In many cultures, a girl’s first period is seen as a right of passage. Here’s another rite of passage that’s much less talked about: irregular period timing.
When girls first start getting their period, some have regular cycles every 3 - 5 weeks starting with their very first bleed. But most girls have very irregular patterns for months, if not years. Seriously, you might get your period one week, then not again for 3 months, but then again 2 weeks later.
While this unpredictability is super annoying, it’s totally normal and often settles into a more regular pattern that is much easier to manage. However, some people do experience irregular periods for years and years; everyone's body is different and will follow a different cycle. If you have an irregular period, keep a spare pad or tampon in your purse or backpack to stay prepared in case you get your period unexpectedly.
If you settle into a regular pattern, then you need to pay attention to what is normal for you. How many days pass between the start of each period? How long do your periods usually last? And how heavy is the flow? Being able to answer each of these questions will help you be better prepared for your next period.
If you start missing periods, you need to talk to someone about the possible causes, which can include pregnancy (if you are sexually active), weight loss (the body doesn’t like to have periods when the fat content drops too low), or a whole range of other issues. But if you miss your period, don’t freak out! Just talk to someone who is knowledgeable and can help you. Same goes for if you're concerned about your cycle's irregular pattern - if it's bothering you, it doesn't hurt to consult a healthcare professional!