Period Talk: What everyone needs to know
Talking about periods is sometimes uncomfortable for parents and/or girls. Pediatric and adolescent gynecologist, Dr. Shanna Combs, is here to help with her Period Talk series. In this episode she explains what periods are and why we have them.
Meet the speaker
Hi, my name is Shanna Combs and I'm a pediatric and adolescent gynecologist with Cook Children's. And I'm here today to talk to you about periods, the thing that nobody ever wants to talk about. But I think it's super important that all of us do know about periods. And yes, this includes you, dads as well as brothers, uncles, whomever. It's not just the girl club topic, I think it's important that everybody understands what periods are. Periods are also sometimes called the menstrual cycle, Aunt Flow is a popular one that is used, and basically periods are part of our reproductive health. So what does that mean? What is reproductive health?
So reproductive health involves later on in life when you might want to have a baby. So young girls have that process inside their body. And as they go through puberty, and their bodies develop and mature, that process can happen. So every month what happens is we have different parts in our bodies. This is my happy uterus, which is a mock up of something that looks like this here. But this one's more fun. So we're going to talk with her.
So first off, we have our ovary. The ovary is where the eggs are made to develop later in life. As we develop and go through puberty, our eggs get matured every month. They get picked up by the what looks like an arm here called the fallopian tube. The fallopian tube then carries the egg into the uterus, where you can't see inside my happy uterus. Inside of it, the blood is built up to make a nice soft landing place. Once inside the uterus, if the egg doesn't get pregnant, then the lining of that uterus kind of sloughs off and falls out through the vagina, which is what a period is. So essentially, it's blood coming out of the body every month.
This is a process that happens about once a month, but there's variability. So every month some we say your period should be 28 days. Unfortunately, our bodies aren't computers, and sometimes there's variation. So it can be 21 days apart. 23, 32, or somewhere in the middle there. So we say about once a month. The other thing that I get asked a lot is my period doesn't start the same day of every month. I go think about it. How many days are in every month? Some are 30, some are 31, so it makes sense they're a different time every month. But you do want to track them over time to make sure that they occur every month.