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    All About Menstruation

    How Long Does a Period Last? continued...

    It is possible to skip a month, especially if you have been ill or under stress. (Tell your health care provider at once, however, if you miss a period and are having sexual intercourse. Even if you are using effective birth control, pregnancy is a possibility!) But skipping for more than one month once your periods have become regular is another reason for a doctor visit.

    When your period becomes regular, mark the date on your calendar for several months ahead. This will remind you to have tampons or pads on hand and help prevent accidents.

    What Is Ovulation?

    Ovulation is the release of a mature egg from a woman's ovary. It usually happens around mid cycle (about 14 days from the start of your last period).

    Some might feel abdominal discomfort at the time of ovulation, but it’s usually very brief. This discomfort, medically called by its German name mittelschmerz (pain in the middle), can usually be relieved by the same medication used for cramps.

    What About PMS?

    Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, happens to many teens right before their periods start. With PMS, you might feel:

    • Mild breast tenderness
    • Fluid retention
    • Anxiety
    • Dietary cravings
    • Irritability
    • Difficulty sleeping or excessive sleeping

    When menstruation begins, PMS symptoms decrease.

    Some young women find that they cry easily and are more emotional during this time. Understanding the feelings that come with PMS may help you cope with the emotions. If your symptoms are serious and interfere with your life, discuss them with your health care practitioner.

    Should I Use Tampons or Pads?

    Teens can use tampons, pads, or both during their period. Tampons are worn inside the vagina and come in a variety of sizes (small to large) with different absorbencies (light to super heavy). It’s important to change a tampon at least every four to 8 hours to avoid leakage and serious bacterial infections. According to the company Tampax, you can wear a tampon overnight, but insert a new one before bed and change it first thing in the morning.

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