What are periods? - Play Safe
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Aunty Flo, rags, blob, shark week, have the painters in, closed for business, being a girl, opening the flood gates, the red river, leak week, that time of the month… PERIODS!

Most girls usually get their first period around ages 11-14, but it can also come earlier or later.

A period lasts for about 5 – 7 days and happens every 28 days, but could be more or less frequent.

When a girl gets a regular period, it means she can get pregnant. The ovaries release an egg about every 28 days, which travels down the fallopian tube and sits on the side of the uterus (womb). Soft blood cushions the egg to make sure it’s comfy in the uterus.

If the egg isn’t fertilised, your body removes the egg and the blood out of the vagina. This is called a period.

If the egg is fertilised with sperm, the blood will stay and look after the egg as it grows into a baby. This is why you don’t usually get your period when you’re pregnant. But some people can still get their period while pregnant.  So, just because you’re getting your period, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not pregnant!

The best way to make sure you don’t get pregnant is to use contraception. Condoms and the pill are a pretty common option.

Girls can use a pad or a tampon when they have their period. A pad sticks to underwear and absorbs the blood. They come in all different shapes and sizes. Try a few different ones to find which is most comfortable for you. Pads need to be changed regularly and can’t be worn when swimming.

Tampons are inserted into the vagina to absorb the blood as it comes out of the uterus. Tampons also come in different sizes and some have applicators to make them easier to insert. Again, experiment to see what suits you. Tampons should be changed 3-6 times a day and shouldn’t be left inside the vagina for more than 8 hours in case they cause a severe illness called Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).

A period isn’t always predictable. So, it might be a good idea to carry a pad or tampon in your bag.

If your period isn’t regular – don’t stress, especially if it’s the first time you’ve got your period. Sometimes girls get their first period and then won’t get it again until months later. After the first year, they usually become more regular. Some girls have a really light period while others will have a really heavy one. They’re all different, so try not to compare yourself with your friends.

And, if you’re worried about your period or you want to know more you can ring 1800 451 624 between 9:00am and 5:30pm Monday to Friday to talk with a sexual health nurse. It’s confidential and free if you call from a landline.

Do you and your friends have another word for period that isn’t in the list? Submit it in a comment below.