When Will I get My First Period?
Updated: Jan 16
Want to know when you'll get your first period? Read on.
While there's no way to know exactly when you'll get your first period, there are several signs that are your body's way of giving you a head's up that you're about to begin menstruation.
Please note: When discussing ages and time frames in relation to menarche (the first period), it's important to remember that these are all generalizations. There's a statistical average, but there is no “right” or “wrong” process or timeline for getting your first period. Your body is unique, and will act according to its own needs and in its own time.
As you begin to mature, it may be helpful to write down on your calendar or in your journal when the following signs first show up, so you can better track your development.
What Age Will I Get My Period? What Are The Physical Signs For My Period?
Most girls will experience menarche between ages 8-14, but yours may be earlier or later. In most cases, a girl's body begins changing, often rapidly, in the months leading up to her first period. Between 3 and 12 months before a girl's first period, she'll begin to see minor breast development, as well as pubic and underarm hair growth. This is the body beginning to go through puberty, or the transformation from girl to woman.
Most girls will gain the majority of their adult height before getting their first period. Often – but not always – a girl will experience a series of growth spurts leading up to her first period. After she stops growing for a few months, she'll likely get her period. This rapid growth is also part of puberty, just like hair growth and breast development.
This is often harder to keep track of, but many girls will find themselves experiencing more dramatic mood swings in the days and even hours leading up to menarche. This is because the body releases a burst of hormones (which can affect emotions as well as the appearance of hair and skin) to signal the ovary to release its first egg. Once the egg has been released, the girl's emotional state should become more steady. The egg will then exit the body through the cervix and vagina, creating the period.
When is menarche considered “late”?
If by the age of 15 or 16 a girl has not gotten her first period, especially if she hasn't seen any signs of puberty (growth spurts, pubic and underarm hair, breast development), she may want to visit her doctor. While late menarche shouldn't be cause for anxiety (as we said, everybody is unique), it's important to rule out the possibility of a serious, underlying problem. Delayed menarche can be due to a reproductive disorder, certain systemic diseases, or malnutrition.
The important thing to remember is not to worry about when your first period will happen. It's easy to feel isolated and scared when you're anticipating that day, but every female-born woman has gone through this. All of the girls in your class either have or will experience the same thing, so you are not alone or unusual. Pay attention to your body as it goes through the changes of puberty, and you'll be fine.