What you need to know

Periods, also known as menstruation, are a natural part of growing up for many girls and people with vaginas. 

Each month, your body prepares for pregnancy by building up the lining of the womb. If you don't become pregnant, the body sheds this lining. This shedding is called a period.

Most girls and people start their periods between the ages of 10 and 15.

It's perfectly normal to start at any age within this range.

If your period starts later than this age range, it doesn't usually mean there's anything to worry about. If you are worried, contact your GP. Your GP might ask you some questions about your lifestyle or do a blood test to check your hormones.


Periods usually last about 3 to 7 days. It's normal for some periods to be shorter and others to be longer.

You might also find that how heavy or light your period is, can change from time to time.

There are different products to help you manage your periods comfortably. You can find these products in supermarkets, pharmacies, and online:

•   Pads: These are worn inside your underwear to absorb the blood

•   Tampons: These are inserted into the vagina to absorb the period flow

•   Menstrual Cups: These are reusable and are inserted into the vagina to collect the blood

•   Period Pants: These are washable pants that absorb the blood.

You might experience some symptoms before or during your period, such as:

•   Cramps in your lower belly

•   Feeling a bit moody or emotional

•   A bit of swelling or bloating in your belly

•   Tender breasts.

These symptoms are normal, but if they are very uncomfortable or worrying, you should talk to a trusted adult or healthcare professional.


Periods are a natural part of growing up, and everyone's experience is different. It's okay to have questions or feel unsure about it. Talking to someone you trust, like a parent, teacher, public health nurse or doctor, can help.

Primary school aged information on periods video

Secondary school aged information on periods video

Health for Teens: Autism and managing your periods