Your daughter is in high school or younger, but you suspect she may have hit puberty and is about to have her first period. How do you know this is what she’s experiencing?
Acquainting yourself with the signs of this new development gives you the opportunity to help your teenager confide in you even while dealing with this barrage of hormonal chaos.
It is a critical time for you to capitalize on the moment and become attuned with your daughter’s growing independence and avoid being relegated to someone she isn’t comfortable sharing her experiences with as she matures into adulthood.
When do girls get their periods?
The timeline varies from child to child, and on average, the first period is between 10 and15 years of age. Sometimes a girl’s body begins puberty as early as 8 years of age.
How long after your daughter develops breast buds does her period start?
The development of breast buds generally heralds the process of puberty at around 9 to 10 years of age and soon afterward, breasts begin to enlarge. Breast enlargement is categorized into 5 stages. The 1st 2 stages occur at around 9-10 years of age, followed by gradual progression, reaching the 5th stage by the late teenage years.
You should consider buying your daughter bras without underwire. Underwire bras can put pressure on the tissue beneath, restricting the flow of lymphatic fluid that works with our immune system to help eliminate toxins. Invest in high support sports bras for vigorous physical activities. Some girls prefer padded bras as they are conscious either about the nipples being seen or their breast size.
Other signs your daughter is about to start her period
- Sexual hair growing in the pubic region and armpits. Girls often worry about this new change and want to rid themselves of it out of fear of being ridiculed. While you may have different cultural opinions about hair removal, you may educate your daughter that having body hair is not a “health” risk.
- Head hair may momentarily fall on account of stress and excesses of testosterone. For the most part, this should resolve on its own. Therefore you must allay your daughter’s anxiety rather than blame her for the hair loss. You must always offer positive body messages, and even if your nurture your own worries regarding her height, build, hair fall, facial hair, or body hair, don’t shame or express anything that can fill her with self-doubt. She is already navigating unchartered seas of hormonal surges, and the last thing you want to do is draw unnecessary attention to create self-doubt.
- Sexual feelings begin to arise. Sexual urges, feelings of attraction towards the opposite sex, and recognition of herself as a sexual being generally occur during adolescence. Teenage woes can be a lonesome, loathsome journey. She is already under tremendous pressure in terms of body image, fitting in, new feelings of attraction towards other children, diet, culture, and bullying. If your daughter isn’t supported or doesn’t believe she can express herself without judgment, she withdraws.
- About 2 years after these changes appear, menstruation begins. Menstruation is usually preceded by mucous discharge from the vagina. Girls generally reach their adolescent growth spurt before this. However, medicine isn’t mathematical, so each girl varies in terms of development. There is also an influence of race, social class, family size, birth order, environment, and diet. If she doesn’t develop breasts or sexual hair or get her first period by 16 years of age, it’s a cause for concern, and she needs medical evaluation.
First period symptoms
Symptoms of a first period may vary from one girl to another, so don’t panic if your daughter’s cycles aren’t like that of your friend’s daughter. They may include:
- slight discomfort in the lower abdomen,
- pain during the cycle,
- bleeding which is either bright red, dark red, or brownish in color,
- spotting, scanty, or heavy bleeding,
- feeling weak, lethargic, or dizzy
- feeling thirsty,
- mood swings,
- acne breakouts,
- craving sweets or comfort food,
- a tendency to catch a cold or fever during this period.
What to expect after your daughter’s first period
Your daughter having you as a partner rather than an authoritative figure to navigate the changes is especially appreciated with her newfound sense of self.
You can expect her cycle to be irregular for 1 to 3 years from the first period. Adolescent anovulation may cause irregular menstrual cycles or no periods, while puberty menorrhagia may cause excessive menstruation. You might need to seek medical help.
Acne and hormonal skin changes become quite evident about 1 to 2 years after the first period. These may impact your girl’s self-esteem and get you worried. Know that this is due to the changes in hormone levels, which will eventually balance. Unless it’s cystic acne, if the occasional zit shows up, refrain from addressing this as it makes her more self-conscious. Encourage a healthy diet, adequate sleep, facial and hand hygiene, plenty of water, and physical activity of about 150 minutes a week.
In sum, as long as your daughter isn’t significantly unwell, there isn’t anything to panic about, and you should be able to help her get through this transition with love and attention.