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Puberty & development

If you have not yet started your period or menstruation cycle, but several of your friends have and you are beginning to feel anxious, we are here to ease your concerns. The truth is, most young girls start their first period between ages 10–14; however, it can happen as early as nine or as late as 16. If you are older than 16 and still have not begun your menstruation cycle, we recommend contacting your Novant Health pediatrician.

Female reproductive system

The menstruation cycle is the process a woman’s body goes through in order to prepare for pregnancy. There are two ovaries in a woman’s body containing millions of tiny eggs. Once a young girl’s body reaches puberty, her ovaries begin releasing an egg each month. It flows down the fallopian tube and attaches to the tissue of the uterus wall. This process is called ovulation. The egg waits 24 hours to be united with sperm for the purpose of creating a baby.

When sperm successfully unites with a woman’s egg, the process of fertilization has occurred. If fertilization does not happen, the egg dissolves and the uterus discharges the tissue and blood that is no longer necessary to support a pregnancy. The blood flows out of the vagina for the next few days, which is the process of menstruation. The cycle of menstruation repeats each month.