Getting your first period is something that happens to every girl. The ages vary--it could happen to girls as young as 8 or as old as 14. Girls must remember that each individual's body grows and matures at its own rate. Girls should not worry or be in a rush because their friends have gotten their period and they have not. It is important to know the signs of getting your first period and to be prepared when it does happen. Mothers need to talk to their daughters about their period and have the necessary supplies available.
What is a Period
The scientific name for your period is a menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle describes the process by which the body rids itself of unnecessary blood and tissue. The blood and tissue leaves the body because it's no longer required. A girl's initial period, called menarche, signals that she is developing into a woman and her body is getting ready to have a baby in the future. Countless names have been used for the menstrual cycle. The most frequent name is the period. The period can occasionally be called "the curse"--but it is absolutely not a curse. It is also sometimes called "that time of the month" or "my cycle is on." Teens occasionally use codes like "my friend is visiting." Most groups of friends come up with their own code name for letting each other know they have their period.
There is no definite sign you are about to get your first period. You will experience different signs and symptoms. Once puberty starts, your body will experience changes both inside and out. Puberty refers to the physical changes in a girl's body. Puberty is initiated by a chemical process that travels from the brain to the reproductive system. Puberty is a sure sign you are on your way to adulthood.
Around the age of about 10 1/2, or earlier for some girls, the breasts start developing. Typically when this starts, one or both breast will get a small tender lump under the areola. This stage is referred to as thelarche. This is the first sign of puberty beginning.
Pubic hair is the next stage in puberty. Hair typically starts growing in the pubic area, then under the arms. During the first stage of pubic hair growth, there are just a few hairs. Within six to 12 months, most of the pubic hair has grown in. In some girls, the pubic hair appears before the breasts begin to grow.
Another sure sign that your period is getting closer is a thick, white mucous discharge coming from your vagina. This normally begins about six months before your first cycle. You may also experience cramps, headaches, bloating or other symptoms.
It usually takes about two to two and one-half years for a girl's first period to start after the breasts start developing. However, these are just estimates. Do not worry if your period does not begin like clockwork. Be patient and remember it may take more or less time for you. For the first few months, your cycle may be irregular or you may go a month or two without having one. This is nothing to worry about unless you are sexually active.