Getting Prepared For Your First Menstruation

Yi Ye

Why Preparing for the First Period Matters?

Menstruation, a natural physiological response that accompanies menstruators for a big chunk of their lifetime, can still be challenging for many adults to endure. The scope of this challenging experience is exacerbated for young teens facing it for the first time.  According to a 2017 survey conducted by Plan International UK, 1 in 7 teens and menstruators in the UK didn’t know what was happening when they got their first period. 1 in 4 stated that they felt unprepared for the beginning of menstruation.

In another developed nation Canada, Plan International Canada has revealed that 83 percent of young people in Canada (aged 13-21) say they have tried to hide the fact they are on their period and 50 percent have lied about it. A shocking 58 percent of young menstruators have felt ashamed or embarrassed by their period. Therefore, it is critical for anyone who will soon become a menstruator to get prepared both mentally and by taking concrete actions.

In this post, we would like to share Sofia’s story of her first-period experience, then followed by a practical guide for the preparation.

Sofia’s Story

Sofia G. is a University student studying ECEE (Early Childhood & Elementary Education) at Concordia University. As an aspiring educator, she is eager to raise awareness of the importance of being prepared when the first menstruation hits by sharing her personal experiences.

“As a teenage girl, I had always imagined getting my period at a moment when some of my close female friends and relatives were with me. However, one time when I was 12 years old, I was traveling around the country in Colombia for a dance festival with my grandpa. Suddenly, I noticed that something was off down there. So, I went to the restroom on the touring bus and checked my pants, and there was brown blood. Fortunately, I was educated about menstruation and did not think I was dying. Thus, even under the most uncomfortable situation, I was able to take care of my body’s needs and stay calm”

"Despite my grandpa’s unawareness of what was happening, I led my grandpa to a Pharmacy store without being ashamed and knew exactly what products to buy", continued Sofia. "I knew how to wear pads because I had been taught about them and understood how to place them in my underwear”, she added.

To wrap up Sofia’s story, it is not hard to see that having adequate knowledge of menstruation at one’s disposal promotes both long-term mental and physical well-being in the pre-teen years.

Ultimate Guide to Prepare the First Menstruation

  1. Knowing that in the first few years after the first menstruation comes, menstruators can experience irregular cycles. Luckily, we live in the technology era! It is highly advisable that girls record the days when their periods are present using a period-tracking app on their phones each month. Doing this can help keep you updated on menstrual health and raise awareness if visiting a doctor is necessary.
  1. Observing the physiological changes to know when to build a period care kit! Usually, young teens should pay attention to the growth of breasts, pubic hair, and widen hips. Meanwhile, they likely become more emotional than usual before the first period!
  2. Create a period care kit (pouch) to keep in a purse or bag, and it should include the following items:
  • Period care product of choice: menstrual pads, tampons, period underwear, reusable pad, menstrual cup
    • Ruth Combo Pack offers precisely that! Sustainable, disposable 93% plant-based menstrual pads. Soft, highly absorbent, and made from materials that are kind to our Earth!
  • Cleansing wipes or hand cleanser
  • Spare underwear
  • Painkillers in case of cramps

Ideally, young teens can always prepare another set specifically for the home, which includes:

  • A water bag that holds boiling water for heat treatment
  • Back wrap to reduce cramps
  • Day/night pads
  • Warm blanket and socks
  1.  A moderate amount of exercise is beneficial. For example, taking a short walk is one of the effective ways to prevent and ease cramps.
  2. Good hygiene practice during the period is essential in preventing infection! We suggest the following:
  • Wash outside the genital area at least once a day
  • Always wash hands with soap after changing your period care product.
  1. Know the symptoms and when to seek help. One of the most common menstrual symptom is cramps. It often causes pelvic, abdominal, and back pain. Watch out if the following things happen:
  • Extremely heavy periods could lead to iron-deficiency anemia
  • Prolonged bleeding (a potential indicator of hormonal imbalance)
  1. Don't feel ashamed and reach out for help and guidance when needed. After seeking help from others, you are equipped with more knowledge and even become someone of support to your peers!
AND In case you are wondering about the effects of menstrual products have on the environment, we got you. It is widely accepted that conventional period pads made from plastics can take up to hundred years (United Nations EP) to biodegrade. Another concomitant is toxic fumes and carbon dioxide generated by burning those products. Below is a list of eco-friendly alternative options:


Dear readers, we hope that you feel more reassured and educated about preparation for menstruation today. We are confident that plenty of genius tips are yet to be revealed and hidden among the crowd! Feel free to leave a comment below to share your unique period-caring tricks.