Definition - What does Menarche mean?

Menarche is a woman’s first menstrual period. The onset of menstruation indicates the height of a young girl’s puberty, along with sexual maturation and onset of fertility.

FertilitySmarts explains Menarche

Menarche typically occurs when girls are between the age of 9 and 15 years old. For the first several years, menstrual bleeding may be inconsistent and irregular. Girls in their early teens are likely to have irregular menstrual cycles, resulting in irregular ovulation. By the age of 16 it is likely that a pattern of regular ovulation is established, resulting in regular periods. Until the menstrual pattern becomes consistent and predictable, ovulation is likely not occurring regularly. For 50% of girls ovulation begins by the 2nd year of menstruation.

The absence of menarche or other puberty developments may indicate the presence of certain conditions or health issues, including polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Significant social or psychological stressors may also contribute to a delayed onset of menstruation or ovulation. However, teenage girls over the age of 16 who have yet to experience menarche or still have irregular, inconsistent, or particularly painful periods should visit a doctor for evaluation.

For many cultures, menarche is associated with social and cultural significance. To recognize the event, some groups have celebrations, cleansing rituals, or gatherings.

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