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Open the Lines of Communication
Instead of having a formal menstruation “talk” with your daughter, try opening up the dialogue and, openly and honestly, asking your daughter about her questions.
Here are some suggestions for answering your daughter’s questions about menstruation:
The more information that you share with your daughter about periods and PMS symptoms, the more comfortable and prepared she will feel as her body grows and changes.
What Will It Look Like
If a period is made of bloody fluid, you would expect it to look like blood, right? Well, sometimes period flow can look thinner or thicker than ânormalâ blood. First periods sometimes show up as a thick dark âsmearâ in your underwear. Dark? Yep, the color can definitely be different than you expect, ranging from deep red, to maroon, brown or even black. That happens because blood changes color over time. Sometimes your period blood has been waiting in your uterus or vagina for a while before it comes out, so it isnât the color of âfreshâ blood like youâd see if you cut your skin . The color doesnât mean anything about your health, so just know that if you see brown stuff in your underwear , itâs probably your period.
Your First Period Guide: Age Symptoms Duration & More
If youâre looking to learn more about when to expect a first period or how to manage it, congratulations on being prepared! Knowing what to expect when getting your period and having accurate information can really increase confidence and decrease worries as puberty progresses and first periods arrive! So whether youâre preparing for your first period or youâve already started and just want to learn more about it, weâve got you covered.
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Whats The Menstrual Cycle
Your menstrual cycle helps your body prepare for pregnancy every month. It also makes you have a period if youre not pregnant. Your menstrual cycle and period are controlled by hormones like estrogen and progesterone. Heres how it all goes down:
You have 2 ovaries, and each one holds a bunch of eggs. The eggs are super tiny too small to see with the naked eye.
During your menstrual cycle, hormones make the eggs in your ovaries mature when an egg is mature, that means its ready to be fertilized by a sperm cell. These hormones also make the lining of your uterus thick and spongy. So if your egg does get fertilized, it has a nice cushy place to land and start a pregnancy. This lining is made of tissue and blood, like almost everything else inside our bodies. It has lots of nutrients to help a pregnancy grow.
About halfway through your menstrual cycle, your hormones tell one of your ovaries to release a mature egg this is called ovulation. Most people dont feel it when they ovulate, but some ovulation symptoms are bloating, spotting, or a little pain in your lower belly that you may only feel on one side.
Once the egg leaves your ovary, it travels through one of your fallopian tubes toward your uterus.
If pregnancy doesnt happen, your body doesnt need the thick lining in your uterus. Your lining breaks down, and the blood, nutrients, and tissue flow out of your body through your vagina. Voilà, its your period!
How To Help Your Child Through A First Period
Many parents feel uncomfortable talking with their child about puberty and their first period. Parents might have grown up feeling ashamed by periods and might not want to embarrass their child by having that conversation now.
However, a first period is part of overall health and development, and having an honest conversation about it is an important way to help your child as they grow up.
Some tips to help your child through a first period include:
- answering any questions your child has about periods honestly and directly
- using times like when you are buying menstrual products, discussing family pregnancies, or other natural moments to start the conversation with your child
- asking your child what questions they have about getting periods
- asking your child if they have any questions about menstrual products or thoughts about what type theyd like to use
- explaining some of the pros and cons of types of menstrual products
- emphasizing that periods are typical and natural
- using clear, concrete words for body parts and body functions
It can help to have the conversation slowly over the course of several years rather than all at once. For instance, you can first mention that some people bleed every month to prepare for pregnancy during a conversation about where babies come from when your child is very young. Over the next several years you can answer additional questions and provide more information.
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What Dad Needs To Know About His Daughter’s First Period
A dad and his daughter have a special bond: In their personal fairy tale, she is the princess, and he is the hero. And, as the daughter grows up, she experiences all the joys and struggles that come with getting older. Puberty comes before you know it, and that means the daughters first period, or menarche, is just around the corner.
When your daughter is close to having her first period, dad can continue to be the hero and help his little girl through what can be a difficult time. Russell Horton, DO, who specializes in pediatrics, and Adrienne Burke Miller, CNM, MSN, explain the basics to help dads understand their daughters first period.
Girls Get Real About Getting Their First Period
“I wasn’t about to cancel on my crush, so I wadded up toilet paper around my undies like a pad, tied my flannel around my waist, and went to the basketball game.”
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1. “I was in eighth grade and we all had to present these projects to the class. When I got up and presented to the class, the class looked at me weird. I didn’t think any of it, until I saw my teacher bring her hand to her mouth from shock. I then felt something wet behind me and automatically thought, Did I wet myself? But no, it was my period. My teacher told me to go to the bathroom and as I left the room, I kept hearing the boys say,’That’s disgusting’. My face turned so red but I didn’t want to cry in front of everyone. My teacher then brought me extra school pants and asked if I was okay, and I obviously said no and asked to go home. It was pretty embarrassing, but thankfully no one at school ever brought it up again.” Daniela, 18
7. “I was 13. I was at school and had no idea what was happening at first, but then I knew. I hid it from my mom for days because I was embarrassed. I ended up using pads because I was too afraid to put a tampon in.” Maddie, 19
Hannah Orenstein is the assistant features editor at Seventeen.com. Follow her on
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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
Signs Your Period Is About To Start
Physical changes that show you are entering puberty usually occur prior to beginning your period:
- Breast growth and tenderness
- Hair in the pubic area between the legs, as well as in the armpits
- Lower abdominal cramping, bloating or general discomfort
- White vaginal discharge
Certain experiences, like breast tenderness or cramping, may also appear again each month right before or during the week of your period.
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What Causes Menstruation
Menstruation is a result of puberty. This is when your body becomes capable of reproduction.
When your menstrual cycle begins, your estrogen levels increase. That causes the lining of your uterus to thicken.
The uterine lining thickens so it can support a fertilized egg and develop into a pregnancy.
If there isnt a fertilized egg, your body will break the lining down and push it out of your uterus. This results in bleeding your menstrual period.
It doesnt matter if youve had a period for years or youre waiting for your first one periods can be difficult to navigate.
This article will go over everything you need to know, from how to find the right menstrual products and dealing with cramps to saving stained clothes.
Most people start their periods between the ages of 12 and 13. Your first period . .acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Your-First-Period-Especially-for-Teens However, its normal to start your period a little earlier or later, too.
As a general rule of thumb, menstruation will start about two years after your breasts begin to develop.
Some people start their periods without any warning. Others may experience premenstrual syndrome in the days leading up to their period.
Symptoms of PMS include:
What A Monthly Cycle Is
You may have heard some women talking about their monthly cycle. This cycle begins on the first day of one period and ends on the first day of the next period. While women’s periods do tend to come about once per month, there is a wide range in the length of the menstrual cycle from woman to woman.
Some women’s periods come as often as every 21 days, some as far apart as every 35 days. The most common range is 25-30 days. Some women have regular cycles and their periods start exactly the same number of days apart each time. For other women, the length of their cycle varies from month to month.
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When To Go To The Doctor
Some Medical Terms
A girl’s first menstruation is called menarche. This is pronounced MEN-arc or MEN-arc-y. When a girl passes certain milestones in her development, but does not start having periods, this is called Primary Amenorrhea. This is pronounced A-men-or-rea or Ah-men-or-rea. The word primary is the part that means the girl has never had a period. The amenorrhea part means lack of periods . This is to distinguish it from Secondary Amenorrhea, which is when a woman has had periods and then stops.
The Standards For Going To The Doctor
These standards were developed long ago. Meanwhile the average age of puberty and menarche has dropped. So, Estronaut’s opinion is that checking with a doctor a year or so earlier is not a bad idea. Also, girls of African descent mature sooner than Europeans, by about a year. So, these girls should substract another year.
On age alone: Age 15 1/2 to 16 1/2 for whites, age 14 1/2 to 15 1/2 for blacks.
If no breast or hair development: Age 13 to 14 for whites, age 12 to 13 for blacks.
If there is breast development or hair two years after either of these started.
What Are The Signs My First Period Is Coming Soon
The best way to predict your first period is to notice the changes happening to your body during puberty. The body changes that predict your first period most accurately are your breasts, pubic hair, and height. Most periods start 1Â½ to 3 years after breasts first start growing, when the pubic hair has filled in, and about 6 months after your fastest growth in height. Obviously, that doesnât tell you the day, the week, or even the month it will start, so you will just have to accept that your first period will be a bit of a surprise. Thatâs why itâs so helpful to be prepared â just in case!
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Before The First Period
Dr. Horton said there are a few things dads should know before the inevitable first period starts, which typically happens around 12 and 13 years of age. However, genetics, body type, ethnicity and other factors cause the actual time for the menarche to vary from girl to girl.
When it comes to figuring out if your daughter is close to having her first period, Dr. Horton said to know the telltale signs. One major sign you may notice is your daughter beginning to develop breasts.
Typically, the first period is about 2 years after breast buds start to form, Dr. Horton said.
It is important to talk with your daughter before her first period starts to help her understand what to expect, according to Burke Miller. She also believes having several smaller talks, rather than just one big talk, is a better way to go. She advises keeping any conversations about puberty open and honest. You want to make the topic feel less like it is taboo.
Parents should also consider making a first period kit for their daughter to carry with herespecially at school. Use a small, zippered pouch and put a few teen-sized pads and a change of underwear in it in case her period starts when she is at school.
How Many Pads Is Normal For A Period Per Day
How many pads should you use in a day? Good question.However, there isnt a single right answer because there are a few factors to consider that might change how many youd need. A very rough estimate would be four or five pads, assuming that youre getting at least the recommended 7 hours of sleep at night.
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How Will I Know When My Periods Are Going To Start
Signs that your period is on its way are if you’ve grown underarm and pubic hair. Typically, you’ll start your periods about 2 years after your breasts start growing and about a year after getting a white vaginal discharge. The average girl will get her first period around 12 years old, but it varies from person to person.
Avoid Focusing On Any Negative Symptoms They May Not Even Have
“Don’t jump in there with a laundry list of things that some people find uncomfortable,” Dr. Natterson says. “On the other hand, cramps, bloating, breast tenderness, and mood swings are real.”
Your best bet is to just address these issues as they come up. If your child has just gotten their period and is suffering from a stomachache, ask, “Are you feeling queasy?’ You might be having cramps. Is this how it feels?” According to Dr. Natterson, “Address it in context, put names to symptoms, and offer the tools to deal with them.”
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