Getting Your Period at School
When will you get your period? That’s a big question for girls who are waiting for their very first periods. It’s also on the minds of girls who have just started getting periods because — especially for younger girls — periods don’t always come exactly on time from month to month.
No one wants to get a surprise in the girls’ bathroom at school. Uh-oh. Your period is here — what do you do?
How to Prepare
You can prevent some of this worry by being prepared and having your supplies with you. That means keeping sanitary pads in your purse, backpack, or locker. Pads, also called sanitary napkins, are made of absorbent material and they stick to your underwear. The pad will catch blood that comes out and keep your clothes from getting stained.
Older girls who’ve been getting their periods for a while might use tampons. Tampons are absorbent plugs that are inserted into the vagina. These can be more convenient if a girl is playing sports or going swimming.
If you haven’t had your period yet, talk to someone who can help you get your supplies together. This might be your mom, an older female relative, or whomever you feel comfortable with. Make it clear that you want to be ready for the big day, whenever it arrives.
You also might talk to your doctor when you go for a checkup. Just by examining you — and seeing how much you’ve developed so far — your doctor might be able to tell you, roughly, how soon to expect your first period. It could be arriving in the next 6 months, or it could be a year or more away.
Sometimes girls aren’t prepared for their periods. (Don’t feel bad if this is you because it happens to grown women, too!) So what do you do? You’re at school and there it is. Your period has arrived and you don’t have your stuff. If it’s your first period, you may be really excited and also a little worried. If it’s not your first period, you might just be worried. What are you supposed to do?
Ask to visit the nurse. If your school doesn’t have a nurse, ask to see the school counselor. Or maybe you have a teacher you really like who you can ask for help. You’ll need some supplies. The school nurse or counselor should be able to help. You might feel a little shy about asking, but just say, “I started my period today and I don’t have my supplies.” If you don’t want to talk to a male teacher or counselor, you can just say, “It’s a girl thing.” He’ll get the message and find you a woman who can help.
Even if you get the help you need from school staff, you also might call one of your parents. If it’s your first period, you probably will want to tell your mom or dad what happened and how you’re feeling.
One girl emailed us because she didn’t want other girls to worry about getting their periods at school. When this happened to her, she went to her school’s medical office, told them she needed a change of clothes, and they called her mother. Simple as that.
“It really isn’t that bad or scary,” she said.
What if Your Clothes Are Stained?
It’s unlikely that your first period will be very heavy, so you’ll probably figure out that it’s happened before your clothes are stained. But if your clothes do get stained on your first period, or a later one, you’ll definitely want to visit the nurse or counselor. You don’t want to be worried all day long that someone will see the stain, so you need some fresh clothes. Maybe you have sweatpants in your locker for gym class.
If you don’t have any spare clothes, you’ll need to see someone on the school staff so you can call a parent, who can bring you some clothes or pick you up and take you home. What if you return to class with different pants on and someone asks about it? You don’t have to say what really happened. That would be embarrassing. Instead, you can just say something like, “I spilled something on my pants so I changed.”
Do you feel less worried now about getting your period at school? We hope so!
Although it’s not very convenient to get your period at school, remember that there are people you can turn to for help. You’ll get in the habit of being prepared. And before you know it, getting your period — wherever you are — will be no big deal.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: June 2014