The first menstruation or period begins somewhere
between 10 and 16 years. If you notice signs of enlargement of
the breasts, your daughter would probably have her first
period 2 years after that. When you find that she is having a
sudden increase in her weight and height, she can be expected
to get her first period about a year later.
It is important to discuss the normal phase of growing
up with your daughter. If you do not feel comfortable, let
another responsible person — a doctor, a counsellor or a
relative — discuss it with her.
A few months before the beginning of menstruation, girls may normally get a white discharge
from the vagina. This
is called ‘physiological leucorrhoea’ and does not need
Absence Of Menstruation (Amenorrhea)
You should meet your doctor if your daughter has not
started menstruating at 16 years of age or has missed her period
after having started menstruating. It is possible that it may
be a normal variation, but merits consultation.
In some families, periods are normally delayed to begin with. They are also delayed in thin
girls who are
otherwise normal, e.g. athletes or those who practise regular
dancing. In athletes who run extensively, low hormone levels related
to onset of menstruation are reported. The same is true of
thin girls having a chronic disease, anorexia nervosa or malnutrition.
Delayed menstruation could also be due to certain drugs.
Take your daughter to see your doctor anyway as the
cause may be different, requiring investigations and
Even pregnancy should be kept in mind.
Normal Irregularity Of Periods In The First Year Or So
The first couple of periods in a girl are usually not
associated with the release of ova, the female egg. These periods
can be normally irregular, scanty, prolonged or heavy. See your doctor in case of any doubt.
Discomfort During Menstruation
When your daughter starts menstruating, ask her how it
is going. Remember that the periods that take place without ovulation (release of the female egg) are not painful.
Do not tell her of the pain you might have had during menstruation; she may start complaining of pain due to
Even cycles with ovulation are not necessarily
associated with pain. However, if pain occurs, you should see the
doctor. If no disease is detected, the doctor may reassure your daughter
and, if required, may give her a relatively
safe drug called ibuprofen (400 mg. 3 times a day). Drugs
containing analgin and aspirin should be avoided. The drug is
started as soon as the periods begin and is discontinued when the
pain stops. Girls
who have regular exercise or those who take part in sports are less likely to have cramps
before or during menstruation.
Mood Disturbances In Between Two Periods
Quite a few girls get a feeling of depression, headaches
and cramps a week or two before the periods. If required,
your doctor may prescribe ibuprofen. Most cases improve
merely with reassurance, healthy diet and exercise. Tea,
coffee, cola drinks, sugar and salt may be restricted.
Unexpected Bleeding From The Vagina
While bleeding from the vagina in a newborn and in an adolescent who is otherwise well is
normal, bleeding in
other children could be due to some disease, or a generalised bleeding disorder, hormonal disturbance, precocious
puberty occurring before the expected age, injury, a foreign
body in the vagina, sexual abuse or even a tumour. Consult a doctor immediately.
11 February, 2013