What's in this article

What's in this article

Are cramps normal and how can I stop them?

Cramps are a completely normal part of becoming a woman. They're caused by the hormone Prostaglandins which causes your uterus to contract so that it’s easier for the extra lining that your uterus has built up (in preparation for a possible pregnancy that didn’t happen this month) and egg to exit your body in the form of your period. These cramps normally start right before you get your period and are at their worst about a day after you first start feeling sore. There are a few things that you can do to help make your period cramps easier to bear such as a hot water bottle, a hot bath, exercise, painkillers and taking vitamin supplements.

How often should I change my pad?

Once menstrual fluid comes in contact with air, it can start to smell a bit icky – definitely not something you want! The aim of the game is to feel fresh all day long, so changing your pad every four hours or so is ideal. If you’ve got a heavier flow, then it may need to be changed more often. Every girl is different.

How long is the menstrual cycle?

Not long enough, for some of us. On average, a menstrual cycle lasts around 28 to 30 days, but because we’re all different, a cycle can range from 21 to 35 days. Days 1-7 is when the bleeding will happen so you'll need to use either a tampon or pad during these days. The flow will be heavier at the beginning and become much lighter towards the end of this stage. Then the cycle starts all over again. 

If my period is irregular, am I pregnant?

Not necessarily! Irregular periods are very common; in fact a third of all girls have to deal with irregular periods. If you just started getting periods, don’t worry if they're sometimes late, as you get older they start to arrive like clockwork. There are other causes of irregular periods including hormones, stress, STI’s (sexually transmitted infections) and pregnancy. If you think STI’s or pregnancy could be the cause of your irregular period, head to the doctor as soon as you can.

Can you get the same STD again?

If only STDs were like chicken pox! Annoyingly, you can get some STDs more than once, especially if they are bacterial or parasitic like gonorrhoea or chlamydia. The only thing to do is to be careful at all times. 

Does a pap smear hurt?

If you're a virgin or not sexually active, a pap smear can be uncomfortable or even slightly painful. The best thing you can do is to relax. If your muscles are tense, it can increase the discomfort. However, a pap smear is totally worth it. It is one of the most important things you can do as a woman to keep yourself healthy.

Is it normal to have dark brown clots in my period?

It can be pretty gross, but those spots are just the ejected blood from the lining of your womb. The blood could look anywhere from bright red to dark brown, which is perfectly normal. The amount of menstrual blood you have is different for each woman but most have heavier bleeding at the start, and then it lightens up until it’s all done. Sanitary products like tampons, pads and liners come in a range of absorbencies. This is so you can use the ‘super’ absorbency products for heavy days, ‘regular’ for medium flow and ‘mini’ for light days

Why does spotting happen?

Spotting is when a small amount of blood passes through the vagina between periods. Spotting can be quite normal and may occur in the couple of days after your period, or in the middle of your cycle. If you experience spotting it’s best to use U by Kotex® Everyday Freshness Liners which are designed for days between your period when you don’t need much absorbency.

Can you catch a STD in any other way apart from sex?

Although the S in STD stands for 'sex', there are in fact other ways you can get them. The most common way is by exchanging bodily fluids, such as oral sex or sharing needles. The rule of thumb is keep whatever's inside, inside. 

Can you have more than one STD at a time?

Sadly yes. Having one STD doesn’t prevent you from catching another, so that's why it's important to always practice safe sex. Most STDs are easily treated, if you think you may have a STD take a trip to your local doctor and get checked out.

Will condoms protect me from all STDs?

No as some STDs are passed on through skin to skin exposure. Condoms can help prevent it, but they are not always effective as some viruses (Herpes and genital warts) can be spread by the skin not covered by condoms.

Do all STDs have symptoms?

Although most STDs are unpleasant, not all of them have the courtesy of letting you know they're there. The only way to be sure you don't have them is to practice safe sex if you're sexually active. It's also worth making regular visits to the doctor to make sure you have the all-clear. 

Can you catch a STD from oral sex?

Yes you can get a STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) from oral sex, so if you are sexually active play it safe and be sure to use condoms. You body will thank you for it!

Do birth control pills prevent STDs?

The only thing birth control pills reliably prevent is babies. To prevent STDs it's best to use condoms.

How old will I be when my period starts?

Girls can start their periods (also referred to as menstruation) any time between 8 and 18 years old, but most girls start their menstrual cycle between the ages of 11 and 14. You might have mixed emotions about getting your period. Some girls can’t wait to start their periods and feel left out if they haven’t got theirs, especially if all their girlfriends have. Whereas other girls would be perfectly happy to be get theirs at an older age. There is no way to make your period come sooner or delay it from happening. Don’t panic if you haven’t started your period yet – it will happen when your body is ready.

What is difference between AIDS and HIV?

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus and it refers to the bug that gets spread when someone actually gets infected by HIV. In some very rare cases, those who have HIV may have no negative effects. AIDS, or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, is the disease that the virus causes. It basically wrecks your body's immune system and turns otherwise harmless diseases into something dangerous. 

Can you catch STDS from kissing?

They don’t call it kissing sores for nothing. While the risk is low, you can get herpes from kissing. It is also possible to get other STDs like HIV if you have cuts in your mouth and transmit blood or have oral sex. 

Will my period hurt?

Around half of women in the world suffer from period pain, otherwise known as cramps, but the actual 'bleeding' part of your period doesn't hurt. Cramps are normally a dull ache just below your stomach and around your lower back, which you’ll experience during the lead up and first few days of your period. Cramps tend to affect younger woman and girls more and get less painful with age. There are a few things that you can do to help make your period cramps easier to bear. Treat yourself to a hot bath, or use a hot water bottle. Exercise, painkillers and vitamin supplements can also do a world of good.

Why don't I have pubic hair yet?

Growing pubic hair is one of the signs of puberty. Puberty has different stages which happen at different times for each of us, so some teens may grow pubic hair early on where as others do not grow any until nearer the end. The best thing to do is not compare yourself to others! Although everyone goes through puberty, we all develop at different stages.

Why do I need to have a pap smear?

pap smear is a short procedure where the cells of your cervix are checked for early signs of cervical cancer. So it's not a check for cancer but an early warning sign, making it possible to stop cervical cancer before it even develops

Can I leave a tampon in overnight?

Like all tampons in Australia, our U by Kotex® tampons can be used for up to 8 hours, but not any longer. So, while it IS possible to wear a tampon overnight, we know that everyone has different absorbency needs, as well as different sleep patterns (let’s face it, we all like a sleep in sometimes!) so we do not recommend using a tampon overnight. Because of this, we have specifically designed our U by Kotex Overnight Ultrathins for you to use overnight without having to worry, so you can get your beauty sleep without disruption.

What is the best tampon for first timers?

Many girls prefer to use pads when they first get their period, but you can choose pads or tampons. Tampons are great for sport or swimming, and generally become more popular once girls get the hang of having their periods. If you’re new to tampons you could try a U By Kotex® mini tampon which is smaller than the others.

What happens to a boy during puberty?

Just like us girls, boys go through various physical changes during pubertyChanges to their bodies include height and weight gain, pimples (glad we're not alone on that one!), voices deepens, the penis and scrotum may get bigger and they'll start to grow hair under the arms, chest, face and around the pubic area. 

What is discharge and why do I get it?

It's perfectly normal to find a small amount of clear of milky discharge in your underwear. Discharge is actually your vagina cleaning itself to protect you from infection- it's very clever! The amount of discharge changes during your menstrual cycle. You only need to worry about discharge if it changes colour (to yellow or green) and if you start to feel any itchyness, this may be a sign of an infection and you should go and see your doctor. If the sight of discharge on your undies bothers you or they feel wet, try one of the Everyday Freshness Liners which are made exactly for this reason.

What are hormones?

Hormones cause the physical changes to our body during puberty as well as the emotional changes we experience. Different hormones are released into our body during puberty which causes your body shape to change, breasts to grow, periods to begin as well as affecting our feelings and emotions. You may be feeling on top of the world one day but lousy the next, and you won’t be able to figure out why. Don’t worry – it’s normal to be confused by the effects your hormones are having on you. It is important to maintain good nutrition so that you can avoid hormonal imbalance and mood swings. And just remember, puberty doesn’t last forever!

Will sex hurt?

The first time you have sex can be painful, but it won't be unmanageable. It's important that when you do decide to have sex, that you trust and are completely comfortable with your partner, and that they are understanding of the situation you're in. Make sure you spend long enough on foreplay, and go slowly. As you become more active, the pain will stop and you can start enjoying the experience.

Can I get pregnant while I'm on my period?

YES! You can most definitely get pregnant by having unprotected sex during your period. Having unprotected sex is dangerous as you can get STIs (sexually transmitted infections) some of which will never go away. The risk of pregnancy and STIs should be enough to convince you and your partner to always use protection no matter what time of the month it is!

Can I insert a tampon too far?

Not a chance. The cervix (the opening to your uterus) is too small for a tampon to fit through so there’s no need to stress.

How do you know if you have a STD?

STDs come in all shapes and sizes, so do their symptoms. That's why it's super important to educate yourself on all the symptoms and signs that the different STDs can bring. But a simple rule is that if you feel any unusual discomfort down there like aches, sores, bumps or rawness, it's worth asking a female relative or friend first then to a doctor. 

What can I do to stop period pain?

A nice warm hot water bottle will help; in fact, any kind of heat is probably going to ease this ache, so a nice relaxing bath will also help reduce the pain you are feeling from any period cramps. Having your period is the best reason to get pampered. Because  let's face it, you deserve it!  Exercise is also a great way to relieve period cramps as it helps relieve stress and tension in muscles. There are lots of over the counter painkillers that help with period cramps, a quick visit to your pharmacy or even local supermarket should kit you out perfectly. If your period cramps are really sore, so much so that you can’t go to school or do everyday things, you should go see your doc. They might even prescribe the Contraceptive Pill which has also been known to regulate periods and make period cramps less severe. 

Are you still a virgin if you use a tampon?

Yes, a tampon does not affect your virginity. The hymen that partially covers the vaginal opening (usually intact for girls who have not had sex) is large enough to accommodate a tampon without being affected.

How do I know when my period will start?

Most girls get their first period around the ages of 12 or 13, but some can be as young as 9 or as old as 16 (occasionally up to 18). There are some signs that will indicate your period might be on it's way such as white vaginal discharge (which is perfectly normal!), cramps in your lower stomach and back, mood swings (you might feel upset for no reason) and bloating. These are all perfectly normal and something you shouldn't be worried about. Your period will come once puberty has started, so you may notice other signs first, like developing breasts, pubic hair and pimples as well a rapid growth in your height and weight.

How often will I get my period?

Your period marks the beginning of your menstrual cycle which on average lasts around 28 to 30 days, but as none of us are the same this can range from 21 to 35 days. Your actual period (when you bleed) will last for between 3 -5 days. When your period starts it’s a good idea to make a note of the date (you can even download a smartphone app for it!) which will help you figure out your menstrual cycle and when next to expect your period. Simple!

Why haven't I got my period yet?

The start of the menstrual cycle varies from girl to girl so if you're late don’t worry! While most girls get their first period around the ages of 12 or 13, some can be as young as 9 or as old as 16 (occasionally up to 18). If you do have concerns speak to your parents who can sort a visit to the doctor to help ease your mind.

What will my period feel like?

You've probably heard a million terrible jokes about PMS. PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome), also known as PMT (Pre-Menstrual Tension), can have a real negative effect on your mood. You might get cranky and moody for no apparent reason. Don’t fret – your hormones are going a bit crazy because your period is on its way. You may also be moody because of the period pain. It’s also common to have tender breasts around the beginning of menstruation. Another common period symptom is the pain in your stomach, back or thighs that is caused by menstrual cramps (often also referred to as period pain).
All these symptoms are perfectly normal and natural. Some girls suffer more than others. If you don’t notice these symptoms then count yourself lucky! But if these symptoms are so bad that you can’t focus on anything else, make sure you get help from your doctor. There are ways to ease the pain and make yourself feel more comfortable

My period is late, what does this mean?

Around 1 in 3 girls experience an irregular period at some point – it’s actually pretty common and normally not a reason to worry! An irregular period is any type of bleeding that is unusual when compared to your normal cycle. This can include a late period, an early period or bleeding between periods. If you have just started to get your period then don’t worry if it’s a little irregular, as you get older they start to arrive like clockwork. Normally irregular periods correct themselves over time, however if you have had irregular periods for a year or more, it is best to get some advice from your doc as there could be an underlying illness causing the problem.
There are other causes of irregular periods including hormones, stress, STIs (sexually transmitted infections) and pregnancy. If you think a STI or pregnancy could be the cause of your irregular period, head to the doctor as soon as you can.

Can I still take a bath or shower during my period?

Most certainly, continuing your daily hygiene routine is important during your period to help keep you feeling fresh and comfortable. You may want to wear a tampon in the bath but it’s perfectly fine not to as most of the time you won’t leak. Having a bath actually helps with period cramps, as well as making you feel nice and relaxed!

Will I have periods my whole life?

The good news is, they don't last forever. The bad news is, they're here for a while. On average, a menstrual cycle lasts around 28 to 30 days, give or take a few days (everyone's unique!). There are two reasons that periods stop - pregnancy and menopause. During pregnancy, periods will stop until sometime after the birth of the baby. Menopause is a time in life when older women (40 to 55 years) stop having periods and can no longer become pregnant.

Is there anything I can't do when I have my period?

Of course not! Having your period shouldn't prevent you from doing anything, the more active you are actually helps in reducing period cramps! U by Kotex® offers a wide range of products to ensure however wild your plans are you're protected throughout the month! Whether it be tampons, pads or liners U By Kotex® has something for you. So period or not, you can do anything!

Will anyone notice that I am on my period?

One thing your family and friends might notice is any mood swings you get, but these are perfectly normal. Some girls worry that others might be able to 'smell' their period, while it’s true that menstrual blood does have a slight aroma it’s nothing anyone else will notice as long as you shower and change your pads regularly.  

How much blood will I lose during my period?

The amount of blood you lose during a period varies from girl to girl; your flow may start out light, then get heavier, and then get lighter. Depending on the heaviness of your flow, you’ll lose between 2 to 6 tablespoons of blood each period although for some girls it can be as much as a cup. If you are concerned about the amount you are bleeding, the best thing to do is see you doctor for a quick check up.

What happens to a girl during puberty?

Puberty is when a girls or boys body starts to change in preparation for adulthood. Puberty is different for everyone - different girls develop at different stages. There are a number of changes which will let you know that puberty has started for you, such as rapid growth in height and weight, developing breasts, pubic hair and pimples (bummer!). You can checkout a full list of the changes in our Female Puberty section.

How will puberty affect my emotions and moods?

During puberty your sexual desires start to develop, so you might notice that the crush you have on someone gets a little more intense. You may also experience mood swings- so being super happy one minute and then moments of feeling really sad for no reason. Puberty can be a pretty confusing time but it's something everyone goes through, so it's a great idea to talk with your parents or even your friends on what to expect.

How do I know when puberty has finished?

Think of puberty as a blooming flower rather than a switch. It happens in stages and can take up to the age of 20 for all changes to happen. You may develop breasts at the start of puberty but then not start your period until you are older, it's different for everyone.

What's the best way to deal with my changing body and moods?

Everyone goes through puberty, so the best place to start is to speak to your family and friends. They probably have lots of tips and advice on how to deal with the changes happening - and not to mention lots of stories about how they coped! It's important not to feel alone or embarrassed about puberty, the more you know about it the more you’ll understand your feelings. 

What does the vagina do?

The vagina is the passage that connects a girls reproductive system (uterus) to the outside of her body.  The vagina is where your monthly menstrual fluid leaves your body, as well as where a baby leaves the mothers body at the end of pregnancy. It is also where the penis enters the female body during sex and where you'd place a tampon during your period. 

What happens during your period?

Your period is one stage of your menstrual cycle which is part of the female reproductive system, ultimately it’s about having children. Although having babies is probably the last thing on your mind right now, that’s exactly what your body is preparing for! When you reach puberty your ovaries will begin to ripen eggs and release these each month which travel down to the uterus (womb). The lining of the uterus thickens so it can provide nutrients for a fertilised egg. If the egg is not fertilised (during sex), the extra lining of the uterus will break down and come out through the vagina – which is your period, ta-da! 

When do breasts start to develop?

Developing breasts is usually the first sign of puberty. For most girls this will be around the age of 10 or 11 but could be up to the age of 15. Puberty is different for each girl, so don't worry if your best friend develops breasts before you, yours will begin to develop when your body is ready. You may notice that your breasts might feel painful or tender as they start to develop which is down to the hormones released during puberty.

Should I keep a calendar?

You absolutely can! A proof way to keep track of your period is to mark it on a calendar. There are plenty of smartphone apps available which can track your period. This will help you figure out how long your menstrual cycle is, which will help you predict when your next period is due. You do have to deal with menstruation, but you don’t have to let it catch you by surprise.

Is it true you bleed during sex?

Yes some girls bleed a little the first time they have sex which is normally when the hymen (a thin membrane that covers the vagina opening) is broken. Some girls may not bleed as their hymen has already been broken; it’s quite common for the hymen to be torn before sex from physical activity such as sports or through the use of tampons