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First Menstrual Period: Care Instructions

Menstrual flow


Your first menstrual period is called menarche. It usually happens around age 12. But it may start earlier or later. Your period is a part of your menstrual cycle. This cycle is a series of changes your body goes through to prepare for a possible pregnancy. Having a period means you can get pregnant if sperm fertilizes an egg through sex.

At first, your period may not come every month in a regular pattern. It could be as long as 2 years before yours has a regular pattern. Periods usually occur about every 4 weeks.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Use tampons, pads, or menstrual cups for bleeding. Ask someone you trust if you have questions about how to use them.
  • To ease cramps, try a heating pad set on low or a warm bath. Daily exercise may also help.
  • Ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for cramps. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Do not take two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.