Mrs. Quinn: Why do you think you're going to die?
Colleen: I'm bleeding! I've been bleeding for two whole days!
Mrs. Quinn: Child, you're not gonna die. You're just growing up. You've become a woman.
Blood appearing on your clothing is worrying. Blood continuously appearing without any visible wound is very worrying. Wait, what's that? It's normal?
Not everyone gets The Talk in time. Menstruation is varyingly a footnote to a chapter of its own depending on the assigned gender of the child. Sometimes, because they're Raised as the Opposite Gender, they are never told about it to maintain the deception. If they're Raised by Dudes, the parent or guardian might be putting off "the talk" for his own comfort until it's too late. Otherwise, it may be that the guardian is overly neglectful or prudish about the whole business. Or it can simply mean that mom or dad or parental substitute wasn't expecting to need to give the talk that soon, and they get caught out by menarche coming at a younger age.
A somewhat tamed variant happens when the girl knows what is happening, but she's extremely surprised, extremely worried, or extremely uncomfortable by its messiness. Or the cramps might be really bad. Or the timing might be really inconvenient — she might be out of home (a school trip, an after-school activity, some out-of-town fancy occasion, a summer camp, etc.) or in bed and it's really bad when she can't ask her mom for the hygienic supplies. It might happen that her mom is away or out of the picture, and she doesn't have anyone to ask for pads or tampons. Going shopping for these at that fragile age is usually considered quite embarrassing (and even moreso if it's in the form of a Tampon Run).
Menstruation is often seen as a symbol of adulthood and for girls, it's usually part of a Coming of Age Story. And if unprepared for this very real proof of Puberty, it can signify how wrong the child's upbringing has gone. It may be related to Miss Conception if the girl is utterly clueless about its meaning.
Lots of works of fiction are strictly No Periods, Period and women menstruating will never be mentioned. Generally speaking, there are two major exceptions: Menstruation signifies a young girl's transition into womanhood (which is this trope) or missing a period and being late is used as a sign that a woman might be pregnant (see Pregnancy Scare).
Male-to-female Gender Benders are likely to experience their first period and the audience is likely to experience it with them in graphic detail.
- The first page of After School Nightmare has the intersex protagonist getting his first period. Being male-identified, he freaks out.
- Angel Tales Chu!: The second episode has Momo becoming embarrassed after getting her first period.
- Ayako: Because Ayako has been locked in a cellar since she was around 5, she has learned nothing about puberty, and so she's understandably very confused and scared when her first period starts.
- Akane gets her first period early in Bokura no Hentai. She hates it and all that it signifies.
- Darker than Black: Gemini of the Meteor has Suou transitioning into being a Contractor and womanhood. Luckily, the friendly neighborhood cross-dresser was on hand to give her the necessary supplies and painkillers. (Hei was certainly not going to be of any help, though.)
- In Inside Mari, a man finds himself in the body of a teenage girl (or so it's initially believed). When Mari's period arrives, Komori freaks out and goes into a Heroic BSoD.
- IS: Otoko demo Onna demo Nai Sei is a manga about intersex people. At least one of the characters has been shown to menstruate. She was raised as a boy, secretly identified as a girl, and only got her period as a late teenager. This caused her confusion that led her to come out as a girl.
- In A Lazy Guy Woke Up As A Girl One Day, an extra chapter features Yasuda, the eponymous guy-turned-girl, going through a period one day. The cramps are so painful that Yasuda briefly wants to go back to being a guy, something he'd dismissed as too much trouble earlier. He handles it a lot better after some medicine.
- A chapter of Little Miss P has an eleven-year-old girl getting her first period—unfortunately while sitting on a couch.
- In one episode of the shoujo anime Mizuiro Jidai, the main girl Yuko gets her first period. She is very fearful and embarrassed for most of the episode. She even faints in gym class.
- Naisho no Tsubomi: Neat the end of the first OVA, Tsubomi gets her first period while her mother is in the hospital, and rushes to her in a panic.
- Played for Drama in Paranoia Agent: When cartoonist Tsukiko Sagi was a young girl, she was walking her puppy one day when she suddenly doubled over in pain due to cramps from her first period. Unfortunately, this caused her to let go of her puppy Maromi's leash, and he wandered into the street and was run over by a car. Even worse, this incident caused Sagi's already fragile mind to break even further, and her inability to accept her role in Maromi's death results in the creation of her popular cartoon character Maromi, and main antagonist Lil' Slugger.
- Shion no Ou: Shion suffers from hemophobia (fear of blood) due to her parents' murder. When she wakes up in episode 3 with bloody sheets from her first period, the shock and trauma put her in the hospital for several days.
- A flashback in To Strip the Flesh reveals that Chiaki got his first period when he was out playing with Takatou at the arcade. This is a bad enough scenario for anyone's first period, but as a young trans boy in the closet it's a deeply upsetting experience for Chiaki, who actually ends up vomiting from stress.
- The one-shot Yuri Genre manga Trans Star is about a girl whose male crush transformed into a girl. Said crush decides to fully live as a girl (while still reciprocating her admirer's feelings), and after seemingly getting the hang of things, the ending shot has her freaking out about getting her first period.
- Wandering Son:
- Takatsuki is quite stunned when they get their first period, but it's more because of gender dysphoria than anything.
- Chapter 30 shows a panicky Maho waking up in the night with bloody pajamas and sheets from her first period.
- In the French comic Atalante, a young Atalante doesn't understand why she's bleeding despite not having been wounded. The old hunter she's living with recognizes the symptoms and quickly passes her off to a witch in the forest, as he wants as little to do with Women's Mysteries as possible.
- Gender Queer: A Memoir: Maia is quite dismayed after getting eir first period, at first trying to cover it up until e tells eir mom. It's also a continuing source of gender dysphoria for em.
- In Runaways, Molly Hayes wants to talk to the other girls about times when she's bleeding from - but then gets cut off because they don't want to talk to her. Later she tries to talk to her parents but they don't want to discuss it either. Subverted as it turns out though that she's talking about having nosebleeds when her Super-Strength power manifests itself.
- In Runaways (Rainbow Rowell), Abigail is so mortally afraid of getting her period that she magically halted her aging at 13 - way back in the 1960s. In the present, she tries to get Molly to follow her example, claiming that no one will like her anymore once she starts menstruating.
- In Shade, the Changing Man, Shade's consciousness leaps into the body of a recently murdered woman. Unfortunately, he's unable to alter her body to resemble his old one until he solves her murder and puts her soul at rest. This leads to various comical scenes with Shade experiencing the Male Gaze, his first period and sex as a woman.
- Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed: Diana is from a land of immortal women who do not age and is the only Amazon to have a menstrual cycle. Her moon-bleeds are thus cause for concern, considered a fascinating medical phenomenon and make her very uncomfortable as there is really very little information on them, and what information they do have pertains to mortal women. This is part of what gets her called a changeling, in a non-malicious way that nonetheless makes her feel an outcast.
- In the Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney fanfic "Daddy's Little Girl", Trucy gets her first period and sends her adoptive father Phoenix into a panic.
- In Dating is a Form of Mutually Assured Destruction, Ladybug and Chat Noir face an akuma which forces them into a Gender Bender. Adrien doesn't quite get at the period proper, but needs plenty of help and advice with the cramps by the time the akuma is defeated.
- In the Steven Universe fanfic "Echoes" (a story where the Gems also get periods), Connie attains her menarche.
"It was so scary." Connie said suddenly. "I thought I was going to die..."
Garnet let out a snort of laughter. "So did Ruby when she first started!"
- In the WarioWare fanfic "Even Witches Get It", Ashley gets her first period. Even though her mother is never around, Ashley at the very least has Mona (and Red) to ease her distress.
- Natsume panics in A Few Needed Adjustments when she wakes up with bloody bedsheets. She puts her period panic aside after realizing she's changed into a fox-looking form overnight.
- In the Harry Potter fanfiction Hermione Gets Her Period, Hermione gets her first period and doesn't realize it's normal.
- In Chapter 7 of The Loud House fanfic Linka and her Brothers, titled "Linka's Lady Problem", Linka gets her first period and becomes rather moody while also being in pain — not helping that she lives with ten brothers.
- In Chapter 11 of Lost Together, Ranko outright screams in horror when she goes to the bathroom and finds blood on her legs, wondering if she's sick. Lotion reassures her that it's only her body being ready for motherhood, mentally pitying the amnesiac girl for having forgotten what periods are — however, the situation is a smidge more complicated, since Ranko is under a sexshifting curse and would have been given the "talk" for boys, even if she could remember.
- In the Star Wars fic The Love of an Uncle and Niece, Jaina Solo gets her first one during class at the Jedi academy. She panics and is afraid to move, but Luke feels her fear in the Force and is able to find her. The trouble is, Leia and Mara aren’t around, so he has to figure out how to explain it to her.
- A variation occurs in Ma Fille; Katrina is only freaked out by her first period because she wasn't expecting it, and the real stressor is her not wanting to tell her single father about it.
- Master and Student: Gender-swapped Mob gets her first period in a public bathroom in Chapter 11.
Female Mob: It's not fair! I didn't ask for this! I never wanted this! Why did this have to happen to me? If I were a boy then I wouldn't have to worry about this or-or-or-or anything!
- The The Loud House fanfic Period Pains involves an 11-year-old Lori getting her first period while she's at school, causing discord among her class until her school day is ended early for her to be taken to a doctor's appointment.
- In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, there is a sidestory centered on Iris. She tells Ash and Misty about the first time she had a period and how her adoptive Pokemon family freaked out about it, and she's very much relieved to know it's something all human women go through.
- In Relic Of The Future, when Emerald first wakes up to bloody sheets, she calmly tells Jaune she's dying. Jaune spends several minutes freaking out before realizing what's really going on.
- Restraint: A flashback shows Azula getting her first period at twelve. Because her mother left years ago, no one told her about it and she thought she was dying.
- In Returning Echoes; after Edward gets gender bent, she has to deal with everything that comes with it, including menstruation and mood swings.
- Rites of Passage is a one-shot Jem fic about how the first three Misfits reacted to their first periods. Stormer and Roxy didn't even know what periods were at the time. Pizzazz is upset because she doesn't have any pads and her distant father doesn't care about her period, leaving her to be supported by a maid instead. Stormer's mother died so her slightly older brother (who has no clue about menstruation himself) has to deal with it. Roxy ran away from home and lives at a shelter, where a nun helps her when she gets her first period. Roxy in particular thought she was dying because bleeding from there was never a good sign in the past.
- In the Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon doujin Strawberry Moon Pie, Chespin is quite embarrassed and frightened when she gets her first period. Fortunately, school nurse Audino and Nuzleaf are there to provide help and comfort for her.
- In Summer Camp Wawanakwa, Noah (a trans boy) gets his first period in chapter 7, which Chris is completely unprepared for. This is what leads to Alejandro and Sierra getting hired in the next chapter.
- In Variation Modification, Karkat (a trans guy) gets his first period in Chapter 14, and is flat-out horrified.
- In the Voltron: Legendary Defender fic Thicker than Blood, Pidge ends up getting her first period. While she's more annoyed and embarrassed about it than anything, Allura and Coran (as well as a naive Keith) think she's been injured and start panicking. Ultimately, Lance and Hunk (who are well used to this sort of situation) spirit her away to get cleaned and leave poor Shiro to explain things to the others.
- In With Pearl and Ruby Glowing, Cleo Telerín, an eight-year-old undergoing early puberty, gets her period and thinks she's dying. When she tells the kids' babysitter Dream Wizard what happened, Dream Wizard explains it to her.
- Turning Red: When Mei wakes up to find that she's turned into a giant red panda, her parents hear her freaking out from inside the bathroom, and not aware of what's actually happening, her mother Ming thinks she might have started her first period.
Ming: What's going on, honey? Are you sick? Is it a fever? Stomachache? Chills? Constipation?
Ming: Wait. Is it... that? Did... the... did the red peony bloom?
Mei: No! (beat) Maybe...?
- Catherine Called Birdy (2022): Birdy gets her period and instantly assumes she's dying. As she's a medieval noblewoman there's extra weight as her parents can now begin shopping her around to potential husbands, so she tries to hide it for as long as possible.
- Parodied in Movie 43 where one skit has two middle school boys and their young girl-friend panicking over her first period. It reaches the point where one of them called 911 about it.
- In My Girl, Vada apparently has never heard of menstruation. She visits the bathroom, then calls for her father in a panic. Her father is not available, so she tells the only other adult present that she is hemorrhaging. Fortunately for Vada, the adult present is a very kind and understanding woman who sympathetically calms her and explains the matter. The woman in question ends the movie as Vada's new stepmother. Apparently, Vada's widower father was either too squeamish to have that talk with his daughter, did not think it was necessary yet, or lacked certain info himself.
- Sam: When Sam experiences his first period after undergoing his Gender Bender, he assumes that he is haemorrhaging. It is up to his best friend Doc, who is a gynaecologist, to explain what is happening.
- In The Discoverers, a major factor in the second act is that Zoe gets her first period during the family's Lewis and Clark reenactment trip. Since nobody in the group has any tampons or money, she almost shoplifts some; some kids catch her and threaten to tell, so she cons them out of money and buys them.
- In Cuties, Amy doesn't know what to do when she has her first period in front of her parents.
- In Bloody Reunion, The incident where Jung-wo was humiliated for supposedly soiling herself in class was actually her first period starting (if the Unreliable Narrator is to be believed).
- The Fallout: Played for Drama. Early in the film, Vada's middle-schooler sister Amelia texts her in a panic because she got her first period. In order to handle it, Vada goes to the bathroom — and she's there when the school shooting begins. Amelia thinks Vada is angry at her for most of the film because Vada blames her for making her leave the classroom, putting her in more danger than if she'd stayed put. Vada has to clarify that it's not the case.
- The Sex Trip: Eddie goes into the bathroom to get undressed when he's about to have sex with Steve. Immediately, he screams, and Steve runs in to see Eddie covered in blood, with bloody handprints on the glass and on his face, claiming that he's dying. They go to the hospital, and the next scene features them both laughing about being so clueless.
- The Afterward: Olsa gets hers after training in combat and thinks she was injured. She doesn't realize what her bleeding and cramps are actually caused by. Being sixteen, she's late for menarche, which is a result of suffering malnutrition from living on the street. Prior to being told about it she didn't even know what menstruation was due to her lack of education. She also hadn't developed breasts yet from her being malnourished too.
- Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.: After Gretchen has her first period, she tells her friends (who've yet to get theirs) that it's nothing to worry about. Nancy, though, is jealous as she thought she would be the first and shortly thereafter she claims to have gotten hers, only to panic the day it happens for real.
- Beautiful Music for Ugly Children: Gabe got his first period while bowling when he was thirteen. Being trans, he was much more upset by it than most kids, so much so that he considered committing suicide by jumping off an overpass. Paige talked him out of it and said she'd help him with his gender, but neither mentioned it again until Gabe formally came out to her five years later.
- The Bluest Eye: Pecola gets her first period and thinks something is wrong. The blood begins to spill down Pecola's legs when she's outside with Claudia and Frieda, Claudia's older sister. Pecola and Claudia are scared, but Frieda knows that Pecola is getting her first period. Frieda tries to attach a pad to Pecola's dress. Rosemary, spying from the bushes, yells to Mrs. MacTeer that the girls are doing something perverted. Mrs. MacTeer sees Pecola's bloody legs and takes her inside to clean her up.
- Carrie has one of the most infamous examples of this trope. The titular character is humiliated when her first period begins in the gym showers during her senior year of high school. She initially thinks that she is bleeding to death, and instead of helping her, her classmates start taunting her and pelting her with tampons while chanting, "Plug it up! Plug it up!" (in the 2013 film, Chris Hargensen, the ringleader, twists the knife in the wound by filming Carrie with her phone and posting it on YouTube) She causes a lightbulb to explode, signaling the growth of her telekinetic powers. Her mother is a religious fanatic with a pathological fear of sex and sexuality, such that Carrie wasn't informed about menstruation at all, much less that it's a natural process that every girl and woman goes through.
- Inverted when Carrie's gym coach remembers her own first period: she was eleven years old, knew exactly what was going on, and was excited to tell her mother about it, although in the 2002 TV adaptation, she mentioned that she was mortified at having her first period when she was 10, as she wore white pants during that time.
- A Dog's Purpose. Bailey is reincarnated into a female dog named Ellie. Having always been male before, and having always been neutered as a puppy, she has no clue what her heat is. She just thinks it's a gross, uncomfortable scent. Ellie never does learn what heat is because she's spayed afterwards.
- The Dream Makers Magic: Kellen's mother insists that she is a boy, refusing to dress her in skirts and only talking to her about things boys are interested in. Therefore, Kellen thinks she has a disease when her period starts. Fortunately, a friend's mother is there to help her.
- Edgedancer: In this novel of The Stormlight Archive series, the 13-year-old Blithe Spirit orphan Lift has her first period. Although she doesn't know precisely what's going on, she's fairly optimistic that it's natural; however, she'd made a deal with a powerful Spirit so that she would never have to change, so the period makes her worried that her boon wasn't working properly.
- In Fear of Flying, adult Isadora recounts the story of getting her first period at thirteen on a trans-Atlantic naval voyage with her family: going with her older sister to buy pads; hiding it from their younger sisters; unsure how often to change her pad, she changed it twelve times in one day, flushed them all, and stopped up the toilet in their cabin, and got yelled at by the steward who had to unclog it.
- Just as Long as We're Together: Steph gets her first period at a school dance and can't get a pad from the bathroom vending machine because she doesn't have any money with her. She tries putting paper towels in her underwear instead, but that turns out to be uncomfortable, so she tells her female teacher what's going on and the teacher gets her a pad from the machine.
- Nobodys Prize: In this re-imagining of Helen of Sparta’s adolescence, the 14-year old princess stows away on the Argo disguised as a boy, but when her cycle starts for the first time everything is exposed (well, not quite everything; she changes tactics and claims to be the famed huntress Atlanta, who in some versions of the original myth actually was a member of the Argo’s crew).
- Polgara the Sorceress: Polgara and Beldaran freak when they find bloodstains on their bedding. But their mother died when they were born, and that's not really something you can discuss with your uncle. Poledra isn't really dead, and explains matters to them. Why she didn't plan ahead isn't answered, but she might not have thought about it — wolves don't menstruate.
- The Red Tent: During the Time Skip, Dinah's cousin Tabea got her first period, but rather than it being celebrated or her even being told what was happening to her (as it would be in Dinah's immediate family), Tabea was simply shut into a dark hut, not allowed to leave until she stopped bleeding, and told she was "impure". (She does, however, get to wear a belt or apron that marks her as an adult woman instead of a little girl.) When Rebekah finds out about this, she is enraged, and sends Tabea away, along with her aunt, never to be seen again. Dinah is upset that this happened to her Only Friend, but Leah defends Rebekah, saying that it was Necessarily Evil to protect their customs.
- Shivas Fire: When Parvati moves to the gurukulam (a school that trains children to become the servants of the gods through the art of dance), she is only 11 years old, and hasn't had "the talk". When she experiences her first period, she initially thinks that she's dying.
- A Song of Ice and Fire: Sansa Stark freaks out when she sees her bedsheets stained with blood and attempts to burn them to hide it. But in her case it's that she knows exactly what it means: she's old enough to be forced to marry Joffrey.
- Sweet Valley Twins: A slight case when a secondary character gets hers. Her panic is not from being ignorant, but from being completely unprepared as she wasn't expecting it (she's only in sixth grade and while it's not impossible for a girl to start at this age, it's slightly younger than normal)
- The Thorn Birds: Thanks to her mother never bothering to explain anything to her, poor Meggie Cleary spends the first few months of her period thinking that she's dying of a tumor.
- Tornado Brain: Thirteen-year-old Frankie realizes she's gotten hers when she notices she's left a red stain on a motorcycle at the arcade. Dismayed, she hides in the bathroom and texts Tess, who's already had hers, to bring a sweatshirt she can wrap around her waist while she goes home.
- Tortall Universe:
- In Song of the Lioness, Alanna (disguised as a boy so she can train for the knighthood) panics when her first period starts since she was never told about it. She has to out herself to her friend George because she thinks something horrible is happening and his mother Eleni is a healer.
- In contrast, Keladry in Protector of the Small is very displeased to find that what she thought was a Potty Failure was in fact her first period—but she only needs to stare at her bloody hose for a few moments before realizing this was one of the things her mother told her about (unlike Alanna, who had a deceased mother and a painfully neglectful father, Kel has Good Parents). She's upset about it only because it's going to make training harder and because she turns out to be someone who gets weepy at that time of month.
- In We Were The Mulvaneys, after Marianne has lost her virginity to rape on prom night, she uses the toilet and finds she has started her period, and flashes back to the summer of her thirteenth birthday, when she had her first period. Her well-meaning mother was unable to assuage her terror at this new, intimate, humiliating experience, and her reaction to being raped mirrors the way she deals with menstruation - she can't imagine being open about what's going on with her, as some other girls are when they menstruate, so she does not communicate, tries not to think about it, and endures without assistance, reasoning that if she has endured thus far she can keep doing so indefinitely.
- Whateley Universe: Happens a few times, with Male to Female Gender Benders. Usually, it's a big reminder that yes, they are a woman now:
- Tennyo: She panics, but gets over it quickly.
- Miyet: She was a macho bully until her transformation, and seemed to have been unaware of what a menstrual period was when it happened.
- Bladedancer, in her origin story, Destiny's Wave, had the help of a talking sword that was once a female human. The story says:
The first time her period hit she had freaked out. Thankfully the sword talked her through things. The sword had not known what the tampon was though.
- 7th Heaven:
- The first episode of the series starts off with Lucy as a 12-year-old who gets her period for the first time. Since to Lucy getting her period was A Very Big Deal because she is "becoming a woman", she talked about it with the rest of the family.
- Years later, youngest daughter Ruthie got an episode dedicated to her getting their first period. While Lucy was happy when she had her first period, Ruthie was embarrassed because of her family's overenthusiastic reaction to it.
- In Anne with an E, Anne panics really badly, and thinks that she is dying. She hadn't learned anything about periods, and is horrified to find out that they happen every month.
- Babylon 5: At the start of season 2, Delenn, ambassador for the Minbari race, emerges from a chrysalis as a Half-Human Hybrid. In "Soul Mates", she consults Commander Ivanova for advice adjusting to her new human features, and mentions she's been having strange cramps.
- A minor version occurs in The Baby-Sitters Club (2020), when Kristy gets her first period at her mother's wedding. She knows what's happening but is understandably flustered by the timing and is also worried about ruining the very expensive dress her stepfather bought for her (especially because she'd had a major fight with her mother over the cost of the dress earlier that day). Fortunately, her friends are there to help her, with Mary Anne giving her a pad and explaining to her how to use it.
- Better Things: Duke, after running into her grandma's car while skateboarding, worries that she's been injured as she gets her period until Frankie realizes what's going on and gets her a tampon.
- In the first episode of Blossom, Blossom starts menstruating. She knows about it and what it means, but her panic comes in when she has to go to the store and buy feminine hygiene products. At first, she's not sure what to get - so she ends up putting everything in her cart. Then she sees that the person at the cash register is a cute boy from school. She feels so embarrassed about buying all that stuff from him, that she doesn't get any of it.
- The Cosby Show: Rudy knows what her period is, but thanks to the plethora of urban legends that have been passed around, thinks that she needs to eat beets to prevent anemia and can't go swimming in the ocean because she'll attract sharks.
- Dead of Summer: Drew had this, since as a trans boy, getting his first period was not a happy experience, especially since this led to his mom telling him that he's "now a woman".
- Degrassi: The Next Generation: While sitting outside with Manny, Emma realizes she got her first period, which soaks through her white skirt. Manny gets Emma to the washroom and brings her a pair of baggy gym shorts that she wears to class. J.T. makes comments about it and Emma's classmates begin to laugh until Emma bluntly tells them that she got her first period which shuts them up.
- In the Doom Patrol (2019) episode "Dad Patrol", Dorothy gets her first period while out shopping with her father, and flees to the nearest bathroom in panic. Thankfully, the shopkeeper comes and finds her and explains that this is actually normal. She also sets Dorothy up with some clean clothes. In this case, Dorothy's panic is more justified than usual, because her menstruation allows the Candlemaker to breach reality and cause havoc.
- In Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, 13-year-old Colleen gets her first period shortly after her mother dies and she gets adopted by Dr. Mike. She's shown to be uneasy for days and refuses to have a swim with her brothers, even though she loves swimming in the river. Turns out she got her period and never received the talk, even though her mother was a midwife and her adoptive mother is a medical doctor. Mrs. Quinn (her adoptive grandma) finds her crying, comforts her and talks with her.
Mrs. Quinn: What's the matter, dear?
Colleen: I'm going to die!
Mrs. Quinn: Why do you think you're going to die?
Colleen: I'm bleeding! I've been bleeding for two whole days!
Mrs. Quinn: Child, you're not gonna die. You're just growing up. You've become a woman.
- ER: Rachel Greene starts her period while at Thanksgiving dinner with her grandfather and her father's girlfriend Elizabeth. Elizabeth sends her grandfather to the store to get pads and he ends up buying every kind available because he has no idea what the "right" kind is.
- Everwood: Delia Brown gets her first period like a champ. She has it tough because her mom died and she lives with her dad and her older brother. She's not feeling too well but insists she wants to play ice-hockey (she's a major tomboy and her teammates depend on her). She's embarrassed when her father tells her coach about it and he repeats that out loud in front of all the boys who laugh at her. Also, she's thrown off balance a bit when she goes shopping for pads with her dad — brand Always doesn't sound good, but Andy assures her it usually lasts from 3 to 7 days. Her cramps are pretty bad, too, because when Andy suggests she takes pain killers, she asks if she can have ten.
- In the premiere of Everything's Gonna Be Okay, Genevieve gets her first period. This in itself is merely an embarrassment for her, but it creates problems for her at school, because she has been lying for the past two years about getting her periods, and her sister Matilda unwittingly exposes the fact that she lied to her friends.
- Game of Thrones: As in the books, Sansa is horrified when she wakes up to find the blood from her first period on her bedsheets. She notes that her mother had warned her in advance about what would happen and her panic is because this means she can now bear Joffrey's children (with all that that implies).
- House: Implied in episode "Act Your Age". When the medical team is searching for the right diagnosis on a 6-year-old girl, find a bloodied piece of clothing hidden in her room. At first, they consider it coming from physical or sexual abuse at the hands of her relatives, but doctors find the blood to be menstrual. The girl has apparently already hit puberty due to abnormally high hormone levels, the source of which is later found in the episode. The family has no mother, so she couldn't have easily consulted someone about what's happening to her body.
- Lalola is an Argentinian comedic soap about a Handsome Lech transformed into a beautiful woman by a magical curse. An entire episode is built around the main character Lola's first period and the epic disaster it turns out to be, even if the chaos is played largely for comedy. To begin with it hits Lola at the worst possible time when she is on an already extremely awkward 'date' with Facundo, she is wearing a white dress and has to abandon the restaurant without a word. In the pharmacy (after getting advice from Grace on the phone) Lola is too self-aware and humiliated to buy tampons and tries to hint to the chemist behind the desk what she wants. The chemist looks at the late twenty something/early thirtysomething woman in front of her, asks if it is Lola's first time and at Lola's vigorous nodding produces... a pregnancy test. Things don't go any better when she eventually gets tampons and towels and tries them on in their bathroom with Grace advising behind a door.
- Mad Men, episode "Commissions and Fees": Sally is having a date with Glenn in a museum in New York when she's staying at Don and Megan's (her divorced father and his young wife). She suddenly feels ill and uncomfortable and excuses herself. She discovers she's had her first period. Megan comes home and finds Glen's gym bag but no Sally. It turns out Sally took a taxi and went back to the Francis's residence, her permanent home. She runs into the bathroom, tells her mom Betty that she got her period and didn't know what to do, that she just wanted to come home. Betty tells her that they'll take care of it and Sally hugs her. Betty is usually not a very good or caring mom, but in this episode, she's nothing but sweet and supportive.
- Played for laughs in The Middle: During a camping trip with her family, Sue discovers she's having her first period, but her period blood has attracted the attention of a bear nearby.
- Modern Family: Lily (who's only 12) is having her first period and barricades herself in the bathroom, Cam and Mitchell, given that they're absolutely clueless about menstruation, they ask for help from the entire family.
- On Orange Is the New Black, Pennsatucky recalls when she got her first period at age 10 and thought she was dying. Her mother hadn't told her anything, because she didn't think a girl that young could start menstruating. After getting over the initial shock, she tells young Pennsatucky that she isn't dying, that this is completely normal... and also that now men and boys are going to start looking at her differently, and might rape her...and that's normal, too.
- Paper Girls (2022): Erin gets her first period in episode 4, but though she's clearly surprised, she doesn't begin to actually panic until the next episode. First she's dismayed by the vague instructions and warnings on a box of tampons, then is further confused by the others misbeliefs about them. The poor girl gets so rattled she stops thinking rationally and tries to "quit".
KJ: I don't think you can quit your period.
- The Queen's Gambit: Beth gets her first period during an important chess tournament, and doesn't realize why she's feeling so nauseous until she runs to the bathroom and finds blood running down her leg. Annette, a girl Beth previously defeated in the tournament, finds her and is very sympathetic, offering her a pad, but she's too embarrassed to admit she doesn't know how to use it, so she layers her underwear with toilet paper until she gets home, at which point her adoptive mother teaches her what to do.
- Ready or Not (1993): Busy gets her first period during band practice at school and anxiously runs out of the classroom. When Amanda learns about it, she screams in excitement over the phone and is a bit jealous that Busy has “reached womanhood” first. She helps Busy with pads and tampons despite not having begun menstruation herself because she's learned everything there is to know about periods.
- Roseanne: Darlene gets her first menstruation. She's upset and finally blurts it out when Roseanne and Dan won't stop nagging her about what's wrong. It turns out her distress is because she thinks that this now means she has to give up all her tomboyish pursuits, but Roseanne assures her otherwise.
- SchittsCreek: In "Ronnie's Party," David is looking after his boss's stepdaughter at the motel when she gets her first period while sitting on David's Egyptian cotton sheets. He gives her some of Alexis's feminine hygiene products.
- Superstore: Amy's daughter Emma gets her first period while Jonah is watching her in "Shoplifter". He's more or less just a stranger to her: a guy her mom works with. She's fairly embarrassed she has to ask for hygienic supplies.
- Taken: In "Charlie and Lisa", the 13-year-old Lisa Clarke has her first period on February 13, 1986. Considering the aliens' interest in her, it does not go unnoticed. In the absence of her mother Carol, she calls her new friend Nina Toth and asks her to buy sanitary pads for her. After Nina leaves, Lisa walks her dog Watson around her trailer park and sees an image of the carny that frightened Jesse as a child. He says, "Lisa, today you are a woman." She is then abducted by the aliens for the first time.
- In Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, the prequel TV series to the film, a young girl is taking part in camp activities when she suddenly has a horrified expression. She runs to the bathroom and a camp advisor chases after her. The advisor takes a friendly approach outside the toilet stall, as she suspects what has happened. The door opens, revealing it's Abby, played by (the adult counterpart) actress Marisa Ryan. It is metaphorical for her transformation into womanhood, and relates to the running joke of parodying Dawson Casting.
- Without a Trace: In one episode, the team is tracking a young girl who's being exploited by her pedophilic uncle. They talk to a shopkeeper who sold the pair some clothes, who describes how she found the girl sobbing in the dressing room after getting her first period. The girl said she knew what it was and begged the shopkeeper not to tell her uncle, but the shopkeeper still did, assuming it was better for the girl to get his support. In this case, her panic is less about the period itself and more about what a pedophile is going to do to his victim once she's no longer a child.
- Wonder Showzen has an animated skit where a young girl gets her period in bed and thinks that she's dying, until Aunt Flo (that is, a physical manifestation of her period) arrives and teaches her what she's going through.
- In Workin' Moms, Alice has her period while Kate is there. Terrified and confused, Alice locks herself in the bathroom. Kate consults her about the realities of being a woman and offers her support.
- A story in the manhwa My Body Is So Strange has a girl thinking that she's going to die upon seeing blood on her panties, leading her to being comforted by the Period Angel.
- Girl's Flu stars a father trying to deal with his daughter's first period while his wife is on a business trip overseas.
- In I Was a Teenage Exocolonist, the protagonist gets their first period when they're 13 if the player selects the corresponding puberty option for them. They can discreetly ask their mom for help, and she assures them that it's alright because it's just a sign that they're growing up, and the narration states that they can get hormone blockers if it's bothering them too much.
- Moon's Blood is a horror platforming game that stars a young girl trying to find her parents after she wakes up in the middle of the night to find out that she's having her first period.
- A Summer's End — Hong Kong, 1986: At one point Sam remembers her experience with her first period at 12 years old, in which trying to tell her older brother only results in him tell her to talk to her dad, who in turn tells her to go to the drug store. When she asks the man at the counter for "a medicine for bleeding," he misunderstands and tells her to go to the hospital, which understandably left the young Sam in a panic. At one point she was convinced she was going to die, but luckily she explains what's happening to a nurse at the hospital, who laughs and gives her a sanitary pad.
- Camp Camp: In "Nikki's Last Day on Earth", Nikki believes that's she's dying due to drinking one of Neil's experimental formulas. We later find out that she was having her first period, and after Gwen explains it to her, she becomes excited at the idea of bleeding for days on end and never dying.
- The appropriately titled Period Drama has young girl Georgiana in the Victorian Era finding blood in her bed and fearing she's about to die, imagining the outcome in a plethora of references to Gothic Horror. Her mom comes in and assures her otherwise, but unwittingly instills a new fear in Georgiana trying to tell her about pregnancy.
- Khaos Komix: Tom, a transgender boy, gets quite distressed when his first period starts, more because of the dysphoria than the period itself.
- Misfile: Ash, originally a boy, winds up horrified when Emily points out that the current symptoms he is experiencing are occurring after a certain amount of time Ash has been a girl. From then on, Ash will occasionally bring up the subject when he is feeling particularly irate.
- Hannelore Ellicot-Chatham of Questionable Content spent most of her life living with crippling OCD and anxiety issues. When one of her friends asks her what her first period was like, she responds, "We don't talk about that day."
- In this Toon Hole comic, a young girl is confused about her bleeding "down there", so she asks her dad about it. Not knowing how to handle the subject, the dad tells her to Google it.
- "No Nuts November", by The Transformistress, has a closeted transgender woman decide to "cheat" at a month-long sexual abstinence challenge by using magic to physically become a woman, with the questionable logic of "You can't nut if you don't HAVE nuts!" Near the end of the month, she experiences her first period, screaming and swearing about the pain and blood. When it's over, she decides to apologize to every woman she's ever known, in disbelief that they go though this monthly. Despite this, she ultimately decides to remain a woman in the end.
- A flashback in an episode of American Dad! shows Hayley getting her first period. She reacts with an Unstoppable Rage.
"What do you MEAN 'every month'!?"
- Menstruation gets a passing reference in As Told by Ginger (the series instead focuses on the A-Cup Angst portion of puberty) when the girls watch a Sex Ed video. They're not pleased by the thought of it.
- Ask Lara has an episode called "Oh No! It’s Here!" that deals with the main character having her first period. Lara is not as flustered about having her period as she is about that it had to happen on the day of an important exam. Lara has two best friends: Akira, who already started her period and offers her advice about it, and Monica, who is anxious to get hers and even says she feels envious when Lara tells her about the physical discomforts caused by it. Meanwhile, her two male friends, Tony and Gabriel, are worried that after getting her period, she will stop hanging out with them to only focus on older boys, but at the end that does not happen.
- Baymax!: In Episode 3, the plot centers around Baymax aiding a middle school girl through advice and fetching her supplies as she gets her first period. Baymax himself acknowledges that it can be an uncomfortable subject to discuss, but adds that it is nothing to be ashamed of as it is just simple AFAB biology, as a trans man also recommends the pads he uses for Baymax to buy for Sofia.
- Big Mouth: Jessi gets her first period on a school field trip while wearing white shorts. She has a minor breakdown while hiding in a public washroom and gets a no-nonsense lecture about the travails of womanhood from the Statue of Liberty, but eventually rallies.
- Sharon starts menstruating in Braceface in the middle of her first date, which greatly embarrasses her; her boyfriend mistakes the cramps for appendicitis and calls an ambulance and she passes out from the sight of the blood.
- The Ghost and Molly McGee: Season 2's "A Period Piece" focuses on Libby going through the trials of getting her first period. Surprisingly, Andrea (who had had her first period three months ago) is quite supportive, even presenting Libby with a spare pair of pajamas. The main conflict of the episode features Molly feeling left out and struggling to be as mature as her friends.
- The King of the Hill episode "Aisle 8A": Connie has her first period while her parents are away on business and she's left in Hank's care. Connie doesn't panic; she's just embarrassed and has to write down the news because she can't bring herself to say it out loud. It's the adults who freak out — first Hank, then Connie's parents when he tells them. It gets worse for Hank when he has to sacrifice his dignity as a man and go down the women's health products aisle to get Connie her tampons. It gets so bad that he later calls the police to bring Peggy to the house when Connie asks how to put her tampon on.
- Little Demon: Chrissy suffers her first period while being threatened by bullies, which triggers the emergence of her satanic powers. When Satan claims that he found her when she drew first blood, she thinks it was when her period came, only for him to clarify that it was because she killed the bullies right after.
- Mocked in South Park: There's an intestinal ailment going around that makes you bleed out of your ass. But the boys don't know about it and think that when Cartman (and later Kenny) are bleeding that means that they have their periods. It doesn't help that an adult they ask about it says that when it happens you bleed - "you know, down there." Kenny ends up dead from Toxic Shock Syndrome, having shoved a tampon up his ass.
- Vicar Chad Varah founded the Samaritans (the world's first crisis hotline telephone support to those contemplating suicide) because the first funeral of his career was for a 14-year-old girl who took her life after she had menstruated, fearing she got a venereal disease and having no one to talk to.
- A variation came up in the hearings against gymnastics coach Maggie Haney (best known as the former coach of US Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez). Among other instances of emotional abuse, Haney had told her gymnasts that getting their periods meant they were fat, so when one girl got her first period during a training session, she panicked for fear of Haney's reaction if she found out.
- Professional wrestler A.J. Lee said that when she had her first period at 13, the panic came more from her mother, who made her drop her pants and submit to an inspection to make sure her hymen was still intact, thinking the blood was from AJ losing her virginity.