GIRLS AND PUBERTY: THE FIRST PERIOD

Some girls are excited about the prospect of having their periods; others aren’t so eager. Many girls are concerned that their first period will sneak up on them. They worry that the blood will soak through their clothes without their realizing it and they’ll be publicly embarrassed. Such things can happen, but generally a girl has a sensation of wetness and has plenty of time to get to the lavatory before the blood soaks through her underclothes. Besides, not that much blood comes out all at once. Altogether over the entire period, only about half a cup to a cup of blood is lost, so only a small amount is dribbling out of the vaginal opening at any one time.

Most girls use sanitary towels or pads instead of tampons at first. A lot of girls think that a virgin – a person who hasn’t had sex yet – can’t use a tampon because of the hymen. But as we explained, the hymen has openings in it and is very stretchy. Unless a girl has a particularly rigid or tight hymen, she can use a tampon whether or not she’s had sexual intercourse. Still, most girls prefer to use towels at first, unless they want to go swimming, in which case they use a tampon.

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