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Slideshow: Answers to Your Top Period Questions

What If I Skip a Period?

Relax. It's normal for your period not to be normal -- especially in the first few years after you first get it. You can skip or miss your period because of stress, exercise, and sickness. It can happen if you gain or lose a lot of weight. And of course it can happen if you're pregnant. Most women get their period every 28 to 35 days. If you get yours more often than that regularly or skip more than two in a row, see your doctor.

Do Tampons Cause Toxic Shock Syndrome?

Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) from tampons is rare. To lower your chances of getting the infection, change your tampon every four hours or so and wear a thinner tampon. If you have fever, chills, diarrhea, nausea, or a rash 2-3 days after your period starts, see your doctor.

Is My Period Too Heavy?

It's probably not as much as it seems. Most women lose about 2 tablespoons of blood each period. If you use more than 10 pads or tampons a day or are soaking through a tampon or pad every hour, talk to your doctor.

How Long Should My Period Last?

For most women, their period lasts for three to five days. If that’s not you, don’t worry. A period can last anywhere from two to seven days. If you are bleeding more than seven days in a row, talk to your doctor.

Why the Different Tampon Sizes?

Ranging from light or slender to regular, super, and super plus, different tampons can absorb different amounts. Pick based on how much you're bleeding. Don't use a heavier tampon than you need. Always change your pads and tampons every four hours or so. Use a pad at night to lessen the chance of TSS.

Can I Get Pregnant During My Period?

You can get pregnant any time, even when you are bleeding. If you don't want that to happen, talk to your parents or doctor about using some type of birth control, no matter what time of the month it is. It's also important to protect against STDs, so check with your doctor to make sure you're safe.

How Do I Get Rid of Cramps?

Try a pain reliever like Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil or Motrin (ibuprofen), or Aleve (naproxen). You can also try a heating pad on your lower back or stomach. Taking a warm bath also might help you feel better.

Why Do I Feel So Full During My Period?

When you're on your period, your body can hold in water and make you feel bloated. When you feel like your jeans are a little tight, try cutting the salt in your diet and skipping the caffeine. It can also help to stay active.

Does Using a Tampon Hurt?

Not for most women. Remember that the vagina is made to stretch (think childbirth). There should be plenty of room for a tampon to fit. If it hurts, don’t force it, especially if it is your first time using a tampon. Try using a lighter absorbency tampon.

Why Am I Craving Junk Food?

We're not sure what exactly causes cravings and other PMS symptoms, but it seems like hormones are involved. Some women really want to eat foods like ice cream, chocolate, and potato chips when it's time for their period. Craving something sweet? Eat small meals throughout the days to stay fueled instead. Want fatty, fried, or greasy foods? Eat healthier fatty foods like salmon, nuts, or avocado.

How Can I Control PMS Symptoms?

Try exercising, skipping salty foods, and cutting caffeine the week before your period. If your mood symptoms are still bad, talk to your doctor. She may suggest you take medication or supplements like vitamin E, calcium, and magnesium.

A Period Means I'm Not Pregnant, Right?

Not always. Sometimes women can still bleed early in their pregnancy. If the bleeding doesn't seem like a regular period or if you're nauseated or tired, you may want to see your doctor or take a pregnancy test.

TOC The V Scene

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on January 17, 2013

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