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This resource for individuals with autism explains the process of menstruation and its symptoms, as well as how to manage having your period.
Menstruation is normal vaginal bleeding that occurs as part of a monthly cycle. This happens for any person with a uterus.
It is the time of the month when a person sheds the lining of their uterus and it exits through the vagina.
Every month, your body prepares for pregnancy. Ovaries release an egg which thickens the uterine lining. If the egg is not fertilized by sperm, the egg is then reabsorbed into your body and the shedding or bleeding occurs. This is also commonly referred to as your period or your “time of the month.”
Periods typically begin between the ages of 8 and 17. An average menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, but each person’s cycle length may vary.
These symptoms vary for each person and may be experienced before and during your menstrual/bleeding days.
Pre-menstrual days: the few days that occur before your period begins. You may experience symptoms such as:
There are many other symptoms and they often last around 3 days
Menstrual days: these are the days when blood and tissue discharge from the vagina which usually lasts 2 to 7 days. You may continue to experience many symptoms similar to the pre-menstrual ones.
Neutral days: days when hormones are calmer, and one is typically not experiencing menstruation symptoms.
Ovulation days: in an average 28-day menstrual cycle, ovulation usually occurs about 14 days before the start of your next menstrual period.
It’s important to keep track of your period so you know what is typical for your menstrual cycle. This information is helpful to your doctor/healthcare provider since having an irregular period or severe bleeding period can be a sign of a problem. Tracking your period can also help you predict when you will ovulate which is when you are more likely to become pregnant. Keeping a record can be useful when planning special events or vacations.
People often use a variety of products based on what works best for them. Try different items to see what you prefer. Carry a small menstruation/period kit with you. Reminder to dispose of soiled disposable products in the trash can.
Remember that there is no “normal,” but here are some ideas of what to expect:
**If you have an excessive amount of pain, have extreme (irregular or excessive) changes in your flow, and/or have had unprotected vaginal intercourse/sex and missed a period, consult with your doctor. **
This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.