Periods… what’s normal?

And what's not?

Periods… what’s normal?

Getting your period means more than just monthly bleeding becoming part of your life. Your hormones set your ovaries and womb to work, and you may feel your emotions go crazy too. This ‘monthly cycle’ can actually last between 21 and 40 days. Here’s some facts to help you feel totally clued up and ready!

Eggs can make you queasy
Some girls can feel when they’re ovulating, around the middle of their cycle. You might feel a bit nauseous and achy round your lower back or stomach. You might even feel a little pop or twinge as an egg comes out!

Cramping your style
It’s normal to get aches or ‘cramps’ when you bleed. The walls of your womb tighten to help the thicker lining come away. Some girls don’t feel it, some feel a pulling ache, some get waves of pain. If you’re just starting, cramps can feel bad at first, but they often get better over time.

Hot, achy, puffy, spotty, moody!
Feeling like periods really suck? You’re not alone. Your cycle is controlled by hormones - oestrogen to set your eggs going, then progesterone to line your womb. It can mess with your mood. It’s normal to feel angrier, tearier and hotter before your period, get back ache or sore breasts, spots and a puffy tummy. Eating well, gentle exercise, painkillers and warm baths can all help.

Underwear under examination
Every girl is different when it comes to what comes out in their underwear - but vaginal fluid or ‘discharge’ is normal. It might be clear or creamy mid-cycle, or you may get brown spots before or after your period (it’s just blood mixed with oxygen). It’s nothing to feel ashamed of, and usually nothing to worry about.

When to see a nurse or doctor

  • If you’re in serious pain when you ovulate or bleed.
  • If you’re bleeding very heavily (about 3-5 tablespoons is usual over each period).
  • If you have brown spotting for more than a few days.
  • If you get sores around your vagina, very strong, fishy-smelling discharge, if it’s green, yellow or grey - these can be signs of infection so be brave and get checked.