For Girls - What to Expect
This is a very confusing and awkward time for all teenagers. Expect to feel weird. It's normal! There are many changes that occur. Others occur based on which sex you are. Just look for the following:
* Typically experience growth spurt around age 11
* Grow larger breasts around age 11
* Get rounder, wider hips and narrower waists
* Start menstruation (period) around age 13 (sometimes sooner, sometimes later) or at 106 pounds (specifically), an irregular and inconsistent vaginal discharge (later becoming regular and consistent)
Signs of Reaching Puberty
For girls, their first menstruation, or period, is a sign that they have reached puberty. This is a normal sign that occurs in ALL healthy girls. Menstruation lets you know you have a normal, functioning reproductive system.
* Menstruation (or period) is a monthly discharge of blood and tissue from the uterus through the vagina.
* Depending on individual body development and hormone levels, a girl's first menstrual cycle may begin at any time.
* The first menstrual period is called menarche (meh-NAR-key).
* The first few cycles are irregular, but become regular over time, usually occurring every 28 days or so.
* One menstrual period may last between two and seven days.
* During one menstrual period, it's typical for one-half to one cup of blood and tissue to be discharged from start to finish.
* Some girls get premenstrual syndrome (PMS) right before their menstrual period. Symptoms of PMS include cramps and irritability and are also driven by your hormones.
* For hygiene reasons, girls should ALWAYS use tampons or sanitary pads to absorb the blood flow. Tampons (worn internally) should be changed every four hours in order to avoid the risk of a very rare bacterial infection called TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome).
Pads (worn inside the underwear) should be changed every four to five hours at least. Overnight pads should be changed every eight hours. Keeping them on longer can cause a foul odor. By the way, you can't get TSS from pads. Buying extra tampons or pads is a good idea so that they are on hand whenever you need them. Have some at home, but don't forget to take some with you to school in a purse or a bookbag, and keep them anywhere else you may need them. If your menstrual period comes on suddenly or when you're not home, you will always have something available to absorb the flow. Thinking ahead and being prepared can really save you a lot of potential embarrassment.
Your period is something you eventually appreciate as a symbol of your womanhood. Again, everything about your period is normal- all women have gone through the same thing!
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