Starting your menstruation is a major event that happens in a girl’s life, some girls embrace the first drops of blood with joy and relieve while others feel confused and scared. Whatever the reaction may be, the first menstruation marks the beginning of womanhood in all girls.

Statistics shows that most girls start menstruating within the age of 12-16 although some may be earlier while some are late but nevertheless, you shouldn’t wait till your first menstruation before you know what menstruation is all about.
Ø When are u expected to start menstruating
Menstruation is not just about having a period; it is a sign that a girl is capable of becoming pregnant. Physical changes such as breast development, growth of hair in some pubic areas, rapid growth e.t.c., are signs that you will soon start menstruating. Menstruation begins at about two and half years after the physical changes, this also varies in girls.
Ø Know about menstruation
In the early age, girls generally have their first menstruation (Menarche) at age 14 or 15 but for series of reasons such as environmental changes and better nutrition, girls now start to menstruate as early as 9 years. During the menstrual cycle, hormones are released from different parts of the body to help control and prepare the body for pregnancy. This preparation begins when the ovaries (Two oval shaped organs that lie at the upper part of the uterus right and left) produce hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) which triggers certain changes in the lining of the uterus (thickens the wall of the uterus). Other hormones from the pituitary gland stimulate the maturing and release of the egg from the ovary (ovulation). Ovulation happens in the middle of menstrual cycle (14 days of an average 28 days cycle); from the ovary the egg passes through the fallopian tubes (the tubes that lead the ovary to the uterus) to the uterus.
During this period, if a girl has sexual intercourse with a man, there is a high possibility of getting pregnant because the sperm will fertilize the egg, but if there is no sexual intercourse and the egg is not fertilized, the egg begins to fall apart, the oestrogen and progesterone level drops and the thickened uterine lining breaks down and sheds. This bleeding is what is known as menstruation or period.
Ø Study your cycle
The menstrual cycle is the recurring cycle of physiological changes in the female reproductive system. A menstrual cycle lasts from the first day of one period to the first day of the next, the average menstrual cycle of an adult is 28days although some are as short as 22days while some are as long as 45days. Periods usually take about 5days and it varies in girls, some menstruate for 3days while some for 7days. For the first few years after menstruation begins, cycles are not always regular. They may be shorter or longer. A young girl may have 3-4 periods in a year. A girl should see her doctor if she has not started menstruating at 16 or 3years after puberty begins.
Ø Get sanitary materials ready
Prior to the time menstruation is expected to begin, you can also go about with a menstrual pad in your bag or purse so as to avoid the first menstrual shock or discomfort as it can come anytime and anywhere
Ø Menstrual hygiene
Ensure that you practice good menstrual hygiene while menstruating such as taking your bath regularly at least 2 times a day, change your sanitary material regularly, and do not use a single menstrual pad for a whole day e.t.c.
Ø Menstrual cramps
Note that menstruation can come with a little or no menstrual cramps depending on individual. Cramps are mainly caused by the contraction of uterus during menstruation, practice such as minor exercise, taking hot or warm water, having warm bath reduces menstrual cramps.
Ø Eat regularly and eat well during menstruation
Although you are shedding the thickened linings of the uterus as tissues, you should also remember that you are shedding blood. Yes! You are shedding blood and will do more good to yourself when you eat well and healthy.

Menstruating does not actually disturb you from your normal day-day activities; it is just a natural phenomenon that must occur. So far you are ready and prepared for it, and then you should consider yourself good to go.

Sulaiman khadijah


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