Your first period: What you should know before it starts

Young people all over the world are experiencing their first period every day – a completely new experience. It is a special time that often brings many questions and even more uncertainty with it. Here you will find everything you need to know about your first period. Are you wondering when your menstruation will come and what is normal? We have all the answers for you.

When will I get my first period?

Menstruation begins during puberty and marks another milestone on the journey towards adulthood. How old we are when getting our period for the first time can vary quite a bit. Usually the first menstruation comes between the age of ten and 16. That’s actually quite a long age span. This just shows how different our bodies are and that each person develops individually. The average age in Germany is around 12.5 years. For reference, I got my very first period one month after my 13th birthday. So a little later than the average. But for me personally, it was definitely early enough. To be honest, there is no right age for the first period, which is also called menarche. Everything is normal and good. Sooner or later we all have them.

What does the first period look like?

The first period does not start directly with a full on bloodbath. The actual menstruation is often preceded by slight spotting. It is usually similar to vaginal discharge, only more brownish. So if the vaginal discharge changes its colour, the first period is right around the corner. And soon you will probably see the first red spot in your underpants. Generally speaking, the color of the menstrual blood has beautiful different facets of red tones. The colour of the blood can look very different and varies during menstruation. In the beginning the blood is probably more brownish or light red and slightly pink. Then it becomes strong to dark red in the middle and at the end it becomes rather brownish again. So menstrual blood is not always just red.

How long does the menarche last?

Some have very short periods at the beginning, others have a full week of bleeding from the start. On average, the first period lasts between three and seven days. The same length as a normal period as well.

Can I use tampons straightaway?

Sure, why not? From the first period on everything is possible and you can choose the period product that fits you best. It’s best to try out the different products to see what you feel most comfortable with! (Washable) pads and period underwear are probably the easiest. You just put them on or fasten them in your underwear and off you go. Tampons or menstrual cups are a bit more difficult, because both products have to be inserted into the body and taken out again accordingly. In any case, they are also easy to use, but require a little practice and relaxation at the beginning. If you would like to try out a menstrual cup, you will finda a step-by-step guide here and even more tips: herehere and here. If you have any questions, feel free to message us!

Do other people know that I am on my period right now?

Probably not – unless you tell them, of course. Because contrary to many rumours, menstrual blood does not smell. So no one can smell or see your menstruation. And even if you may feel uncomfortable in your (new) body or think that your pad can be seen through your pants, others won’t notice. No one can see whether you are wearing a pad or not.

When will I get my next period?

Especially in the beginning periods are still very irregular, because the hormones in the body are constantly changing and have not yet found a balance. Sometimes you get your period again after only a few weeks. But sometimes it takes a few months. It is best to write down when you get your period and how long you bleed. You can use a little menstrual calendar or one of the many period apps on your mobile phone. This way you always have the dates saved. With time, your cycle will also find its rhythm. It usually takes about one to two years from your first period to a regular cycle. Usually you have your period once a month. If you observe other body signs besides menstruation, such as your vaginal mucus or fluctuating moods, you will probably soon be able to predict your period blindly. No more bloody surprises!

Do I have to visit a gynaecologist after my first period?

No, you don’t have to. At least not until you have actual complaints. But if you like, yo u could get a simple medical check-up. It is also possible not to be examined the first time you go to a gynaecologist, but to only arrange a consultation first. Then you can have a look at the place and see if you feel comfortable with your gynaecologist. You can also ask all of your questions about menstruation or the changes in your body.

Do you have any questions?

Here you will find our best tips for your first menstruation. Are all your questions answered? Or are you still worried about your first period? If yes, then write us a message with all your questions and we are more than happy to answer them!

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July 7, 2020
Britta Wiebe ist die Co-Gründerin von Vulvani. Am liebsten recherchiert, schreibt und konzipiert sie den ganzen Tag neue Artikel oder innovative Bildungsformate rund um Menstruation. Wenn sie nicht in der weiten Welt unterwegs ist, genießt sie ihre Zeit mit lieben Menschen im schönen Hamburg. | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter


  1. um in 11 and it’s going to soon be my birthday on march 20th do you think soon ill get my period beacause i got under hair and i have outbreaks and i’ve developed breasts?

    1. Hi Desiree, we’re so happy you’re here! From your message it sounds as if your body is starting to change, which is a fascinating time.
      The appearance of vaginal discharge (no blood yet!) signals that your uterus has become active and is working. The hormonal changes have started in your body. You are wondering what exactly the vaginal discharge is or what it looks like? It is a whitish-milky fluid that comes out of the vagina and is completely normal – as long as it does not smell or itch. You probably see small whitish spots in your underwear every now and then. Some people notice them more than others, but we all have them. This is the forerunner for the first period. Menstruation probably starts about a year after the first discharge. So it takes it’s time.

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