Menstruation at Different Life Stages: Teenagehood to Perimenopause

Menstruation at Different Life Stages: Teenagehood to Perimenopause

Pre-pubescent girls often experience a lot of anticipation. I remember the many questions: What will my period be like? When did you get yours? Does it hurt? I recall the passing of pads beneath bathroom stalls and the jokes we played at school to see how uncomfortable we could make our teachers—as if they had never seen a tampon before.

'Getting your period’ isn’t something you can just tick off the list.

You’ll need to learn to manage any symptoms or conditions you may have, understand your cycle and when your period will arrive, what it may mean if you suddenly lose it, and eventually navigate perimenopause.

Your period will follow you throughout most of your life, so it’s important to understand how it evolves as you age and move through different life stages. Keep reading to learn more!

Navigating Your First Period

Getting your period for the first time can be both exciting and a little daunting. Most girls get theirs around the age of 12, but they can start as early as 8. Girls in intensive sports or underweight may find theirs are delayed. 

This new chapter is challenging as you cope with common symptoms like cramps, sore breasts, and mood changes and learn the implications of having a period. It takes time for your body to develop a regular cycle length, and the first few periods are usually relatively light.

Throughout the first two summers after starting my period, it stopped. In my case, I wasn’t at school over the summer, so I would eat, sleep, and exercise differently, which may have affected my period. My period-free summers didn’t last long, and my body soon developed a strong cycle and now works like clockwork.

Fertility and Menstrual Health in Young Adulthood

By now, you may have found your preferred period product and tried and tested various ways to ease period pain, such as lifestyle changes, heated belts, herbal teas, and gentle movement. 

You will also start seeing a gynecologist to keep check on your health and need to undergo checks, such as the pap test for cervical cancer. Your period is likely to have developed a regular cycle length, and you probably can predict the day you’ll start bleeding. 

When we reach our 30s, many women feel hyper-aware of their fertility and are concerned about their “biological clock.” Female fertility does begin to decrease from the age of 32; however, at 59, Dawn Brooke naturally conceived and gave birth, setting the record as the oldest woman to give birth without fertility treatment (this is incredibly rare!).

What factors affect your regular period?

  • Contraception will often affect the regularity and/or intensity of your period. For example, you can suppress or regulate a period using oral contraceptives or a hormonal IUD.
  • Chronic stress can negatively impact your period, making it more erratic or absent 
  • Pregnancy can delay your period by an average of six to 12 weeks postpartum. Your period may be further delayed if you exclusively breastfeed.

Periods After 40

Hot flushes, brain fog, and a lower sex drive. We all dread it, but what actually is perimenopause? 

Perimenopause is a natural, transitional phase in the lead up to menopause. As estrogen levels drop, you will notice a change in the normal pattern of your periods.

One typical symptom is heavy bleeding and affects 78% of women aged 42-52, with over 90% of them experiencing long periods of minimum 10 days. You may eventually notice bigger gaps between your periods. After 12 months without it, you’ve reached menopause. On average, American women are 51 when they experience menopause.

Changes in your hormones at menopause mean you are no longer fertile and are very unlikely to fall pregnant naturally.

Induced menopause refers to undergoing surgery to remove your ovaries or uterus or treatments such as chemotherapy that end your period.

Until menopause, your regular period is your body’s way of indicating that you’re healthy.

At MY OBI, we’re proud to help you navigate womanhood. You can rely on our belts to get you through the most painful days of your cycle.

Let’s continue to break the period taboo, talk to others about them, and educate our sons, brothers, and friends so that we feel better supported and can manage our cycles more easily!

If you’re ever concerned about your period, symptoms, or how your body is changing as you age, please consult a doctor.


Article written by Georgia Burton
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