A very, very good question and one that is not easily answered as there are many variations in the whole process of menstruation and ‘what’s normal’ depends alot upon the individual.
Girls will start to menstruate somewhere between the ages of 10 and 17 years. That is normal. It doesn’t matter at which scale of the spectrum you are at … it is still pretty much normal.
The amount of time that you will bleed for each month will vary too, from person to person and from time to time for the same person. Some girls will bleed for just a few days, some will bleed for 6 or 7 days, some will bleed heavily, some will bleed clots (firmer bits of jelly like blood).
Generally, your period will start off quite heavy (it’s all relative so it will be more heavy for you… whatever amount that corresponds to,) and then after a day or 2, it will lighten up and then perhaps just be in dribs and drabs towards the end. Bleeding for substantially longer 5 – 7 days is not normal, see your doctor or gynocologist.
A girls menstrual cycle varies in duration, the whole cycle is from day 1 of bleeding, through to Ovualtion (about 14 days later) back to day 1 of bleeding again.
The most usual is a cycle of 28 – 31 days, however some women have regular cycle that are anything from 21 to 36 days long… this can be normal too.
It is important to remember that when you first start to bleed your cycle may be quite irregular, because after all it is a new system happening in your body and it can take time to all start happening on cue. Eventually it will all settle down.
Personally, I would think that being positive about it, and taking the time to look at and get to know the moon and it’s phases would certainly help to regulate your periods that much quicker.
Taking the pill just to regulate your periods isn’t a good idea because you are not allowing a new and natural system in your body to establish itself, and you don’t know what effect this will have on your body, emotions and fertility later on down the track.
The Contraceptive Pill messes with your natural hormonal system in a very, very major way. Consider taking it using great caution and care, your body is too precious to screw with.
It can be a hassle to be caught by surprise at inconvenient moments, the embarrassment and shame that we can feel about our blood is wrong and a left over from old times. It is nothing to be ashamed of, and it’s taking the world a while to catch up to this new concept. Being aware of how you feel and how your body is will help you to know when you are going to bleed.
All girls start to experience a confusion of emotions when their hormones kick in at puberty. Hormones and emotions are very connected which is why it is important to maintain good nutrition so as to avoid great hormonal imbalances, and greater mood swings.
When this is starting to happen to you after having been a relatively happy and easy going person, this may be quite confusing. Don’t worry IT IS NORMAL.
Learning how to take care of yourself is the answer… rest more, eat well, exercise moderately, keep a journal and take some quiet time so that you can hear what your emotions are trying to tell you. (please refer to moon moods for a more spiritual description of what menstruation can offer). All these measures can take some discipline, and are the first steps to becoming a responsible adult.
Getting physically ill, cramping etc can be normal for some people but DOES NOT HAVE TO BE. If you are taking care of yourself and resting adequately, plus having a positive attitude to the role of menstruation in your life, you do not have to get sick. Sometimes people choose (subconsciously) to manifest physial illness in order to get the rest and relaxation that they need at this time. This is more a symptom of a culture that does not value menstruation than anything else.
Breasts growing, growing pubic hair and underarm hair, getting fleshy hips is all normal, and may occur before, during or after the onset of menstruation. All these occurances are pretty much due to your individual genetic make up and can’t be hurried or avoided. Our modern diets high in hormones also plays a factor today which is why many girls are getting their periods earlier and earlier.
It is very important to eat as well as you can, which can be pretty challenging and boring in this fast food world. Include as many unprocessed foods as you can – fruits, vegetables, grains and remember protein too. Meat is an important source of Iron (menstruating women lose iron every month) so unless you are a vegetarian (and eating the correct balance of grains and proteins) add meat to your diet.