Average Age of a Girls First Period
Most young girls get their first period between the ages of 8 and 15. Every girl is different and the average is around 12 years of age. Your daughter might start earlier or later than this. It is important to start talking about periods early on. You will need to prepare your daughter for the big changes she is about to experience. You don’t have to give her all the details at the beginning, you can start with the age appropriate information. Laying a good foundation of communication and trust is the best way to start. If you are not sure on how to start “the talk”, you can read books about puberty and menstruation.
As soon as you start noticing physical changes in your daughter you should start the discussion about puberty and periods. You can start with the basics. Explain how the re-productive system works, how to keep track of her periods each month, talk to her about personal hygiene. Make sure she has a kit ready with a clean set of period panties, wipes, pads and liners in her bag.
Many of us probably remember when and where we got our first period and I bet you, you wish you had been better prepared. So, we want to address all her concerns before this happens. Explain how every girl is different and how she doesn’t need to worry that her friends experience was different than hers. Let her know her first period may involve very, little bleeding or might be heavy. The blood might be light red, dark red or even brown and they are all normal. She might feel nothing at all, or she might get cramps, feel pain, get tired, or even get a headache.
Dads, if this topic is uncomfortable for you, ask an older female, friend or relative to help you out. Your daughter might be as uncomfortable talking with you about her period. This is natural.
She will want to know how it feels, if it hurts, how long it will last, and how often will she get her period?
At first, don’t focus too much on the ‘joys” of your period like bloating, swelling, PMS and acne. Besides some of these symptoms won’t show up for years after her first period. The idea of bleeding for 4-5 days each month for the next 30 years or so is already overwhelming. You can start by telling her she might get some back pain, cramps, or tender breasts. She can take pain relievers that contain ibuprofen, naproxen or, acetaminophen.
Explain the Menstruation Cycle
The first menstrual period is called “menarche”. Shortly after the beginning of puberty in girls, usually 2 years after the development of breasts, menstruation starts. The menstrual cycle is about 4 weeks long, starting on the first day of your period (first time you bleed) and ending when the next period begins. For the first few years, this can vary. It may not come regularly, you may skip months or have your period more than once at the beginning. This will change about 2-3 years after her first period.
How to Deal with Cramps
Although cramps serve a purpose, they help your body release uterine lining, these can be extremely uncomfortable.
• An effective remedy for those cramps that come along with your monthly visit, is Heat. Try using a heating pad, hot compress, or hot water bottle against your lower abdomen, right over the spot. The heat helps relax the muscles that are contracting causing the cramps and sometimes lower back pain. If this doesn’t help, try soaking in a hot bathtub filled with Epsom salt.
• Drink more water. As your cycle begins, increase your water intake so that you are drinking no less than 8 glasses a day. When you are hydrated, you are less likely to become bloated, which worsens the pain caused by cramps. If you find it difficult to drink that much water, try adding some fruit to make it more flavorful.
• Eat right. Try eating fruits and veggies like blueberries, cherries, tomatoes and red bell peppers. These contain anti-inflammatory properties. Fish, rich in omega 3 fatty acids also help relieve pain. Eat tuna, salmon and sardines. Dark leafy greens like collard greens, spinach and kale may also help with the pain associated with cramps.