Puberty

Boobs, Butt, Pubes, BO and the beginning of your period. Welcome! Puberty can be a bit of a scary and confusing time. Everything is changing. Our changing hormones act like puppeteers and our body follows along. If you ever think you’re alone, don’t worry you’re not. If you’re going through changes at different times to your friends, don’t worry that’s normal. We’re going to go over, what you can expect, what’s normal and how you can learn to listen to your new superpower, your period. 

Periods- Puberty

When should I Get my first period?

Everyone get’s there first period at different times, this is based on what your mum, her sisters and your grandmother generally experienced. Other things like the body fat, also contribute to your brain releasing period stimulating hormones. Generally you will get your first period 2 years after your breasts start to bud and your pubic hair develops. (around 12-14 years old, however as young as 9 and as old as 16). 

If you are very skinny and super active, you can expect to get your period later than your friends. If you haven’t gotten your period before 16 years old, you need to look into why this might be the case, usually from over exercising and under eating. 

If you’re noticing changes in breast tenderness, moods and bloating but no period, this can mean that your period is close, or that your vaginal opening isn’t open enough (hence no blood can come out). This is rare but a doctor can help you with this. 

How do i know when my first period is coming?

You can often feel like there are butterflies on your lower stomach, like around the area of your bladder. You may also notice bloating, breast tenderness and soreness, more BO than usual, some spotting in the weeks before hand and sometimes pain. It’s always a good idea to have a go bag with pads, tampons a change of undies and a spare school dress in your bag just incase. 

What else can i Expect to change?

Your body typically follows a timeline ones changes start to happen. Things like severe stress and anxiety can play around with your hormones and this timeline, but effectively you can expect these changes to occur like ‘wonky’ clock work. 

Around 6 years old
Growth Spurt
This is called Adrenarche. It basically means that your stress glands (adrenals) start working more to produce hormones to help you grow!
Around 6 years old
3-4 years later
Breast Budding
Your body now enters Gonadarche, which basically means that now your breast start to get some fatty tissue behind them and more hormones are starting to kick in
3-4 years later
Not long after
Pubic Hair
You'll notice armpit hair and also hair over your pubic area. You will also start to notice you'll need to start wearing deodorant now. The sweat, mixed with hormones make the bacteria on your skin smell.
Not long after
1.5 years after
Bone growth starts to slow
Once your growth spurt starts to slow down your growth plates begin to start to close over. This is thought to be a big signal to the hormone centre of your brain that it's time for your first period.
1.5 years after
2 years after Breast Budding
First Period
Welcome! Your first period has arrived, this is good news! It's a result of your body working behind the scenes for many years, and guess what?! It's a sign that things are working how they should. Sure it can suck sometimes, but when we understand how to help our periods instead of silencing them, we help our whole health.
2 years after Breast Budding

What is a normal period?

In the beginning when our periods are just starting out, they can often be irregular and longer in duration. They can be heavy, light, painful and painless. Moral of the story, they can be all over the place, and it’s nothing to be concerned about. 

After around 2-4 years, your periods should have normalised, this is because the connection between the hormone centre in your brain and your ovaries are basically best friends now. They can be a bit temperamental in the beginning so they need some time to figure each other out and develop a deep connection 😉

A normal period looks something like this;

  • Lasts between 21-35 days
  • Bleed is from 3-7 days
  • Blood is a cherry red colour
  • There should be minimal pain (noticing that there is more activity going on down there is normal, but debilitating pain is a sign that your hormones are out, or you have elevated inflammation)
  • Minimal clots (if you do have some, they shouldn’t be any larger than a 10 cent piece)
  • Similar colour throughout, if you notice they are black or dark brown, this is old blood and tells us you’re not ovulating regularly. 

Is it going to be painful?

While it is common for your period to be painful, it isn’t normal. 

In the beginning when our hormones are trying to find their balance, things can be a bit more painful due to higher amounts of oestrogen and inflammatory chemicals called prostaglandins. Overtime though this should subside.

If your periods remain painful, looking into why is the best option. Common causes can be stress, endometriosis (particularly if you have a family history) and poor liver function. 

Should I go on Contraception to fix my period issues?

Your period is your superpower. It’s like an added vital sign that is always whispering and granted sometimes shouting at us that something may be off. 

Going on contraception to fix your period issues, contrary to popular believe doesn’t actually fix your period issues, it just puts a mask over them by artificially changing your hormones. This may be fine in the short term, but the longer your natural hormones are out of whack, it can become harder to regulate them when you want to get to the bottom of things. 

Every one needs to chose the best option for them, and sometimes you just need to be out of debilitating pain and discomfort. Remember when your periods go back to ‘normal’ on hormonal contraption this is artificial, a great thing to do is to change your lifestyle and focus on liver, gut and stress health to get to the bottom of your hormonal imbalances. 

What hormonal Contraception should I go on?

Talking to your GP is the best place to go for advice with medication. Remembering that everyone is different, and even know one of your friends may be using one form, it may not work best for you. We have a much more detailed breakdown of contraception here

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Reality TV Star

Khloe Kardashian

“I just think that knowing about your body at any age, whether it’s educating yourself on fertility, getting mammograms, going through puberty – whatever it may be, is really important. I just really encourage women empowerment and being comfortable talking about these issues.” 

References

Fritz, M. and Speroff, L., 2010. Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology And Infertility. 8th ed. Lipponcott Wilkins & Williams.