1. Health

First Periods

Things That Can Affect Your Period

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Updated May 07, 2014

During the first year or so of having your period, your body may be working at getting into a period "routine." For example, you might have your first period and then not have another one for a few months. Or, you might have a few periods and skip one a few months down the road.

Even while your body is establishing your normal pattern, there are other things that can affect your period. For example, if your body has too little fat on it or you are exercising too much, your period can stop or your cycle can be lengthened. Having too little body fat is unhealthy for many reasons, so ask your doctor to help you get back to a healthy weight.

Stress can also affect your period. If you are going through a particularly stressful time, your period may stop or change from what is normal for you. While this usually doesn't cause long-term period problems, it's best to try to reduce your stress. If the stress is too much for you to handle on your own or continues for a long time, talk to an adult you trust and get some help dealing with your problems.

Physical illness can also affect your period. A bad cold or flu may be enough to throw your period off that month. Likewise, a major illness can certainly cause you to skip your period. Make sure you let your doctor know if the cycle of your period becomes irregular often.

You might want to talk with your health care provider about a condition called a bleeding disorder if you have very heavy menstrual periods or have ever had problems with the following things:

  • easy bruising
  • frequent or prolonged nosebleeds
  • prolonged or heavy bleeding after minor cuts, dental work, childbirth, or surgery.

The most common bleeding disorder in girls and women (von Willebrand's disease or VWD) runs in families, so your mother, sister, female cousins, or aunts also might have some of the signs listed above.

The cycle of the female body

You have 2 ovaries: one on each side of, but lower than, your belly button. Each of your ovaries contains about 1 million eggs or ova and you've had all of them since you were born. During each menstrual cycle, one egg is released from one of your two ovaries. This usually happens about halfway between two periods.

The egg travels from the ovaries, through the fallopian tubes and into your uterus. If a woman has sex and sperm from a man joins her egg on its way to the uterus, the egg has become fertilized. The fertilized egg will attach to her uterine lining and she'll be pregnant. If the egg doesn't become fertilized, it will be shed during her next period.

Emotions

This period of growth may feel like a difficult time for many reasons. In addition to the physical changes, your hormones are causing complex emotional changes as well. For example, your feelings and emotions about how your body is changing may vary from day to day.

One day you might feel great about being wonderfully tall. The next day, you might hate the fact that you are taller than most of the boys. One week, you might be happy that you've already gotten your period and can share tips for dealing with cramps with your girlfriends. The next week (when you have those cramps!), you might wish you could stay a little girl forever!

It is completely normal to have mixed feelings about all that is going on in your body. Talk with your girlfriends, your sister or mother, your teachers, or another woman who has already reached adulthood. Every woman you know has been through the same changes and will understand what you're going through! Soon, you'll be able to help someone else, too.

Source: The National Women's Health Information Center

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