It is a defining moment in the lives of teenage girls, awaited with excitement and fear, as it represents the moment when girls turn into women. And as any new thing is accompanied by many questions, we give you the answer to some of them.
The first period, also called menarche, brings many changes to the body, such as the development of breasts and the appearance of pubic and axial hair.
Menarche is a sign that the body has developed enough to cope with a possible pregnancy.
1. What is the menstrual cycle?
Under the influence of certain hormones secreted by the central nervous centers (hypothalamus and pituitary gland), the ovaries secrete hormones (estrogen and progesterone) which, in turn, control the endometrium (the tissue lining the uterine cavity). These changes have the effect of preparing the endometrium for pregnancy or for the removal of tissue – menstruation. The period between two periods is called the menstrual cycle. It is calculated from the first day of bleeding until the day before the next period, generally an interval of 28 days.
2. How long is it normal to have a period?
Menstrual bleeding can last between 1-7 days, with an average of 3-5 days.
3. At what age does it appear?
The average age at which the first period occurs is 12 years, but it can occur anytime between the ages of 9-16. If it does not come until the age of 17, medical consultation is recommended.
4. Is it accompanied by pain?
The first period is, most of the time, painless, but the following menstrual cycles may be accompanied by cramps. The pain occurs as the uterus contracts to remove tissue it no longer needs.
5. What are the protection methods?
During menstruation, external absorbent pads are preferable. Intravaginal ones are to be avoided because they can favor the occurrence of infections, as they can become culture media for pathogenic bacteria and can produce an imbalance of the vaginal flora.
6. What is proper intimate hygiene during menstruation?
To avoid possible infections, it is recommended to wash your hands with soap and water before and after changing tampons. During this period, attention should be paid to the local toilet at least twice a day or whenever needed. Wet wipes can be used, but only if you don’t have immediate access to water (traveling).
7. How much blood is lost at menarche?
During the first period, the amount of blood lost is small, and then the volume increases during the other menstrual cycles. Also, in the first months, menstruation is irregular.
Dr. Mirela Popa, primary gynecologist
The appearance of the first menstruation is related to the endocrine system, which controls the maturity of the reproductive system. It usually appears 2 years after the start of breast development and 4-6 months after the appearance of pubic and axillary hair. The appearance of the first menstruation is conditioned by weight, height, but also by genetic, environmental or dietary factors. Not all women have fixed menstrual cycles of 28 days; but this does not mean that they do not have regular menstrual cycles. Normal menstrual cycles have a duration between 21 and 32 days, specifying that they must have the same pattern, month after month, characteristic of each woman.