Child Wellness: Talking to your daughter about beginning her menstrual cycle


Watertown, NY
By: Marcie Fraser
March 10, 2010

If you have a teenage girl, it’s inevitable, hormones and mood swings. It’s not always the easiest conversation for parents to have with their kids but it may be time to talk about your daughter’s menstrual cycle.

According to pediatrician Dr. Manny Cirenza, most girls begin their menstrual cycle between the age nine and 13. If it happens before the age of nine, a doctor should be consulted. Girls with low body fat may get it as late as age 16.

“First and foremost, the hormones surges can be really quite dramatic and can set a girl off and can set a girl in a significant negative mood, it can trigger migraines and it can trigger depression,” said Cirenza.

Hormones aside, teenagers’ moods can be affected just by the pressure of learning how to manage their monthly cycle.

“Other issues tied to having the menstrual period that is making them uncomfortable, nervous about having it, embarrassed, that can trigger a lot of emotionality, some depression, some negative feelings,” Cirenza said.

Parents should not only address hygiene, but help deciding which is the better choice, tampons or external pads?

“For the most part, the pads are going to work out the best and going to be the easiest to use. Obviously to a certain extent, I think everybody has a certain comfort level to what a person likes to use,” Cirenza said.

While most young girls do not choose to use tampons, some girls, usually athletes, do.

“I think it’s ok to use that if the adolescent is interested in or want to use but you are going to have to encourage them to be careful and how they use them and when to change that out so they don’t put themselves at risk for any significant vaginal infection,” Cirenza said.



Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.