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What is the Period?

Having a period (menstruation) is part of being a woman; in order to get pregnant you have to have started to menstruate. Even though very few girls think of having a child when they first start to menstruate, it is a signal the body gives to show that you are capable of getting pregnant.

About once a month girls discharge a red, bloody fluid from the vagina, and that is what we call menstruation, or the period. The age at which girls have their first period varies greatly. Some have it at the end of primary school (about twelve years old), others in junior high school (twelve to sixteen) and others after they’ve left junior high. 

How long the period lasts also varies from girl to girl. For some girls it may last three days, but it can last a week for others. Some girls may experience cramp-like pains in the abdomen, their body temperature can go up and down, they can have backache or get spots when they have their period, while other girls don’t notice it so much.

So girls experience menstruation differently, but still there is a lot that is similar. There is a process that repeats itself after you have had your first period.

This is what happens in your body when you have your period:

1)     An egg develops in one of your ovaries. This happens around the middle of your menstrual cycle.

2)     When the egg is ready, you have an ovulation. This means that the egg is released from the ovary.

3)     The egg then moves from the ovary to the womb, this journey takes three to four days.

4)     If the egg is not fertilized by sperm, the womb rejects the egg. This happens about two weeks after ovulation.

5)     The period occurs when blood-filled mucus in the womb is released. The mucus leaves the body as if you were bleeding. The egg and everything the womb rejects is part of this.


This happens again and again and is called the menstrual cycle. Normally there are 28 days between the first day of your menstruation and the next time it starts, but this can vary.

If you have a smartphone or a tablet, you can download an app that makes it easier to keep control of when you will have your next period, but you can also make your own calendar.

P.S. It’s quite normal for the period to be irregular at the start, and it can take a long time before it stabilises. So in the first few years it can be difficult to be sure of when your next period will start.

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