Preparing Your Preteen for Her Period

For pre-teen and teen-aged girls, puberty is a trying period. What with all the physical changes happening to her body. This confusing stage is made worse by menstruation.

What is a menstrual cycle?

A normal menstrual cycle is when a girl’s vagina bleeds as a result of hormonal changes that are happening in her body. A girl usually gets her first period when she’s around 12 years old. However, there are some young girls who get their first period as early as 9 years old. Then there are some young women who get their first period as late as 16. Both cases are normal.

Most women will have regular 28-day cylcles. However, the length of a girl’s cycle varies depending on her age when she first got her period. Some women will be as short as 22 days, others will be as long as 36 days. During those times, a girl may bleed from four to sever days. It is normal for an adolescent girl to have irregular menstrual cycles.

Most women will have regular menstrual cycles that occur on a 28 day cycle. However just as the age of onset varies, so too does the length. Some women’s cycles will be as short as 22 days, whereas others will last 36 days. During that time you may bleed from four to seven days. During adolescence, menstrual cycles are often irregular.

How to keep track of your cycle?

To keep track of your cycle, you can use a calendar. Mark every day that you bleed on your calendar, starting on your first day.

However, if you bleed more often than every 21 days or if your periods are regularly longer than 45 days apart, you should consult with a healthcare professional to make sure there are no inherent hormonal or reproductive problems.

How to tell if you have hormonal or reproductive problems?

There are trusted signs that tell you something might be wrong. These include the following symptoms:

You haven’t had your period yet by the age of 16.

Your periods are more frequent than every 21 days or are more than 45 days apart.

You bleed in between cycles.

Your "cramps" are too severe and cannot be relieved by over the counter medications.

Your periods are unusually heavy that you need to change you pad almost every hour for four hours straight.

If you have any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor for an exam.

Why your cycle might be off?

There are several reasons why your cycle is sometimes "off". Remember, most adolescent girls have irregular cycles.

However, there are some rather serious situations that affect you menstrual cycle. For instance, if you missed a period, it may be a sign of pregnancy – that is, if you are sexually active. Sexually transmitted disease may also cause irregular menstrual cycles.

Sometimes the ovary simply fails to release an egg which causes you to "skip" your period.

Another reason may be that you have a clotting disorder which causes particularly heavy periods.

What happens when you go to the doctor?

Your doctor will ask questions about your period. He will ask about the frequency and duration of your period, what age did you get your first period and if you are sexually active.

Your doctor may perform a pelvic examination. This test is done more commonly on sexually active teens to check for possible STDs.

To help you give accurate information to you doctor, monitor you monthly cycles carefully. Note the patterns or changes to your cycles. It may be an important indication of a problem.

Seek the help of your healthcare provider, especially if you are sexually active, to help further diagnose any problems, prescribe treatment options, birth control pills or other contraceptives.


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