Understanding Puberty: Girl's Edition

Menstrual Cycle

Why is it called a cycle?

The menstrual cycle also known as your period occurs once a month when your body sheds the lining of the uterus. Your period may be light, heavy, or irregular at first and will eventually even itself out.

The reason it is called the menstrual cycle is because it repeats itself every month. The first day of your period is day 1. On average your period will last anywhere from 28-32 days. It is an average because no two people have the same exact cycle. Once your period goes away and comes back again the cycle starts all over again. Kids Health has a great video explain the cycle.

We recommend trying to keep track of your period so you can get a good idea of what your “normal” is as well as know when your next period is supposed to arrive so you can be prepared.

What can I use?

There are many options available and it is important to use a product that is comfortable for YOU. Just because your friend uses tampons does not mean you need to use them too. There are tampons, pads, menstrual cups, and even period underwear! Fortunately, there are many options for you to try and see what suits you best.

What happens if I get my period in school?

Do not worry! You can always ask your school nurse or female Health/Physical Education teacher. They have them available at all times.  Also, chances are a friend probably has something for you to use. Trust us, you will not be first person to need it or the last!

Emotional Changes

Mood Swings

Happy one minute, cranky the next. Sound familiar? This is because mood swings are pretty common during adolescence. In fact, they can be really hard to control. This is because your body is going through a huge transition and has a surge of hormones going on. You may be feeling like there is something wrong with you, but this is pretty normal, too.

When/Who do I see for girl health concerns?  

If at any time you feel emotionally or physically off or not right, reach out to a parent or trusted adult. She/he will be able to help you decide if it something that needs to be addressed by a doctor.

A pediatrician, primary care doctor, or gynecologist (a doctor who specializes in female health) are all good options. If you need help finding a doctor and live in Northern New Jersey, you can call the  Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist.