If you’re between the ages of 9 and 14, you’ve probably started to experience puberty, or the changes that happen when your body changes from a child to a young adult. Then again, you may not have. Either way, don’t worry. Puberty in girls can start as early as age 8 and as late as 13 or 14, but eventually everyone goes through it!
Beginning menstruation, often called getting your period, is a normal part of going through puberty for girls. Your period happens around once a month because changes from puberty signal your brain to release new chemicals, called hormones, into your body. During this time, your uterus starts creating a thick, lush layer of blood and nutrients inside in case you have sex and a fetus (or baby-to-be) starts to grow in there. If there is no pregnancy, the uterus pushes out the layer of nutrients, called the endometrium, which comes out of the vagina as your period. Your body then begins to create a new layer with a fresh lining and it starts over again.
It’s normal to feel nervous or anxious about getting your period. It can help to talk with an adult that you trust about what to expect and to carry some feminine hygiene supplies (like a maxi pad or tampon) with you just in case.