Waiting for your first period. You want it because your friends have theirs and you feel like a bit of an outsider without it, but then part of you isn’t desperate for it because it sounds like a bit of a hassle (less so with Modibodi RED by the way – even swimming lessons during period are sorted 😊) But how do you know what’s normal, or when to see a doctor?
Never fear, RED is here, and we’re all for asking – and answering – your burning questions.
When does your first period usually start?
Your first period –menarche - usually starts about two years after your first signs of puberty – like breast buds, or in some cases, pubic hair – whichever comes first. The range typically falls between the ages of 8 and 16, but everyone is different.
How will I know my first period is coming soon?
It’s a bummer, but there’s no guaranteed sign that it’s about to happen, but, if you’ve already started developing breasts and pubic hair, the next step towards your first period is a clear, whitish discharge from your vagina. So check your undies, and once this has started, your period will often follow within six to 12 months.
Will I get my first period at the same age as my Mum?
It’s not a fool-proof strategy, but lots of girls get their period at a similar age, say within a year, of the age their Mum was. So if your Mum was a late bloomer, or started puberty later than usual, you might be the same too.
If I’m 15 and haven’t got my period yet, is there something wrong with me?
If your period is later than usual, it doesn’t automatically mean there’s something wrong, you might just be a late bloomer. Other causes of delayed menstruation can include being underweight, having an eating disorder, frequent strenuous exercise (such as high-level athletes, dancers, gymnasts) or severe stress.
When should I see a doctor?
If you haven’t had your first period by the time you’re 15, or by 3 years after you started puberty (started breast development, pubic hair), then it’s worth going for a check up with your local GP to double check, or put your mind at rest.
It’s also worth noting that it can take a couple of years from your first period to establish a regular cycle. Irregular periods in the first year or two are not unusual, nor a sign something is necessarily wrong. .
What kinds of tests will the doctor do?
Every case is different, but possible tests include a physical exam – where a doctor might feel your lower belly area and do an internal exam, which involves inserting a (gloved) finger or two into your vagina to see if everything is where it should be, and to check for any abnormalities or blockages. Your doctor should always ask for your permission to examine you. Your doctor may also order blood tests to check your hormone levels. An ultrasound is a test using sound waves to look at the your body’s internal structures so a specialist doctor can use the images to have a good look at your reproductive organs – your uterus, fallopian tubes and cervix – from the outside.
While some of these tests may seem intimidating, your doctor will talk you through every step to explain what’s going to happen, and why. And while some of it may feel uncomfortable, it shouldn’t be painful.
Scary or stressful as it may sound, the most important thing to do if you’re worried about your first period is to talk to your doctor, who can answer your questions, and, if needed, check you over for any problems. Most likely, your time just hasn’t come yet, but if you’re at all worried – just ask and approach your body with CURIOSITY!