A girl's period, also known as menstruation, begins after she has
reached puberty. Puberty usually starts between age 8 and 13 in
girls, but it's also normal for some girls to start earlier or later
than that. On average, a girl's first period usually comes 2 to
2 1/2 years after the first sign of puberty (breast development
is usually the first sign of puberty, but sometimes pubic hair comes
first). However, some normal girls will get their first periods
less than a year or more than 3 years after the first sign of puberty.
Another clue you can use to figure out when you might get your
period is to check your underwear for vaginal discharge. This clear
or whitish, mucus-like discharge usually appears about 6 months
before the first period does.
If you're concerned about not having your period, ask your mom
how old she was when she got her first period. Girls who get their
first period later than average often find that their moms or other
female relatives may have gone through puberty later than average
What sets menstruation apart from other characteristics of puberty
like breast development is that no one can tell when it happens
to you. So no one will know you haven't started your period unless
you choose to share that information. Some girls may not get their
periods until they're in high school, and that's perfectly fine.
Just because you're 14 and you haven't gotten your period yet doesn't
necessarily mean that anything's wrong with you. Some girls, though,
may not be getting their first periods because of other reasons:
Girls who are underweight or who have eating disorders such as anorexia
nervosa may notice a delay in the beginning of their periods. Girls
who are very athletic may not get their periods until they stop
exercising or competing so vigorously. Severe stress or certain
illnesses can also delay menstruation.
It's also possible for a girl to get pregnant before she gets her
first period. Being pregnant means that a girl wouldn't get her
period until she's no longer pregnant.
If you have concerns about when you'll start your period or think
that a medical problem may be keeping you from menstruating, you
should talk to your doctor.