Menarche, kesako?

Fleur rouge en éclosion sur fond noir

Menarche , a little-known medical term for a phenomenon that is universally feminine: the first period . It is a key stage of puberty , this transitional period between childhood and adolescence . In a young girl , having her period for the first time can arouse various emotions: worry, pride, indifference. For those close to them, especially the mother , who is often the point of reference for this type of question, it is not always easy to provide your teenager with all the explanations hoped for. Perdième helps you see more clearly in this overwhelming episode of the first menstruation , synonymous with the unknown but also with growth and self-discovery.

Menarche, or the time of the first period

Menarche is the scientific expression used to designate the first menstruation in a young woman. The appearance of the first periods is always a surprise for those mainly concerned. Even if they are prepared, nothing allows them to predict the exact moment of their occurrence. Generally painless, these very first menstrual bleedings materialize in brown discharge of varying abundance depending on the person. During subsequent cycles, periods are often irregular. They can also become painful: dysmenorrhea affects 50 to 70% of young girls permanently or occasionally. You have to wait on average two years from menarche for the menstrual cycle to take on a more regular rhythm and until the age of 18 for the frequency of dysmenorrhea to decrease.

Age at menarche: 12-13 years

The average age at which the first period occurs in the female population, called the age at menarche, is now between 12 and 13 years in developed countries. This figure has evolved throughout human history. In prehistoric times, it is estimated to be between 7 and 13 years old. It was established around the age of 14 in the classical and medieval periods. In the second half of the 18th century, he reached 16 years old. During the 20th century, it gradually decreased, eventually stabilizing around 13 years for several decades. This fluctuation over time is mainly explained by more or less favorable living conditions, and more particularly by the quantity and quality of food.

The first menstruation: an important event in a woman's life

From a biological point of view, menarche corresponds to a natural phenomenon in women: the attainment of sexual maturity through the acquisition of the capacity to reproduce. It is the beginning of the menstrual cycle, with the gradual establishment of its different phases. From menarche until menopause, the female body is able to accommodate a pregnancy if all the conditions are met for it to occur. A sign of normal development of the female body, menarche is a strong marker of the pubertal phase. It generally occurs two to two and a half years after breast development, the first visible sign of puberty.

More broadly, menarche is considered a significant moment, because it is associated with the highly symbolic transformation of the little girl into a woman. It is the rite of passage into adulthood, with this image of the young girl in bloom at the height of her vigor. “The first period constitutes a real moment of identity transition, that is to say an event which acts on the definition that they [young girls] have of themselves and think that we have of they. Whether their discovery was experienced as frightening, neutral or positive, the first period marks the end of childhood and contributes to the definition of their identity as a woman.

How to manage menarche?

Because of its exceptional and symbolic nature, menarche can be an intriguing or impressive milestone for an adolescent and those around her. It is therefore important to organize in advance and manage the event as best as possible when the time comes.

Anticipate menarche

As the parent of a little girl, consider broaching the subject of menstruation well before the average age of menarche. Explaining periods to your daughter before they occur is the best way to minimize her surprise and worry about this natural but somewhat confusing phenomenon. Take the time to answer their questions and if the task seems complicated to you personally, ask a trusted person to do it for you (aunt, big sister, etc.). Make sure to make him understand that this is neither dirty nor shameful. Finally, when she reaches an age close to menarche, advise her to take hygienic protection with her, in case the first bleeding starts outside the home.

Managing the first menstruation

Once your daughter announces the arrival of her first period, accompany her in this new experience:

  • If you feel worried, reassure her that the situation is normal;
  • Advise her on the first periodic protection to wear, depending on her morphology, personality and maturity, for example special menstrual underwear for teenagers , generally easier to use for young girls than intravaginal protection;
  • Inform her about the rules for using the chosen model (positioning, frequency of change, washing);
  • Give her a little useful gift, like our first period box which contains two menstrual panties, a pretty airtight pouch to carry her sanitary protection discreetly, a pretty varnish and a dry hot water bottle to fill to soothe any pain.

If you have noticed that your teenager has gone through menarche without saying a word to you, don't force things by pointing it out to her. Try to understand the reason, and if you think it's problematic, get her to open up to you with patience and tact.

Finally, if you are the type who wants to mark the occasion, do as in the United States, dare to have a period party !

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Written by cd