In every young girl’s life there is a moment after which things will never be the same, the moment that symbolizes the end of childhood – the first period. Apart from the physiological importance of the menarche, the first occurrence of menstruation, it also has a psychological and emotional significance. It is manifested with a mixture of feelings, on the one hand the pride about entering the new age, becoming more mature, and on the other, a subconscious realization that everything changes irrevocably and that the childhood is over. There is also concern about the pain and bleeding.
The first menstruation usually occurs around the age of 12, but it can also appear a year before or 3-4 years later. It depends on the body weight which should be 48 kg (105 lbs.) or more. Body fat percentage is important for normal menstrual cycle. It is also what makes women different from men, and being too skinny can lead to irregular periods and even complete loss of menstruation. On the other hand, obesity and excessive junk food can lead to early menstruation in girls.
Irregular periods are normal during the first two years from the occurrence of menarche, however, they should not be less than 21 days apart and the bleeding should not last longer than 7 days. Following the third year, the periods should be more regular, with 12-13 menstruations in a year. An ideal menstruation occurs every 28 days, however anything from 26 to 32 is considered normal. It can be followed by mild to moderate pain in the lower abdomen, breast pain, PMS, mood swings, headaches… The hormones are doing their work and slowly the ovulation steps in, causing a mild feeling of pressure or pain in the lower abdomen in the middle of the cycle.
Prior to menarche, series of changes begin, marking the beginning of puberty: pubic hair shows up, breasts start to develop, and the hormones cause changes of mood, interests, and the well-known teen rebellion. Being a parent is not easy then, but neither is being a teen girl. Parent support and good preparation for the first menstruation are particularly important for normal psychological development.
If a girl gets her menarche without being given necessary information and advice first, it could cause a mental trauma. The role of an older female is, therefore, very important: mother, elder sister, aunt, teacher… anyone close and trusted by the girl should tell her what to expect and answer all her questions. It is of vital importance to explain the menarche to a girl as something normal and natural, a sign that she is healthy.
But what are the problems that could be expected during the first years from the occurrence of the menarche?
- Moderately painful periods are normal, as no pain means no ovulation. However, dysmenorrhea, very painful periods that can incapacitate a girl, make her skip school or even be unable to walk, hits about a quarter of girls.
- If the bleeding lasts for longer than 7 days and the cycle is shorter than 21 days, it could lead to serious anemia.
- Periods can be irregular during the first two years, which is normal. Irregular bleeding is a consequence of lack of ovulation, as ovaries need time to adapt and harmonize with the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. It is good for a girl to learn to make notes about her periods in a calendar. Should the periods remain irregular after the age of 15, a gynecologist should be consulted.
- Menstruation is normally preceded by mild pain and swelling of the breasts and abdomen. If the pain is too strong, a doctor should be consulted before taking pain relievers.
- As we are witnesses today of increasing numbers of cases of uterine and ovary disorders, general checkups should be introduced from an early age.
- Hormones stimulate sebaceous glands and cause increased sebum secretion, which can lead to acne and skin inflammation. Sweat glands also get more active, and some extra advice is needed on how to do proper hygiene and apply deodorants.
- Puberty is the time when a girl gets excessively conscious about her body, and especially nowadays when she is surrounded with false representations of ‘an ideal body’. It is important to make her understand that starving herself and doing anything drastic to her body in order to make herself ‘fit into the fashion mold’ could lead to series of disorders, including the loss of period and hormone imbalance.
There is natural aid that can be used safely from the very first menstruation – Femisan A. It is a medicinal herb-based preparation without synthetic hormones or additives that can contribute to regular periods, alleviating of pre-menstrual symptoms and period pain. It can also act preventatively by balancing hormones, and warding off disorders caused by hormone imbalance, from acne to ovary and uterine disorders.
Femisan A is the friend every woman needs, from puberty to menopause.