Periods And Additional Needs
Periods can be especially challenging for young people with additional needs and their parents. If your child has moderate to severe intellectual disability, they might not understand why theyre experiencing changes to their body and mood.
Your child still needs to know about periods and the menstrual cycle at a level they can understand. Your GP, or other health professionals involved in your childs care, can recommend resources you can use with your child, like books and visual aids. You could also speak to your childs school about support.
Can I Get Pregnant
The short answer? Yes. Pregnancy is possible anytime semen comes into contact with the vagina.
Although the onset of menstruation is widely regarded as the start of your reproductive years, its possible to become pregnant before youve had a period.
It all comes down to your hormones. In some cases, your body may begin to release ovulation-causing hormones long before it triggers the start of menstruation.
Talk to a trusted adult or reach out to your healthcare provider if:
- You havent started your period by age 15.
- Youve had your period for about two years and it isnt regular.
- You experience bleeding between your periods.
- You experience severe pain that prevents you from completing daily activities.
- Your bleeding is so heavy that you have to change your pad or tampon every one to two hours.
- Your periods last longer than seven days.
If you call to make an appointment, tell the person whos scheduling it that youre having problems with your period.
They may ask you to write down details about:
- when your most recent period started
- when your most recent period ended
- when you first noticed your irregular bleeding or other symptoms
Should I Watch For Any Problems
Most girls don’t have any problems with their periods. But call your doctor if you:
- are 15 and haven’t started your period
- have had your period for more than 2 years and it still doesn’t come regularly
- have bleeding between periods
- have severe cramps that don’t get better with ibuprofen or naproxen
- have very heavy bleeding
- have periods that last more than about a week
- have severe PMS that gets in the way of your everyday activities
Read Also: How Do I Tell My Mom I Got My Period
How Long Will Each Period Last
Your body may take time to get into a regular pattern every month. During your first few periods, you may get only a little blood, for 1 or 2 days only.
As a general rule, women have a period every 28 days, but it differs from person to person. Youll usually bleed for between 3 and 7 days every month, but again, everyone is different.
Some women have longer or shorter cycles. You might have a period every 21 days or every 35 days. Both are normal as is anything within this range.
As the months pass, youll come to know your body and what a normal period is for you. Youll start to learn what to expect in terms of:
- when you get your periods
- how long they last
What To Do When It Starts
When a period begins, try to find a way to absorb the blood. A female can do this by asking a friend or family member for a pad or tampon.
If it is not possible to use a pad or tampon, try to wrap something absorbent, such as toilet paper or a clean washcloth, around the crotch area of some underwear. This can absorb the blood and prevent leaks.
It can be helpful to prepare a period kit before the first period arrives. This can help with feeling ready. This period kit could consist of:
- an extra pair of underwear
- a variety of tampons and pads, so a female can choose what works best for them
- unscented baby wipes to clean any leakages
Most periods last for
The following sections will look at some absorption methods in more detail.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Dried Period Blood Out Of Sheets
When Should Early Puberty For Girls Be Cause For Concern
Parents sometimes worry their young daughters may be starting their periods or developing breasts too early. Womens health expert Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones reminds us what puberty is and when it normally occurs for young girls. She also talks about when parents should consult a pediatrician if they’re concerned, what conditions or activities are commonly associated with early puberty, and what parents can do for their daughters to make sure they stay healthy during puberty.
Well, puberty is when the sleeping gonads, ovaries, and testicles of boys and girls wake up to begin the coordinated development of sexual tissues. In girls, it begins with breast development called thelarche, followed closely by pubic hair called pubarche. And about two years after the beginning of breast development in the normal pubertal process, the first menstrual period starts, menarche. This waking up of the sleeping gonads is preceded by a year or two by the maturing of the adrenal glands called adrenarche. All of our lovely developing arches, I’m waiting for an arche to name the start of the development of the mature brain.
But, you know, 13, 12 is not such a big deal, but to think of it a different way, the percent of US girls who’ve had their first period by age 10 was zero for girls born in the ’20s and is 2% to 3% for girls born in 1980.
Can Stress Cause Periods To Start Earlier
Chronic stress may also be linked to kick-starting puberty early. Chronic stress is perceived by the brain as a low-grade threat, which triggers the brain to start reproduction.
So, youre saying my older sibling needs to stop stressing me out or else Ill start my period sooner?
Not exactly. Chronic stress isnt the same kind of stress thats related to homework or friends . While these things could play a part, chronic stress is when you feel pressured and overwhelmed for a long time. Something like your parents going through a divorce might be a trigger for chronic stress. If youre going through something difficult or experienced something traumatic, harmful or abusive, always speak with someone you trust like a parent, teacher, or counsellor. You never have to suffer alone, no matter what youre going throughchronic stress or not.
Hey parents/guardians! Make sure you always have an open line of communication with your children. If you think something might be wrong, ask! Create a safe space where your child feels comfortable voicing their concerns and feeling heard.
Don’t Miss: Can You Have Regular Periods And Not Ovulate
My Period Just Started What Should I Do
If youve started your period and dont have something to use for the blood, try not to worry. You can fashion a temporary pad out of toilet paper to hold things over until youre able to get a proper pad or tampon.
If youre at school, you may consider asking your teacher or nurse for a pad or tampon. Theyve been asked before trust us.
Your first period may only last a couple of days. Your first period . .
It may take a couple of months for your period to settle into a regular schedule and consistency.
Once it does, your period may last anywhere from two to seven days each month.
Although a persons first few periods are often light bringing a few spots of red-brown blood throughout the week you may have a heavier flow.
Your monthly period will follow a more consistent pattern once your hormones stabilize.
Heavier bleeding isnt necessarily cause for concern. But if you feel like youre losing too much blood, tell your guardian or talk to the school nurse.
You should also tell a trusted adult if you:
Why Have My Periods Not Started Yet
Your periods will start when your body is ready. This is usually between age 10 and 16, or 2 years after your first signs of puberty.
Possible reasons for delayed periods include being underweight, doing lots of exercise , stress and a hormone imbalance.
See a GP if your periods have not started by age 16 . Your GP may suggest a blood test to check your hormone levels.
You may be referred to a specialist to find out what’s causing your delayed periods and discuss any treatments that might help.
You May Like: Do You Start Birth Control On Your Period
Pube Party Period Party
The arrival of your breasts, pubic hair, and first period can feel empowering, intimidating, scary, exciting, or all of these things at the same time. Cultures throughout history have marked the arrival of a first period with a celebration or ceremony. If you or someone close to you is excited about beginning to menstruate, why not find the time to celebrate?
This could mean getting together with family members to mark the occasion and share stories, gathering with friends to buy or make menstrual products, or writing a journal entry or letter to yourself. Talking to a trusted person about how it feels and what to expect can also be helpful.
Some people may feel disconnected from their body, or may not know what a menstrual cycle is until starting to menstruate themselves. Getting your period for the first time can be stressful or scary. In these times it can be helpful to find a trusted, supportive person to talk toâsomeone who understands and can offer some help.
The American Congress of Ob/Gyns recommends that anyone who begins to see signs of puberty before turning nine or who hasnât experienced any signs after reaching 15 should have a check-up with an OB/GYN.
*Article originally published on February 17th 2017
What Should I Do If My Child Is Experiencing Unusual Bleeding
If your child does need additional care due to abnormal periods, the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital has resources that can help. We have providers who specialize in pediatric gynecologic care, to help adolescents feel comfortable and safe in their changing bodies, as well as a clinic that specializes in treating blood disorders in young adults. The Heavy Menstrual Bleeding Clinic is a multi-disciplinary clinic where patients can see a pediatric gynecologist and a pediatric hematologist at the same convenient appointment.
Menorrhagia is the clinical term for heavy periods. Very heavy periods can sometimes be a symptom of an inherited bleeding disorder, such as von Willebrand disease. Very heavy periods also can also contribute to anemia and other health issues. Our providers deliver specialized care to determine if there are underlying causes of a very heavy period and work with families to determine what treatment options will work best for them.
Also Check: Signs Of Daughter’s First Period Coming
The Age Of First Menstruation Has Fallen Considerably Over The Last Two Centuries
In the last two centuries, the average age at first period has been falling continuously in France. In 1750 it is estimated to have been close to 16 by 1850 it was down to 15, and by 1950 it had fallen to 13. In 1994, it stood at 12.6 years of age. Young girls are reaching puberty at younger ages than before in all wealthy countries. Improved diet is one of the causes to which the trend is attributed.
When Do Most Girls Get Their Period
Most girls get their first period when they’re around 12. But getting it any time between age 10 and 15 is OK. Every girl’s body has its own schedule.
There isn’t one right age for a girl to get her period. But there are some clues that it will start soon:
- Most of the time, a girl gets her period about 2 years after her breasts start to develop.
- Another sign is vaginal discharge fluid that a girl might see or feel on her underwear. This discharge usually begins about 6 months to a year before a girl gets her first period.
Recommended Reading: How To Find Out When Your Last Period Was
Is Pregnancy Possible
It is generally safe to assume that most females who get periods can get pregnant.
The first period usually means that ovulation has occurred. Ovulation means that pregnancy is possible. However, both periods and ovulation can be irregular during the first few years after the first period, making it difficult to predict fertility.
What Will It Be Like
Every females period is different. Periods can vary in duration, frequency, and heaviness. Some females have very light periods, while others have heavy periods.
For some, the first period is light, with a small amount of blood. It may begin gradually, starting with some spotting or brown discharge before becoming red.
For others, periods begin suddenly, with bright red blood appearing straight away. In either case, this is normal. Period blood can range in color from brown to dark red. Some people may also pass small blood clots.
Having a period can feel similar to having vaginal discharge, but some females do not feel much at all.
Also Check: What Happens When Your On Your Period
The Early Middle Ages
Average Age: 14
There’s not a ton of historical records about the age of first menstruation before the Middle Ages. In his book, Women’s Bodies, Edward Shorter estimates that most ancient Roman women got their periods between the ages of 13 or 14.
Similarly, historians believe that girls in the Middle Age got their first periods around the same age, according to “The Age of Menarche in Medieval Europe,” published in the September 1973 issue of Human Biology. Records from the era report girls getting their period at ages as young as 12 and as old as 15, but the article’s writers quote research suggesting that 14 remained the average age of first menstruation until the Renaissance.
First Menstruation: Average Age And Physical Signs
When will girls get their first period? The ages vary, but there are two signs of puberty that generally precede first menstruation.
Physical Signs That Precede First Menstruation
While girls vary in the ages that they are when they start their periods and when the other signs of puberty occur, the order is fairly consistent. The two things that are most closely tied to the age when a girl starts her periods, that she can readily assess herself are: first real bra and armpit hair. A “real” bra means one with a cup size attached to it, as opposed to small, medium, large distinctions. Armpit hair is self-explanatory. Any amount will do. At this point, a girl will probably start her periods within 3-6 months, if she hasn’t already.
It also occurs right after the growth spurt of adolescence. So, if a girl grew, grew, grew, last year and has slowed down then periods are right around the corner.
Average Ages And Average Time Between Stages
Take this as the starting point or adolescence. Here is the sequence and time frame of events for an average girl. The girl will also begin her growth spurt about this time. She will notice pubic hair about 6 months later. About 6 months after that she will be in her peak growth spurt, growing faster that she ever has. She will probably get her first training bra at this time. About a year after all this , she will get a real bra and armpit hair. First period will come about 4 months before or after these events.
You May Like: Foods To Avoid During Period Cramps
How Does Ovulation Relate To Periods
Ovulation is the release of an egg from the ovaries. The same hormones that cause the uterus lining to build up also cause an egg to leave one of the ovaries. The egg travels through a thin tube called a fallopian tube to the uterus.
If the egg is fertilized by a sperm cell, it attaches to the wall of the uterus, where over time it develops into a baby. If the egg is not fertilized, the uterus lining breaks down and bleeds, causing a period.
What If I Bleed Through My Clothes Are They Ruined
Not necessarily! Before we get into the nitty-gritty, know that leaks happen to everyone.
When you first start your period, youre learning about how much you bleed, how much your menstrual product can hold, and when your flow is heaviest.
If you can, keep a couple of stain wipes in your bag. They can help get the worst of the stain out and hold things over until youre able to clean the fabric properly.
You can also tie a jacket or sweatshirt around your waist to help cover the stain until youre able to change.
When you get home, try this method to get blood stains off:
Read Also: Taking Birth Control To Skip Period