Puberty & Menstruation
Adolescent Medical Care at Mary Washington Healthcare
Also known as adolescence, the teenage years are a time of change and growth
in every individual’s life. Height changes, weight changes, puberty—your
teen is poised to undergo a great deal of change during the next few years.
While change occurs at differing rates for every individual, it is important
to be aware of the overall changes to expect.
Open communication with your child is essential in creating an environment
where your child feels safe to come to you with questions and concerns.
Gynecological issues that may arise during puberty can cause lasting damage.
Open communication with your child ensures that they will come to you
with any irregularities or concerns. At Mary Washington Healthcare, we
are committed to excellence in care for every stage of life. Ask your
doctor if you have any questions about adolescent health and wellness.
An Overview of the Menstrual Cycle
During the transition from childhood to maturity known as “puberty,”
a young woman’s body will begin to ovulate—meaning a mature
egg cell or “ovum” is released from one of the ovaries, ready
to be fertilized by a sperm cell. Pregnancy occurs when an egg is fertilized
by a sperm cell and attaches to the lining of the uterus or the “endometrium”
awaiting development of the placenta. If the egg is not fertilized, the
endometrium will shed, passing through the vagina. This is known as menstruation.
This cycle occurs approximately every 28 days, with ovulation occurring—on
average—on day 14 of the menstruation cycle. Most women experience
their first menstrual period between age 12 and age 14.
Gynecological Problems During Puberty
Parents should be proactive in telling their adolescent children about
the changes that will affect their bodies during puberty. Parents should
also be aware of the gynecological problems that can arise during puberty.
Early detection and treatment is key.
Some things to discuss with your daughter include the following:
- Vaginal bleeding / discharge is normal, but if you notice any aberrations
or irregularities, it is a good idea to talk to the doctor
- Sometimes, slight infections can cause itchiness or strange discharge;
if treated early these injections can be managed quickly, but if left
untreated they can lead to serious repercussions including infertility
- In some cases, vaginal symptoms are symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Encourage your daughter to be aware of the following signs, and consult
a your doctor if they appear:
- Bleeding / spotting between periods
- Frequent urination
- Itchiness, redness, soreness, swelling, pain, or burning around the genitals
- Burning during urination
- Irregular vaginal bleeding, including during / after sex
- Non-menstrual cramp pelvic pain / pressure
- Abnormally increased vaginal discharges
- Pain / discomfort during sex
- Unusual colors or odors of vaginal discharge
- Lumps / sores around the genitals
Schedule an appointment with your doctor at Mary Washington Healthcare
in Virginia if you have questions or concerns.