What is Menstruation (also called a "Period")?
During puberty, hormones develop and menstruation begins. Menstruation occurs about once a
month and lasts about three to six days. Menstruation is part of a woman's monthly cycle.
Like the moon's cycle, menstruation has steps:
- An egg begins to ripen in an ovary, and the uterine lining begins to build up the cushion.
- Approximately halfway through the cycle, the egg (ovum) is released from the ovary and the
lining is thicker and fullest when egg travels down the fallopian tube.
- When a woman is not pregnant, the cushion and egg are "let go" and menstruation begins.
- The cycle begins again.
Each monthly cycle, a young woman's uterus builds up this lining that is like a soft
The purpose of this is, is for when a woman become pregnant, the baby would be surrounded by
this cushion and would be protected from all the bumps and rocking movements that the mother
makes as she goes about her day. The cushion is rich in blood supply to prove nutrition to
Approximately halfway through the cycle, eggs (ovum) are released from the ovaries. They
travel down the fallopian tubes and settle for a short time in the uterus.
Most months a woman is not pregnant, and instead of keeping the blood-enriched cushion,
there is a "letting go" of the cushion and its contents, which results in menstruation.
Menstruation is not bleeding like from a scratch or cut, it is a release of the cushion.
Most girls have questions...
Most girls have questions about what's happening to them.
Some girls can ask their parents, and that is great. Some girls find it very difficult to
bring these questions up with their parents, but would like to. Other girls would prefer to
talk to an adult who is not a parent. The important point is to find an adult that you
believe will help you.
Here are some suggestions of how to approach an adult about your questions and concerns.
(From Peggy Stubbs of the Center for Research on Women, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA):
- Think about what you want to ask
- Decide whom you think you'd be most comfortable talking to.
- Think about a good time and place for this talk.
- Plan an opening line. Some suggestions are:
- "I want to talk to you about something. Is this a good time?"
- "I feel kind of embarrassed. I was wondering if we could talk in private."
- Plan your first question. Some suggestions are:
- "I'm thinking about my first period. What do you think it might be like?"
- "In health class all the kids were talking about…"
- "My friend said…..and it got me wondering about…"
- If speaking with a woman you can say, "I was wondering when you got your first period.
What it was like?"
- Other ideas:
- Have the librarian help you find a book.
- Write your parents a note.
- Order a book through Programs and Products