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As girls enter their early teens, they may find themselves asking “why haven’t I started my period?” For many girls, menstruation simply comes on later than it does for their peers. Eating disorders and excessive exercising can also cause delayed menstruation. Generally, girls as old as 15 should not worry too much about when they will get their periods; odds are, it will be coming soon. Read on to find out more about what periods are, when you should expect yours, and what to do when it finally comes.
Why Haven’t I Started My Period?
Girls begin to menstruate approximately 2 to 2.5 years after she begins to show the first signs of puberty. Usually, girls get their first periods at some point between the ages of 8 and 15. However, there are some girls who begin puberty earlier or later than others.
If you want a clue as to when you may be getting your period, try checking your underwear for vaginal discharge. Vaginal discharge is a clear or white colored mucus-like fluid that typically appears 6-12 months before your period does.
Factors in Play
Just because you’re, say 14, and asking “why haven’t I started my period” does not necessarily mean that there is anything wrong with you. Some girls, however, may not get their first period due to issues with hormone imbalances. Girls who are underweight or struggling with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa may also have delayed periods. Girls who are particularly athletic may not get their periods until they no longer exercise so vigorously. Severe stress and certain illnesses can interfere with menstruation as well.
What You Need to Know About Period
When you begin to menstruate, you are capable of becoming pregnant. Every month or so, one of your ovaries will release an egg in a process known as ovulation. When ovulation occurs, your body undergoes hormonal changes in order to prepare your uterus for pregnancy. If ovulation passes without the fertilization of an egg, the egg will pass through your uterus on its way out of the body. Then, the lining of the uterus will be shed through your vagina. This process is known as a menstrual period.
When your period begins and you can finally stop asking “why haven’t I started my period”, you may experience cramps in your back or lower abdomen, headaches, bloating, fatigue, and tender breasts. Warm baths, exercise, over-the-counter pain relievers, or a heating pad can all help to ease your discomfort.
It’s not uncommon for girls who have recently begun to menstruate to have irregular periods for the first couple of years. The average length of a menstrual cycle is 28 days, from the first day of a period to day your next period begins. The menstrual cycles of teens can range from 21 to 45 days, and they tend to be longer in the first few years after menstruation has begun.
What Should I Do When I Get My First Period?
- Don’t Freak Out. After asking “why haven’t I started my period” many times, it actually came. What should you do? First, take a deep breath, try to relax, and congratulate yourself on the fact that you’ve reached this milestone.
- Form a temporary pad. If you notice spots of blood on your underwear and the bathroom does not have a pad dispenser, wrap a few layers of toilet paper around the crotch area of your underwear. The blood will be absorbed by the toilet paper and it will act as a liner temporarily until you get an actual pad.
- Cover the leaks. Since first periods tend to be quite light, it’s unlikely that any blood will leak through your pants. However, it might happen sometimes. Just cover your butt with a hoodie, sweater, or some long-sleeved shirt that you can tie around your waist.
- Relieve cramps. Not all women experience cramps and some will only undergo mild discomfort. If you happen to feel intense lower abdominal cramping, try talking to your school nurse. She can give you a heating pad or pain medication to help you feel better. Besides, drinking warm water can help you stay hydrated while relieving bloating and cramps. Chamomile tea is a good choice as it contains an anti-inflammatory agent that’s been known to help with cramps.
- Mark the date on your calendar. Your period will probably be irregular at first—it could last from anywhere between 2 to 9 days and could come anywhere from every 28 days to 2 times per month. Nevertheless, it’s important that you begin to track it. This will keep you from being caught unprepared and also come in handy when making plans.
First Periods: Other Girls’ Experiences
I was 8 when I got my first period. I had just gotten out of PE and I felt warm and started having a crampy feeling. I went to a restroom and was sure enough I had gotten my period. I was so scared and I had no intention of telling anyone. I placed almost an entire roll of toilet paper in my panty and I couldn’t wait to reach home! I told my mother and she hugged me.
My period began during the middle of the night when I was 10. I knew about period, so I wasn’t all that scared. I went to my mom. She helped me clean up and taught me how to put on a pad.
What If I Never Get My Period?
Girls who have reached the age of 16 and are still asking “why haven’t I started my period” may have a condition known as primary amenorrhea characterized by a lack of menstrual flow. It is a condition that requires careful medical testing, diagnosis, and treatment. If you are 16 and have not gotten your period yet, consult your family doctor.