What The Age You Got Your Period Says About You
When you were a teenager, getting your first period was everything. You were excited about the idea of becoming a woman and also completely freaked out about the idea of bleeding out of your vagina.
Now that youre a seasoned period pro, its easy to forget how much you obsessed about your cycle back then. But it turns out, all that attention was worth something, since the age when you first got your period can actually impact your future health.
First, lets back up a little: Theres a medical term for the age when you got your first periodmenarche. Girls have started getting their first period earlier than in the past, so now its considered normal for girls to get their period between 9 and 14 years old, says Maureen Whelihan, M.D., an ob/gyn at the Center for Sexual Health & Education. However, Jessica Shepherd, M.D., an assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology and director of minimally invasive gynecologic surgery at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, says doctors arent really concerned if you get your period later, unless you get to age 16 sans periodat that point, theyll want to girls to get examined just to make sure everything is working OK in there.
A higher-than-average weight can also cause girls to get their period earlier than usual, says Shepherd. We think the increase in obesity in society may be one of the reasons why girls are getting their first periods earlier, she says.
Still, super fascinating info!
Why The Age Of Your First Period Matters
When you’re filling out the loads of paperwork and meeting with the doc during an initial visit, at some point this question will come up: “How old were you when you got your first period?”
It has always struck us as an odd question, but a recent study proves it’s a crucial piece of your medical profile.
In the study, researchers found that that getting your first period at age 10 or earlier can double your asthma risk. This news — along with recent studies indicating that girls are getting their periods younger than ever — got us wondering exactly what other health risks are associated with getting your period earlier or later than the average girl.
“The reason physicians ask about the age of menarche is not because we are looking for a magic or right answer,” says Caren Craig, MD, an OB/GYN at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. “We are just trying to assess the integrity of a woman’s circuitry — brain to ovary to uterus. We are looking for red flags that could indicate difficulties in future fertility. And we are looking for any clues that could help us answer a woman’s presenting complaint.”
According to Craig, the average North American woman gets her first period between ages 10 and 15, with the average being 12. “An age we would consider abnormally young for menses would be less than age 8, and abnormally old would be older than age 16,” she says.
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.
Recommended Reading: Usaa Grace Period
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!
Pads And Panty Liners
Sanitary pads are rectangular pieces of absorbent material that you stick inside your underwear.
All pads have a sticky strip on the bottom. Thats what attaches the pad to your underwear.
Some have extra material on the sides, known as wings, that you fold over the edges of your underwear. This helps keep the pad in place.
Pads typically need to be changed every four to eight hours, but there isnt a set rule. Simply change it if the material feels sticky or wet.
They come in different sizes. Each size is made to accommodate a different level of bleeding.
Generally speaking, the smaller the pad, the less blood it can hold.
Youll probably use a more absorbent pad at the beginning of your period then switch to something lighter once the bleeding slows down.
You may also find it helpful to wear a heavier pad overnight so you dont have to worry about leakage.
Even the largest pads are still quite thin, so you shouldnt be able to see it through your clothes. If youre worried that people might be able to tell, stick to looser-fit bottoms.
Panty liners are smaller, thinner versions of a sanitary pad.
You may find it helpful to use them a couple of days before your period is supposed to start to prevent accidentally bleeding on your underwear.
You may also want to use panty liners toward the end of your period, as the bleeding may be spotty and unpredictable.
You May Like: Can You Donate Plasma On Your Period
How Do I Know If My Period Is Coming
Some people get signs that their periods are coming like bloating, pimples, sore breasts, and feeling emotional. Many people get cramps in their belly, lower back, or legs before their period. These symptoms are called PMS. Not everybody has signs that their periods are about to start. And sometimes the signs change month-to-month. As you get older, it usually gets easier to tell when your period is coming.
Many people mark the days they have their period on their calendar or on an app. Keeping track of your periods will help you know when your next period is coming. It can also tell you if your period is late or early. Its really common to have periods that dont come at the exact same time every month especially when youre a teenager.
Keeping a tampon, period underwear, or a pad in your bag can help you be prepared for your period, no matter when it shows up. If you start your period and don’t have a tampon or pad, you can ask a parent, friend, teacher, or the school nurse for a tampon or a pad. Some bathrooms also have vending machines where you can buy a tampon or pad. If youre REALLY stuck somewhere without a tampon or pad, you can fold up a bunch of toilet paper or a clean sock or washcloth and put it in your underwear to soak up the blood.
At What Age Does Menstruation Stop
Menstruation usually stops permanently when a woman reaches her early fifties. This stage of the menstruation cycle is called menopause and marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. Hormonal and physical changes that prepare your body for menopause may begin years before your experience your last period. Menstruation can also stop because of illness or as a result of surgery so consult a doctor if you do not menstruate for more than three months.
Don’t Miss: Brown Stuff Instead Of Period
African American Girls Get Earlier Periods
This is an interesting factor that hasn’t been fully explained: Race does seem to have a genuine impact on your menarche time. The difference isn’t great â in the U.S., the average age of menarche is 12.88 for white girls and 12.16 for African American girls. And statistics place the average for Hispanic girls somewhere between those two.
But why? A study in 2003 found that it didn’t have anything to do with one race weighing more than another, or differences in BMI. Socioeconomic variables don’t explain it, either. One idea, raised by a 1999 study, is that it’s about the presence of a certain protein in the body. African American girls have higher levels of IGF-1 , a protein that has a huge influence on how fast we age and mature. A bigger IGF-1 dose may just mean that one’s body grows up faster.
How Do I Deal With Pms And Cramps
PMS stands for Premenstrual Syndrome. Its when the hormones that control your menstrual cycle cause changes in your body and emotions around the time of your period.
Some of the most common PMS symptoms are:
Some people get PMS every time they have their periods. Others only get PMS every once in awhile. You may have all or just some PMS symptoms. And some people don’t get PMS at all. Learn more about PMS.
Cramps are one of the most common symptoms to have before/during your period. They can be super painful, or just a little annoying. You can calm cramps by taking pain medicine . Putting a heating pad where it hurts, taking a hot bath, exercising, or stretching your body can also help. Learn more about how to deal with cramps.
Certain types of birth control like the pill, shot, implant, and IUD can help with PMS and other period problems. If your PMS is so bad that its hard to do normal activities during your period, talk to an adult you trust or your family doctor. You can also call your local Planned Parenthood health center. You shouldnt have to suffer every month, and they can help you find the cause and get treatment.
Don’t Miss: 90 Day Probation Period Template
At What Age Does Menstruation Typically Begin
Girls start menstruating at the average age of 12. However, girls can begin menstruating as early as 8 years of age or as late as 16 years of age. Women stop menstruating at menopause, which occurs at about the age of 51. At menopause, a woman stops producing eggs . Menopause is defined as one year without periods, and after this time a woman can no longer become pregnant.
What Do I Need To Do To Prepare For My First Period
There is nothing in particular you need to do to prepare for your first period, besides having feminine hygiene products and over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or naproxen on hand. If you happen to get your period with no access to menstrual products, toilet paper will work in an emergency. If you get your first period at school, your teacher or school nurse will have a pantiliner or pad on hand.
There are a variety of menstrual products available to you:
These absorbent pads have an adhesive backing that sticks to the inside of your underwear. They are available in different lengths and absorbencies, and some have adhesive wings that wrap around the sides of your underwear. Disposable pads should be changed every 4-6 hours and are thrown out after a single use.
These are small, thin, disposable absorbent pads that can be used on their own on days of light flow. They can also be used in combination with a tampon, in case of leaks or discharge.
These are usually made of cotton, bamboo, or other natural absorbent fibres, and are often available at health food stores. They can be washed with detergent and reused. Some have velcro tabs to secure them around your underwear.
Also Check: Period Blood Stains On Sheets
What Is A Normal Perfect Healthy Period
I want to shout it from the rooftops: You can have the perfect period!
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,
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.
Also Check: Donating Blood While Menstruating
At What Age Do Most Women Reach Menopause
The medical definition of menopause is no menstrual bleeding for a year, according to Lauren Streicher, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and the medical director of the Northwestern Center for Menopause and the Northwestern Center for Sexual Medicine in Chicago.
Most women experience menopause between age 40 and 58, and the average age at menopause is 51, according to the North American Menopause Society.
Many women are surprised when they go through menopause in their forties because they think theyre too young, but its not unusual, says Dr. Streicher.