periods. So do pads, liners and tampons. Have a look at Our Products section to see the different options and choose whatever suits you most!

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How Often.

Roughly once a month your body will go through a cycle called your menstrual cycle. This is shown on the diagram above. If you've just started your periods your body will need time to regulate itself. So you may find you have two cycles in one month or you may even miss the odd one. Why not keep a diary so you can follow your cycle?

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Body changes.

One big pain
Painful periods are very common. About one in two girls get them every month, usually at the start of their period.

It's not the bleeding part that hurts. The pains are cramps in your tummy and sometimes lower back. They're caused by your uterus contracting while your body settles into its natural rhythm. It's just another way of your body telling you that everything's OK.

From cloud nine to down in the dumps
One minute you're feeling normal. The next you're ready to bite someone's head off. Aaaaaaaaargh!

You may also feel a bit bloated because of water retention.

Don't worry, it's normal. All this is just a part of PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome).

Many girls experience PMS. You're not alone.

No-one knows what really causes PMS but the levels of oestrogen (the hormone that stimulates ovulation) and progesterone (the hormone released after ovulation) in your body, change just before your period. So until your hormone levels fall when your period arrives you may not feel your usual self.

Did you know?
Your oestrogen levels can increase by seven times as much during your menstrual cycle. No wonder we get PMS!

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Good news!

There's a whole load of things you can do to ease PMS symptoms. You'll soon discover which works best for you. If you get an idea of how and when PMS might happen each month, it's easier to handle. So what can you do?

  • Eat fruit and veg and drink loads of water.
  • Eating plenty of calcium-packed milk and yoghurts can also help ease period pains.
  • It's a good idea to cut out salt as it causes water retention.
  • Sugar can affect your appetite and energy and coffee can put your moods into roller coaster mode. So it's a good idea to try and cut down on both.
  • Take it easy. Go horizontal on the sofa with a hot water bottle on your tummy or take a warm, scented bath.
  • Take regular exercise to boost your circulation. Gentle yoga stretches can help to relax your entire body and calm your mood.
  • Evening Primrose Oil ad Starflower Oil supplements can be a big help with PMS symptoms.
  • Aromatherapy oils like rose, geranium and lavender can sooth period pains. Clary sage can stop your tummy hurting. And fennel can help sort out those crazy hormones.
  • Aaah massage! Gently massage your tummy or ask a friend to rub your back?
  • Or if all else fails, you could also take a low dose over-the-counter painkiller. But if you're finding everything a bit too painful, go and see your doctor to make sure everything's OK.

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Please note that the contents of this section are for informational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice or as a substitute to your doctor's advice. For medical care and advice, you should consult your doctor on a regular basis. If you have any problem which concerns you, consult your doctor immediately.