Puberty in Girls: Getting Your Period. During puberty, girls begin to get their menstrual periods. Menstrual periods are when a small amount of blood and tissue leave the body through the vagina over the course of a few days. It happens about once every month, and can last between a couple of days and a week. Some girls have cramps during their periods while others don’t. Using a maxi pad, tampon or feminine hygiene cup is a common way to manage the blood that leaves the body during a period.
When a girl gets her first period it signals that her body has begun ovulating and that if she has unprotected sex, she could become pregnant. Why?! Once a month a hormone in the girl’s brain signals her ovaries to release an egg or ovum. This is called ovulation. The hormone estrogen is also released to signal the girl’s uterus to build up its lining in case the egg is fertilized by a sperm (called fertilization) during sex. If an egg is not fertilized within 12 -24 hour after ovulation, the egg dies and disintegrates. Two weeks later, when the uterus realizes there is no fertilized egg, the “extra” lining of the uterus is released or shed during a girl’s menstrual period.
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