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What happens during a period? Does it hurt? Should you choose tampons or pads? In this article, we answer questions girls often have about their first menstruation.

What To Expect From Periods

Most girls don't have any advance warning before their first period — but you'll know it's your period when you notice bleeding from your vagina in your underpants or on your toilet paper. Periods are nothing to be ashamed of, and you'll want to let your mom know you've started so you can buy menstrual pads or tampons together. 

A period usually lasts between three and six days, and it will seem like you lose a lot of blood! Your menstrual blood mixed with other fluids and you actually won't lose more than a cup of blood through menstruation. After you get your first period, you will need to choose between tampons or pads to absorb the blood

You may even leak a little bit sometimes, so you might want to prepare for that by taking extra pants with you when you have your period. 

Do periods hurt? That's a question most girls have before they start menstruating, and unfortunately the answer is usually yes. Cramps and pain are very common before and during periods. Taking an over-the-counter painkiller can help you feel better if your pain gets really bad. A hot water bottle on your tummy can also help ease the pain.

In addition to cramps and pain, many girls also have a bloated stomach and get pimples. You can also expect mood swings — feeling very emotional or irritated. These feelings may be difficult to deal with, and they may lead to some explosive situations at home and with friends! Don't be embarrassed to let your parents or friends know you're having your period or are about to start one, because they'll be more understanding if you do. 

Some girls have back pain when they get their periods, and headaches can also happen. Your breasts also feel a little different just before and during your menstruation. 

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