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What is menarche? Everything You Need to Know

What is menarche? Everything You Need to Know

18 August, 2022

Menarche is a medical term used to refer to the first menstrual period of a female adolescent. It is the result of interactions between the hypothalamic hormones, pituitary hormones, and ovarian hormones. It can also be affected by the thyroid, pancreatic, and adrenal hormones. Menarche signals the possibility of fertility and is associated with the development of secondary sexual characteristics.

Menarche doesn’t occur until all parts of a girl’s reproductive system have matured and are working together. It is abnormal for menarche to occur before the appearance of any secondary sexual development.

The first menstrual cycle of a young girl tends to be irregular and ovulatory. This means that there is no ovulation during this period. However, some girls can ovulate during their first period. Irregular menstruation is usually experienced by teenagers. It may take six years or more from the start of your first period for your periods to become regular.

It has been estimated that most girls will have ovulatory cycles within 5 years of menarche. Girls experience menarche at different ages, but the usual age is between 9-15 years.

In very rare cases, menarche can occur at an early age, either as a result of premature puberty or as a symptom of an endocrine disorder. If menarche does not occur 3 years after breast development or after 16 years of age, this delay is called primary amenorrhea.

Causes of Early Menarche-

Some social and environmental stress factors associated with early menarche may include-

  • Childhood obesity.
  • Being born at a low birth weight.
  • Lack of exercise in childhood.
  • Exposure to smoking.
  • Experiencing preeclampsia during pregnancy.
  • Absence of breastfeeding.
  • Stress.

What can delay menarche?

Certain diseases and ailments can delay menarche, these include-

  • Diabetes mellitus type 1.
  • Asthma.
  • Untreated celiac disease.
  • Cystic fibrosis.
  • Inflammatory diseases.

Late menarche is associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer, a decreased frequency of coronary artery disease, and a decreased incidence of teen pregnancy.

Symptoms of Menarche

  • Emotional or moody behavior for no apparent reason.
  • Bloating.
  • Brownish fluid and blood flow start this way which becomes redder and heavier during a period.
  • Abdominal cramps.

Diagnosis for Menarche

  • If your child has early or late menarche, diagnosis is available to determine the cause of the problem.
  • To diagnose early menarche, your doctor will ask some questions and run some tests to check the child’s hormones.
  • For late menarche, evaluation of the ovarian and pituitary hormones can help in making a diagnosis.
  • This can be done by a thorough history and a careful visual examination of the genitalia and a manual examination of the female reproductive organs.

When to see a doctor?

Schedule a medical checkup for your child-

  • Has not started menstruating within three years of breast growth or by the age of 15.
  • Breasts haven't started to grow by the age of 13.
  • Has periods that last more than seven days.
  • Has severe pain during periods.
  • Bleeds between periods.
  • Become sick or have a sudden fever after using a tampon.
  • Having menstrual periods of more than 21 days or less than 45 days.
  • Goes 3 months without a period after the start of menstruation.