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What To Do When Your Daughter Gets Her Period Early Or Late?

Dr David NunnsDr David Nunns

All content within this page has been reviewed by

Dr David Nunns, Consultant Gynaecologist

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Early Or Late Puberty?

Supporting Your Daughter Through Early Or Late Puberty

While puberty is often an exciting time for a girl, it can be difficult to know what to do when your daughter gets her period early or late.

And what does ‘early’ or ‘late’ puberty actually mean – and if your daughter’s first period is late, how can you support her?

Young girl looking herself in the mirrorYoung girl looking herself in the mirror

Recognising early puberty

Puberty for girls typically starts between the ages of 9 and 13, with one of the first signs being the growth of breast buds. Her period will usually come about two years after this, between the ages of 11 and 15.

If your daughter has developed breast buds before the age of 8, and starts her period at the age of 9 or 10, she is experiencing early-onset puberty.

What causes early puberty?

Early-onset puberty is increasingly common. The reasons for it are not fully understood, but factors may include:

  • Genetics – if you, or her siblings, experienced early puberty, she may too.
  • Being overweight – evidence suggests that obesity could be a driving factor.

Should I be worried?

If the signs of puberty come early and your daughter starts her period at 9, this shouldn’t be cause for concern. However, if your daughter gets her period at age 7 or 8, you should consult a doctor, as she may have a condition called precocious puberty, which is a medical condition caused by an abnormality in the brain and the way it releases hormones.

How can I support her?

Starting puberty before everyone else can be tricky for a girl – and it can be hard to know what to do when your daughter gets her period early. The most important thing is to talk to her about these changes and help her understand that there is nothing ‘wrong’ with her.

  • Before your daughter starts her period, read the Always Changing & Growing Up Parents’ Guide so you can explain what’s happening to her body and reassure her that everything is normal.
  • Talk to her about periods well before they arrive. Watch Your Menstrual Cycle & Periods video together and remind her that you’re always here to answer any questions she may have.
  • Explain that going through puberty and periods early is a little like getting to a birthday party early. It can feel a little uncomfortable at first, but once everyone else has arrived, it’s actually pretty fun.
  • Encourage her to carry period products in her schoolbag so she’s prepared. Always Ultra pads are a great choice for when your daughter starts her period because they use special technology that turns liquid into gel – for up to 100% leakage protection, so she can stay protected and confident.
Three girls laughing while taking a selfieThree girls laughing while taking a selfie

Recognising late or delayed puberty

If your daughter hasn’t shown any signs of puberty by the ages of 13 or 14, and hasn’t started her period by age of 16, she is going through delayed puberty.

What causes early puberty?

  • A common cause of late puberty in girls is lack of body fat – which can be the result of involvement in extreme sports.
  • Delayed puberty sometimes can be a sign of an endocrine, or hormone, problem.

Should I be worried?

Generally speaking, there is nothing bad about starting puberty a bit later – each girl is on her own timeline. However, if your daughter hasn’t started her period by 16, encourage her to see the GP so you can work out a solution together.

How can I support her?

Emotionally, it may be difficult for your daughter to sit back and watch all of her friends developing before her. But remind her that we all end up in the same place – as strong, confident adults. How and when she gets there is part of the magic of being a unique individual.

Question: do you have heavy periods and want to feel more comfortable and protected? Your answer: Always Platinum period pads with wings! Reason: they are specifically designed to provide protection against heavy leaking. Method: enhanced core with more absorbent material combined with dual layer top sheet with micro-cushions. Effect: you feel comfortable and confident!

Take our Puberty & Period Myths Busted Quiz


Puberty & Period myths busted

Read the Always Changing & Growing Up Parents

Parent's Guide

Download our Always Changing & Growing Up Parents Guide for more advice on puberty and periods

Watch Your Menstrual Cycle & PeriodsWatch Your Menstrual Cycle & Periods

The menstrual cycle explained in 3 minutes - Watch the video