At what age should a girl start menstruating? Menstruation, also known as period or monthly circle, is the regular discharge of blood and mucosal tissue commonly known as menses, from the inner lining of the uterus through the vagina.
The first period usually begins between 12 and 15 years of age, a period known as menarche. However, I had a female friend who confidently told me that she started menstruating at the age of nine (9) and I was stuck for words.
Are you for real? Actually, I thought she was joking with me but for the fact that she repeated it over and over again shows that it was really a life experience. But, can that be OK?
Is menstruation at the age of 8 or 9 normal? At what age should a girl start menstruating? What are the factors that contribute to menstruation at tender age among girls?
What Is Menarche Age?
Puberty is a time when the body becomes more “adult” and prepares for the possibility of becoming pregnant. Menstruation or getting your period is one of the later developments of puberty.
The medical word for the age or date of someone’s first period or menstruation is menarche, but when do periods start?
Menarche usually begins between the ages of 9 to 15, about two years after the onset of puberty. The average age of menarche is 12 to 13, but it can be normal for it to happen earlier or later.
However, periods may occasionally start as early as eight (8) years and still be considered normal. Age at menarche or first menstruation varies across countries, races and communities.
What Are Factors That Contributes To Menarche?
Like earlier said, the first menstrual period is called menarche, which is a vital event in the development of female adolescents’ puberty.
Despite other pubertal changes that are gradual and continuous, menarche is a distinct event with a sudden onset.
The timing of menarche is an important determinant of population size, reproductive performance, and other chronic outcomes such as cancers of the reproductive organs.
Moreover, it is an important factor in health planning. Menarche is affected by genetic factors, race, environmental conditions, nutrition (i.e the type of food you eat), physical activity, geographic location, urban or rural residence, health status, psychological factors, blindness, body mass index (BMI), family size, socioeconomic status, parental educational level, occupation of parents, loss of parents, child sexual abuse, physical stress, tea consumption, and passive smoking.
Some Key Facts On Menstruation According To UNICEF
- On average a woman menstruates for about 7 years during their lifetime.
- The first period can be met with either celebration, fear or concern. For every girl, this signifies an important transition to womanhood – a time when they would benefit from the support of family and friends.
- Many girls do not have complete and accurate understanding of menstruation as a normal biological process. Educating girls before their first period — and, importantly, boys — on menstruation, builds their confidence, contributes to social solidarity and encourages healthy habits. Such information should be provided at home and at school.
- Poor menstrual hygiene can pose physical health risks and has been linked to reproductive and urinary tract infections. Many girls and women have limited options for affordable menstrual materials. Providing access to private facilities with water and safer low-cost menstrual materials could reduce urogenital diseases.
- Girls and women with disabilities and special needs face additional challenges with menstrual hygiene and are affected disproportionately with lack of access to toilets with water and materials to manage their period.
- Many women and girls do not have access to materials to manage their menstruation, especially in times of emergency — natural disasters and conflicts. In emergencies, UNICEF provides dignity kits to women and girls, which include sanitary pads, a flashlight and whistle for personal safety when using the toilet.
- Globally, 2.3 billion people lack basic sanitation services and in Least Developed Countries only 27 per cent of the population has a handwashing facility with water and soap at home. Managing periods at home is a major challenge for women and adolescent girls who lack these basic facilities at home.
- About half of the schools in low-income countries lack adequate drinking water, sanitation and hygiene crucial for girls and female teachers to manage their period. Inadequate facilities can affect girls’ experience at school, causing them to miss school during their period. All schools should provide running water, safe and clean toilets for adolescent girls.
At what age do you think a girl should start menstruating? Drop your view………