Sharp abdominal pains on the first day of my period. Is that considered a normal fact of life?

Menstrual pain. Because of your age, i presume this pain is new. There is a higher chance, compare to teenagers, that the pain has a physical cause. Examination and imaging studies will help to identify the origin of your pain. In most cases, the pain can be improved.
Possibly. You need an exam and maybe an ultrasound. Could be a simple vaginal infection that is easily treated or something more significant. Often this pain responds well to birth control pills. See you gynecologist or fp.