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What Should I Talk About?
What you talk about depends on your child’s age and level of development. Here are some questions that most kids have asked:
When do most girls get their period?
Most girls get their first period when they’re between 10 and 15 years old. The average age is 12, but every girl’s body has its own schedule.
Although there’s no one right age for a girl to get her period, there are some clues that it will start soon. Typically, a girl gets her period about 2 years after her breasts start to develop. Another sign is vaginal discharge fluid (sort of like mucus) 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.
What causes a period?
A period happens because of changes in hormones in the body. Hormones are chemical messengers. The ovaries release the hormones estrogen and progesterone . These hormones cause the lining of the uterus (or womb) to build up. The built-up lining is ready for a fertilized egg to attach and start developing. If there is no fertilized egg, the lining breaks down and bleeds. Then the same process happens all over again. It usually takes about a month for the lining to build up, then break down. That is why most girls and women get their periods around once a month.
Do periods happen regularly when menstruation starts?
For the first few years after a girls starts her period, it may not come regularly. This is normal at first. By about 2–3 years after her first period, a girl’s periods should be coming around once a month.
Can a girl get pregnant as soon as her period starts?
Yes, a girl can get pregnant as soon as her period starts. A girl can even get pregnant right before her very first period. This is because a girl’s hormones might already be active. The hormones may have led to ovulation (releasing of the egg from the ovary) and the building of the uterine wall. If a girl has sex she can get pregnant, even though she has never had a period.
How long do periods last?
Periods usually last about 5 days. But a period can last shorter or longer.
How often does a period happen?
Periods usually happen about once a month. But some girls get their periods around every 3 weeks. And others only get a period about once every 6 weeks.
What is PMS?
PMS (premenstrual syndrome) is when a girl has emotional and physical symptoms that happen before or during her period. These symptoms can include moodiness, sadness, anxiety, bloating, and acne. They go away after the first few days of a period.
What if I Have Trouble Talking to My Kids About Periods?
If you don’t feel comfortable talking with your kids about periods, make sure they have another way to get this information. Maybe watching a video or reading a book together would be easier. You also can ask your doctor, nurse, school counselor, or a trusted family member to talk to your child.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
Most girls don’t have any problems with their periods. But call your doctor if your daughter:
- is 15 and does not have her period
- started developing breasts more than 3 years ago and does not have her period
- is more than 2 years from her first period and her periods still do not come every 3–6 weeks (especially if she misses three or more periods in a row)
- has severe cramps, not relieved by ibuprofen
- has very heavy bleeding (bleeding that goes through a pad or tampon faster than every 2 hours)
- has severe PMS that gets in the way of her everyday activities