First Period: Signs and Symptoms

Menstruation, also called a period, is one of the main stages of a girl’s puberty. The scientific name for a girl’s first period is “Menarche”. A girl getting her first period means that she is sexually mature and can produce offspring. It also means that the girl is becoming a woman. The girls in puberty have various feelings towards getting their period. Some girls are scared and anxious; some can’t wait for it to happen, some feel embarrassed and some do not even realize something is happening in their body. These days, open minded societies, internet and sex education across the world to the kids have played a pivotal role in educating children about sexual maturity. These have also made the girls aware of what is happening in a body, the signs and symptoms, when a girl gets her first period.

A girl can get the first period when she is 11-14 years old. There is a wider range of age in rare cases which is 9-16 years. Because of the hormones kicking in, a girl may have a lot of changes in her body before the onset of her first period. A few signs and symptoms are most common:

Development of breasts:

Development of breast buds is one of the most important symptoms of a girl’s sexual maturity. Because of the hormonal changes a girl’s body develops fat tissues and milk glands. Girls develop nipples and breasts leading to the raised area. Breasts start developing about 2 – 2 ½ years before the first period. It might take 4 years for a girl’s breast to develop completely. It is advisable for girls to use training bras and camisoles when they start developing breasts.

Growth of Pubic hair:

Sometime after a girl’s breasts starts developing, the pubic hair grows. Thin and soft in the beginning, the pubic hair grow thick, curly and coarser later. A girl might get her first period a year or two after the first pubic hair growth.

Growth of Armpit hair:

As soon as the pubic hair grows, a girl can experience the growth of hair in armpits. Similar to pubic hair, the armpit hair is also soft and thin in the beginning and becomes thick and coarse with time. This indicates that the girl is just a year or two away from her first period.

Vaginal discharge:

This is the best indicator to tell a girl that she might get her first period anywhere between 6 months to 12 months from her first vaginal discharge. The discharge might be white or yellow in color. It is absolutely normal for girls to have a vaginal discharge.

It is also proven that a girl has a lot of chances of getting her first period as her mother did. Knowing this information from her mother can keep a girl prepared for her first period. It is advisable for girls to carry sanitary pads or tampons or panty liners a year after they have found the initial symptoms. A very early or delayed onset of first period need not be worried about because this happens quite a bit depending on lifestyles of the girls and is absolutely normal.

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