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Menarche – First Menstrual Cycle

Menarche refers to a girl’s first menstrual cycle. It usually begins at the age of 11, but can occur any time between the ages of 11-13. A gynecologist should be consulted if menarche does not occur till the age of 16. In the United States, the average age for the first menstrual cycle to occur is 12.5 years.

Menarche signifies growing up of a girl and is also considered to be a sign of fertility. It entails several changes in the female anatomy, such as the girl may start developing breasts, underarm, and pubic hair. Her hips also begin to widen. Intrinsically, it suggests the thickening of the endometrium, induced by osterogen. In several countries around the world, menarche holds a special significance and is celebrated with rituals and feasts for the girl. It is a sign of her womanhood.

Before the first menstrual cycle occurs, the body may go through several symptoms. Abdominal cramps or pain in the legs is a very common symptom; there may also be a feeling of bloatiness. It is also likely that the girl will experience mood swings such as anxiety or depression before the periods occur for the first time.

Once the periods start, there will be a flow of blood from the vagina. It may be brown initially, but will turn to red before it stops completely. Periods may take 4-5 days long to last, in some cases; it may even take 7 days. Girls are advised to make use of sanitary pads or tampons during this time. They can also take medicines to soothe the cramps. Menstrual cycle, however, do not disturb the normal routine of life. One can exercise, swim, and play normally during periods. Though menarche does not mean ovulation in the body, it may lead to pregnancy in case of an intercourse.

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  1. Ericka Courtney says:

    Thanks so much for this website, I have of course been through this, but it was so long ago, I hardly remember any of it. This was a great point of reference for me and my daughter.

  2. Steffy says:

    I am about to turn 11 and today i stayed home from camp because I had small abdominal cramps on my left side and a headache. I have had discharge (it is not very thick) for about 6 months now. I am constantly hungry even after I eat. I don’t have much hair “down there” but I have short armpit hair. I have small “boobs” haha but I’m worried I might get my period soon! Please help!

  3. keasha says:

    I’m 12 and have been having discharge for 7 months and it is really thick . I eat alot and i have a huge amount of here down there.I have some armpit have and my breast are in stage 3-4 tanner stage will i have my period soon plz help

  4. anonmous says:

    well I’m 12 years of age i got breast hair down there a little arm pit hair white discharge and i having carvings and cramps will i start very soon help

  5. Leslie says:

    The statement in your article about the age of menarche (eleven) is just wrong. There is no ONE age for menarche. There is a range, which is usually between the ages of ten and sixteen.

  6. Becky says:

    Hi I am about to turn 11. Here are all the symptoms I have.:
    Armpit hair, hair (down there), discharge, cramps, leg aches, head aches, I get moody and rude, confused about boys, I am growing a small chest, I get pimples, I feel dirty all the time, stomach aches, my hips are growing bigger than my waist, and more I can’t think of right now. I think I am about to get my period. HELP!!!

  7. Ana Tosh says:

    @Steffy and Keasha Dnt worry im 11 and ive had my period. Every girl is different in their own way. It doesnt matter if u have small boobs. Your period will come. Trust me.

  8. Lucy says:

    Hey, I am about to turn 13 soon in a couple of months and I have been having the same signs as the others mentioned in the earlier comments. One of the signs and symptoms are headaches, trouble sleeping, breast that are in stage 4, small cramps, and had a recent vaginal discharge about a couple times though it wasn’t that thick and haven’t had it for about a weak.I also have pubic hair which is almost fully grown and it has been growing for about 2 years already along with my armpit hair and leg and arm hair. is my period starting soon?

  9. zoe carfield says:

    i am 12 years old nearly 13 and i have been having thick white discharge for quite a while now and i sweat alot i also have started to grow hair on my gentials and tiny short underarm hair does this mean i am going to get my first period ? pleae help :/

  10. chanel says:

    i am 16 years old and i got my first period when i was 12 i did have all this white yucky gooey stuff in my knickers for a while for 6 months i had it and i really had problems within the first few cycles but you will get used to it 🙂

  11. Kaykay says:

    I haven’t started but I’ve had the discharge for 2 years I have boobs and I have cramps headaches alot and I have alot of hair down ther and my armpits idk when I’m gonna start and I’m almost 13

  12. faithful says:

    i am 13 discharge for about a year breast about ever since i was 10 hair ever since i was 10 i just dont know when i will start

  13. zoey says:

    hi am am zoey,i am 14 yrs old and got my first period when i was 11 ,i had these physical signs:pubic and arm hair started to grow,thick white discharge,mood swings,sweating alot! girls if you havee these signs dont worry theres no need its just showing that your growing up and thats a good thing…every girl goes through this phase of her life and its time for you to aswell make sure if you have had these signs be sure to carry around pads/tampons wichever you feel comfortable with:hope this helped! 😀

  14. alexis says:

    hey my names alexis and im 12 i had my period lastyear but i did want to say thatu could get yur period from the ages of 9 through 16 ihad discharge for 6 months but its really just away that yur body cleans its self so after that a

  15. alexis says:

    hey my names alexis and im 12 i had my period lastyearbut i did want to say thatucould get yur period from the ages of 9 through 16 ihad discharge for 6 months but its really just away that yur body cleans its self so after that about two-three months u will get it

  16. Kelsey says:

    I’m 16. I just had my first period 4 days ago and I’m still having the cramps. I turned 16 in February. I never had thick white discharge, but had some discharge, I have small boobs, and only have leg hair and hair (down there). No armpit hair. I’ve been bleeding lightly on and off for 4 days. Is that normal?

  17. Rae-Newcastle,England says:

    I’m 13 and have been getting thick white discharge for over 1.5 years and still havent started my periods. I’m a bit worried incase there’s something wrong with me. Me and my Mam aren’t that close so I don’t want to talk to her about it. Recently I’ve had migranes, cramps and the other day I got a really bad pain in my leg- am I about to start menstruation?

    Thankyou for reading

  18. Elizabeth says:

    thank u vry much this has been wonderful for me i am 12 yrs of age and 4 months this is good and u kno i had it this mornin and my mom let me read this it was not so bad for me but thnx alot

  19. Jazz-Detroit,Michigan says:

    I started my cycle 6-months ago and I have not seen another is that normal for me. I’m 12yrs old and I’m scared that something is wrong with my body.

  20. Manuela says:

    I’ve had al the abav-mentioned symptoms. Boobs, hips, hair evriwher, thick, stretchy, white discharge, riili painful abdominal cramps, etc. Am i about to have my period? Is it advisable to carry pads around?

  21. Nana says:

    Am eleven,I have pains in my lower abdomen,armpit hair,hair on my reproductive organ,my breast is stage three,have mood swings,attracted to the opposite sex,having a lot of white disharge and headaches.Does that mean am gonna get my period soon?And how soon is that?

  22. Nickola says:

    HI.I’m nearly 13. I have had discharge for over 3 and a half years. I have hair every where and I have size B breasts. My sister and mum started 11 or 12. HELP!!!

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