Most girls get their first period anytime between the ages of 11 and 14 but some girls get theirs as young as 9 and others as late as 16. Your first period is so special it has its own name, it's called Menarche (rhymes with anarchy) and it's the beginning of your menstrual cycle that will be with you most of your life. Waiting for your first period can be a stressful time for some girls – it helps to be prepared with all the relevant facts.
But what happens if you are 16 and you still haven't got your period?
Some girls get their menstrual cycle later in life. In fact it happens so often, to so many girls around the world, that it also gets a special name, Primary Amenorrhoea. It's a big fancy name for the fact that your body hasn't started its menstrual cycle but lots of your friends probably have. It's not a big deal, and many of your friends might even be jealous that you don't need to worry about PMS or having tampons with you 24/7 – not that they are likely to admit it! There are lots of different factors that can cause young women to start to menstruate later in life – we have the info so check it all out below.
What causes your menstrual cycle to develop late
Your chromosomes are tiny, tiny parts of the building blocks of your body (DNA). They tell your body how to develop, how big to grow, what colour hair to have as well as heaps more. Sometimes a lil thing goes wrong with your chromosomes and that can mess up your body in a mean way. An example of this could be making your menstrual cycle appear later in your life than normal.
Heaps of things can mess with your hormones; like eating habits, too much or too little exercise or lots of stresses. In very few cases there may have been some problems you have had your whole life but only start appearing now – so if you are really worried about not getting your period, its best to chat with mum, your doctor or a close friend.
What can I do
Now, there are not a lot of things you can do yourself to have your period get a wriggle on, it will come in its own good time. But if you are super worried then make an appointment to go see your GP.
Before the visit get prepared for the doc by making a list of all your worries (just about your period – they can't really help with exams, boys or friendship issues!) and let them know the names of any meds you are taking. The doc might ask you some ‘OMG I can't answer that without blushing' type questions but remember they deal with this stuff all day so going red is all good. Although having your menstrual cycle start late is no big deal, the doctors like to check out everything. If they want to do tests then rest assured it's just so they can get to the bottom of things.
If you want to do everything you can to ensure that your period comes right on time we recommend leading a healthy lifestyle – you know eating well, exercising, chilling out and not letting all the stress in the world get to you. Finally, if you wanna feel better chat to some of the women in your family about it and see if this happened to them when they were younger. Chromosomes get passed down from your mum and your dad – so chances are if your period is a bit delayed mum and grandma have faced the same thing.
The advice provided in this material is general in nature and is not intended as medical advice. If you need medical advice, please consult your health care professional.