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Girls’ periods starting earlier and more irregular: Study | RACGP

Scientists found the mean age at menarche decreased from 12.5 years in 1950–69 to 11.9 years in 2000–05.

A/Prof Magdalena Simonis AM was invited to comment on the Girls’ periods starting earlier and more irregular: Study by newsGP and was interviewed live on ABC Drive time.

Key Points

‘A significant proportion of students are getting their first period as early as year 3 or even year 2, but primary school students are not officially taught about puberty until years 5 and 6 which suggests that talking about periods and pubertal changes earlier in primary school is warranted,’


In the study

  • Half of respondents said they had skipped school for at least an entire day because of their period,
  • When students do attend school through their period, 74% said they often find it difficult to pay attention.
  • Periods and menstruation remains a taboo subject for many, especially young girls,
  • With 37% of women talking about their periods only if they have concerns.
  • Women are calling for their doctors to take a more active approach in their period management.
  • 44% saying they would like healthcare professionals to proactively discuss this in consultations.


M Simonis Comments

  1. We need better, earlier education around menstruation and to remove the stigma associated with menstruation.
  2. ‘It is a normal phase of maturation, and increasing awareness and removing the stigma may reduce the incidence of shame around this, and the mental health issues that can develop from feelings of embarrassment from early school days can be avoided.’
  3. Calling for Australia to bolster its education offerings about periods, with many children not taught about menstruation and puberty until late primary school.


Read the newsGP article >>


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