When does the average girl start her period
A period is when blood comes out through a girl's vagina. It is a sign that she is getting close to the end of puberty. Puberty is when your body goes from looking like a kid's into looking more like a grown-up's. There is a lot to learn about periods. Here are some common questions that kids have.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: The menstrual cycle
SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: The Menstrual CycleContent:
What happens during the typical 28-day menstrual cycle?
One day last year when her daughter, Ainsley, was 9, Tracee Sioux pulled her out of her elementary school in Fort Collins, Colo. Ainsley was the tallest child in her third-grade class. In the back seat, Ainsley wiggled out of her pink parka and looked in her backpack for her Harry Potter book. Over the past three years, Tracee — pretty and well-put-together, wearing a burnt orange blouse that matched her necklace and her bag — had taken Ainsley to see several doctors.
They ordered blood tests and bone-age X-rays and turned up nothing unusual. Who gets pubic hair in first grade? Fed up with mainstream physicians, Tracee began pursuing less conventional options. She tried giving Ainsley diindolylmethane, or DIM, a supplement that may or may not help a body balance its hormones. That afternoon, Tracee and Ainsley visited the office of Jared Allomong, an applied kinesiologist.
Some budding. Ainsley closed her eyes, as if to shut out the embarrassment. She preferred torturing her 6-year-old brother and playing school with the neighborhood kids.
Ainsley was always the teacher, and she was very strict. Tracee laughed. They left us hanging. Allomong listened intently. After about 20 minutes he asked Ainsley to lie on a table. Finally, he asked Ainsley to sit up. On the ride back to Fort Collins, Tracee tried to cheer herself up thinking about the teenage suffering that Ainsley would avoid. The medical wisdom, at that time, based on a landmark study of institutionalized British children, was that puberty began, on average, for girls at age But that was not what Herman-Giddens was seeing.
So she started collecting data, eventually leading a study with the American Academy of Pediatrics that sampled 17, girls, finding that among white girls, the average age of breast budding was 9.
Among black girls, it was 8. When Herman-Giddens published these numbers, in in Pediatrics, she set off a social and endocrinological firestorm. Was the age of puberty really dropping? Parents said yes. Leading pediatric endocrinologists said no.
The stalemate lasted a dozen years. Then in August , the conflict seemed to resolve. Now most researchers seem to agree on one thing: Breast budding in girls is starting earlier. The debate has shifted to what this means. Puberty, in girls, involves three events: the growth of breasts, the growth of pubic hair and a first period.
But the data show a confounding pattern. While studies have shown that the average age of breast budding has fallen significantly since the s, the average age of first period, or menarche, has remained fairly constant, dropping to only Why would puberty be starting earlier yet ending more or less at the same time? To endocrinologists, girls who go through puberty early fall into two camps: girls with diagnosable disorders like central precocious puberty, and girls who simply develop on the early side of the normal curve.
But the line between the groups is blurring. As the body grows, the pattern of black and white changes. The white bones lengthen, and the black interstices between them, some of which is cartilage, shrink. This process stops at the end of puberty, when the growth plates fuse. One main risk for girls with true precocious puberty is advanced bone age. Puberty includes a final growth spurt, after which girls mostly stop growing. If that growth spurt starts too early in life, it ends at an early age too, meaning a child will have fewer growing years total.
A girl who has her first period at age 10 will stop growing younger and end up shorter than a genetically identical girl who gets her first period at age She was the tallest girl in her class at school. She started growing pubic hair at age 4. No one thought her growth curve was normal, not even her doctors.
The girl hated the shot. Yet nobody second-guessed the treatment plan. The mismatch between her sexual maturation and her age — and the discomfort that created, for everybody — was just too great. Indeed, most parents learn to cope with the changes and help their daughters adjust too. However, many girls do fine if they are simply monitored and their parents are reassured that they will get through it without major problems.
In some ways early puberty is most straightforward for families like those of the kindergartner on Leuprolide. She has a diagnosis, a treatment plan. He laughed. So why are so many girls with no medical disorder growing breasts early? Girls who are overweight are more likely to enter puberty early than thinner girls, and the ties between obesity and puberty start at a very young age. Does It Matter? Researchers now believe that fat tissue, not poundage, sets off a feedback loop that can cause a body to mature.
In addition, animal studies show that the exposure to some environmental chemicals can cause bodies to mature early. These compounds behave like steroid hormones and can alter puberty timing. The daughters born to the pregnant women who ate the PBB-laced meat and drank the PBB-laced milk started menstruating significantly earlier than their peers. One concern, among parents and researchers, is the effect of simultaneous exposures to many estrogen-mimics, including the compound BPA, which is ubiquitous.
Ninety-three percent of Americans have traces of BPA in their bodies. BPA was first made in and used as a synthetic estrogen in the s. In the s commercial manufacturers started putting BPA in hard plastics. Since then BPA has been found in many common products, including dental sealants and cash-register receipts.
More than a million pounds of the substance are released into the environment each year. Family stress can disrupt puberty timing as well. Girls who from an early age grow up in homes without their biological fathers are twice as likely to go into puberty younger as girls who grow up with both parents.
Some studies show that the presence of a stepfather in the house also correlates with early puberty. Evidence links maternal depression with developing early. Bruce Ellis, a professor of Family Studies and Human Development at the University of Arizona, discovered along with his colleagues a pattern of early puberty in girls whose parents divorced when those girls were between 3 and 8 years old and whose fathers were considered socially deviant meaning they abused drugs or alcohol, were violent, attempted suicide or did prison time.
In another study, published in , Ellis and his colleagues showed that first graders who are most reactive to stress — kids whose pulse, respiratory rate and cortisol levels fluctuate most in response to environmental challenges — entered puberty earliest when raised in difficult homes. Evolutionary psychology offers a theory: A stressful childhood inclines a body toward early reproduction; if life is hard, best to mature young.
But such theories are tough to prove. We know that girls who develop ahead of their peers tend to have lower self-esteem, more depression and more eating disorders. They start drinking and lose their virginity sooner. They have more sexual partners and more sexually transmitted diseases. Half of the patients in her clinic are or have been in the foster system. She sees in the outlines of their early-developing bodies the stresses of their lives — single parent or no parent, little or no money, too much exposure to violence.
Some of this may stem from the same social stresses that contribute to early puberty in the first place, and some of it may stem from other factors, including the common nightmare of adolescence: being different. But for the late bloomers, the negative effect wears off once puberty ends. For early bloomers, the effect persists, causing higher levels of depression and anxiety through at least age 30, perhaps all through life. I was surprised that it was so severe. One theory is that going through puberty early, relative to other kinds of cognitive development, causes changes in the brain that make it more susceptible to depression.
Graber offers a broader hypothesis, perhaps the best understanding of the puberty-depression connection we have for now.
They face new challenges while everybody else is still dealing with the usual development of childhood. This might be causing them to make less successful transitions into adolescence and beyond. Yet sooner rather than later, most threw up their hands. Adding to the anxiety is the fact that we know so little about how early puberty works. Lustig is a man prone to big, inflammatory ideas.
He believes that sugar is a poison, as he has argued in this magazine. To make the case that some girls with early breast growth may not be in puberty, he starts with basic science. True puberty starts in the brain, he explains, with the production of gonadotropin-releasing hormone, or GnRH. GnRH is like the ball that rolls down the ramp that knocks over the book that flips the stereo switch. Specifically, GnRH trips the pituitary, which signals the ovaries.
The ovaries then produce estrogen, and the estrogen causes the breasts to grow. But as Lustig points out, the estrogen that is causing that growth in young girls may have a different origin.
Puberty Before Age 10: A New ‘Normal’?
Your First Period
The average American girl will experience her first menstrual period, known as menarche, between the ages of 12 and 13 years old according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. However, some girls can experience this life event much sooner. Sara Kreckman , UnityPoint Health pediatrician. In most cases, there is no obvious or abnormal reason for why the body has started producing these hormones early, although body weight, heredity, ethnicity and activity can be important factors, according to Dr. However, if a child develops breast buds before age 8 or periods before age 9, Dr. Kreckman advises a visit to your provider. Kreckman says. Kristin Millin, pediatrician, echoes that sentiment. Millin advises parents use a few tools to help girls understand puberty. Millin says.
All About Menstruation
Learn more. Menstruation a period is a major stage of puberty in girls. It's one of the many physical signs that a girl is turning into a woman. Menstruation can be confusing, just like a lot of the other changes that come with puberty. Some girls can't wait to start their periods.
One day last year when her daughter, Ainsley, was 9, Tracee Sioux pulled her out of her elementary school in Fort Collins, Colo. Ainsley was the tallest child in her third-grade class. In the back seat, Ainsley wiggled out of her pink parka and looked in her backpack for her Harry Potter book.
When does menstruation begin?
Back to Periods. Most girls start their periods when they're about 12, but they can start as early as 8, so it's important to talk to girls from an early age to make sure they're prepared before the big day. Many parents feel awkward talking about periods, especially with pre-teen girls, who can seem to get easily embarrassed. One way round this is to respond to questions or opportunities as they arise.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Abnormal Periods
First Period Symptoms? Learn how to read and understand these signs! Here are 3 helpful tips to get ready for this special time! You may want to look at their policies. Although a lot of girls get their first period between 11 and 13 years old, you could get yours anywhere between 9 and
Talking to Your Child About Periods
From both social and medical perspectives, it is often considered the central event of female puberty , as it signals the possibility of fertility. Girls experience menarche at different ages. The timing of menarche is influenced by female biology , as well as genetic and environmental factors , especially nutritional factors. The mean age of menarche has declined over the last century, but the magnitude of the decline and the factors responsible remain subjects of contention. The worldwide average age of menarche is very difficult to estimate accurately, and it varies significantly by geographical region, race, ethnicity and other characteristics. Various estimates have placed it at
Your child will go through lots of changes in puberty. One of the most significant milestones is her first period. Most of the blood and tissue comes out in the first couple of days, but some girls will continue to have bleeding for up to seven days. The amount of bleeding varies.
First Period: 3 Signs Your Period is Coming
Talking about personal subjects like periods menstruation can make parents and kids feel a little uncomfortable. But kids need reliable information! Helping your kids understand their bodies will help them make good decisions about their health.
It signals the beginning of a long phase of life around 40 years! This means that if you have sexual contact, you might get pregnant. While you may have learned about menstruation in school, you probably have questions about what to expect.
Some girls greet those first drops of blood with joy or relief, while others feel bewildered and scared. So, how do you discuss menstruation and offer education, as well as guidance and support, before the big day arrives? Or, what do you tell your son? Boys have questions, too. In the early s, girls generally reached menarche the medical term for the first period or the beginning of menstruation at age 14 or