First period: at what age do they arrive? How to manage their arrival?

The arrival of the first menstrual period is often seen as a major milestone in a young woman's life. It can raise a lot of questions in pre-teen children and this is normal, but it is not something to worry about.


What is the first period?

From puberty onwards, between the ages of 10 and 16, the cycle will start to move and thus cause the appearance of menstruation. The first menstrual flow generally occurs two years after the development of breasts and the appearance of hair. Puberty is a gradual process, you should not compare yourself to others, each body is different!

The 1st menstruation corresponds to the beginning of bleeding from the uterus. They last on average between 3 to 7 days, it depends on the woman.
And it happens on average every 28 days, for about 40 years, until the menopause. When your period comes, it means you are fertile and can get pregnant!

What is the average age of my first period?

There is no set age for all women to start menstruating. However, the figures say between 10 and 16 years, and the average is around 12 years. It can happen that it happens much earlier, as early as 8-9 years for some girls, and much later for others (up to 16 years). Each person goes at her own pace and there is no reason to worry. However, if by the age of 17, you still haven't had your period, you can consult your doctor to make sure that everything is fine.

There are a number of factors that can affect when your period arrives:

  • diet
  • physical activity
  • genetics
  • body mass
  • ethnicity
  • geographic location
  • certain medical conditions


Please note that there is also infant menstruation, also known as metrorrhagia. This is bleeding that occurs at birth, usually at the beginning of the secretion of sex hormones. These flows are weak and short, and are not the first period!

How can I tell if my first period is coming soon?

It is impossible to know the exact date when it will arrive. The arrival of the first period is often preceded by other changes such as breast development and hair growth. It takes about one year for the breasts to reach their final size. Menstruation usually starts two years after the development of the breasts. Hair growth appears on the legs, armpits, and pubic area.

Finally, another precursor of their arrival is the appearance of white vaginal discharge. Indeed, a few weeks or months before, it is possible to observe white traces at the bottom of your panties. They are also called leucorrhoea and are there to clean and lubricate the vagina.

Finally, pain in the lower abdomen a few days before can be a sign of their imminent arrival! If in doubt, you can wear menstrual panties as a preventive measure: they can also be used as regular underwear.

Which sanitary protection to choose for the first period?

There are many different types of sanitary protection, all with their own advantages and disadvantages.

  • External devices such as disposable pads, reusable pads, panty liners, or menstrual pants.
  • Internal devices such as tampons and the cup. These may be good if you swim or need/want to bathe, but they are more likely to cause toxic shock. In addition, as a teenager, you may be less comfortable with your body when using tampons or cups.


In general, disposable solutions contain many chemical substances that are harmful to health. It is important to choose protection that is respectful of your body and safe for your intimate area since it is very sensitive to external factors that can upset its balance.

Also, concerning the hygienic protection to choose for the first time, we can only advise you the menstrual panties. Choose them in certified organic cotton, respectful of your intimate area and very breathable. You can wear them up to 12 hours, depending on your menstrual flow.

How do I talk to someone about my first period?

Menstruation should not be a taboo subject. It is a natural phenomenon that occurs in all women, and it is normal to talk about it openly.

You can talk about it with your family or someone you trust, whether it's your sister, brother, father, mother, aunt, friends, or even the nurse at your high school.

In any case: feel free to talk about it, to women as well as to men. It's a topic that everyone is dealing with, up close and personal. And half the population has been through it!

How do you deal with the first period at school?

It can sometimes seem complicated to manage school and the beginning of menstruation: often, the first cycles are rather anarchic: you don't really know when they are going to arrive, and you want to avoid the blood stain on your pants or chair at all costs! In this case, you can keep in your bag a sanitary protection of your choice or wear a menstrual panty as a prevention.
If your period is coming and you don't have anything to protect yourself, don't hesitate to ask the nurse or a teacher to provide you with disposable protection. Again, bleeding is nothing to be ashamed of - it's normal.

We answer your frequently asked questions about first periods!

How long does my first period last?

The flow lasts on average from 3 to 7 days. This depends on the month, as several factors can affect their duration. As a general rule, the first two or three years of menstruation are rather irregular, whether in terms of their appearance, their duration or the flow.

When will my next period come?

Since the first few months/years following the arrival of your period are complicated to predict, we encourage you to download a cycle tracking application or to note the date of your period to predict the date of your next period. The female cycle lasts on average 28 days, and between 21 and 35 days (it can last more or less time depending on the person). If they are late or early the first months, it is normal, no worries: the body is not a clock, especially at the beginning while the cycle is regulating. On the other hand, if you have had a risky relationship and they take a long time to arrive, it is better to take a pregnancy test.

PMS, pre-menstrual syndrome, can also help you know when your period is coming since symptoms such as chest pain, stomach cramps, fatigue and irritability appear a few days before it arrives.

Is it normal to have pain?

The pain is often worse in the early teenage years, as the menstrual cycles get underway. Most often they are characterized by cramps in the lower abdomen, back, you can also have headaches, chest sensitivity and digestive problems.

It is common to feel discomfort during your period, but it should never prevent you from living your life normally, going to school or working.
If your pain is too severe, talk to your doctor to find out what's causing it.
Some natural remedies can help you to live better this period like infusions, a hot water bottle, regulate your stress or adapt your diet. You can also carry painkillers in your bag to relieve the symptoms.

Being in pain is not normal!

Does your period smell bad?

Blood has a metallic smell, but it's almost imperceptible. In fact, it is the use of sanitary products containing chemicals (disposable tampons and pads) or leaving them unchanged for a long time that will cause bad odors. If you use good sanitary solutions, which do not contain chemicals and let the intimate area breathe, with proper feminine hygiene, there will be no odor.

Can I still play sports?

Of course you can! Having your period does not mean you are sick, you can continue to live your life as you wish. On the contrary: sport has very good benefits, especially against menstrual cramps, since it provides endorphins and helps oxygenate the muscles.

Do I need to go to the doctor?

If you have just had your period, there is no need to consult a doctor. However, it is better to consult your doctor or make an appointment with a gynecologist if you have symptoms such as

  • particularly long and heavy periods (lasting more than 7 days for more than 3 months), taking a pill can regulate it
  • extreme pain, not relieved by anti-inflammatory drugs
  • if your cycles are not regular after 2 years
  • if you have bleeding between your periods
  • if you lose large blood clots
  • if you have pain in your lower abdomen and pelvic area that is not related to your measurements
  • if you have not had your menstrual bleeding for 6 consecutive months

Finally, don't hesitate to consult if you have any questions or need advice and want to ask a health professional.

Our community testifies about their first period

First period FAQs

How do you deal with a girl's first period?

A girl's first period can often be a source of stress, but with listening, the provision of sanitary pads, everything goes very well.

What is the youngest age for menstruation?

Some girls will start menstruating as early as 8-9 years old. It really depends on the individual and a lot of factors. You may have heard of an infant's period. This is not a real period, it is just a vaginal discharge following the establishment of the hormonal axis, one week after birth.

Is it normal to have a period at age 11?

There is no normal age to have your period, some girls can have it at 10, when others will have it at 16.

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