Vaginal discharge is a normal sign that a first period (menarche) is approaching. The first period often follows 6 months to a year after discharge appears.
So, if most people have their first period at 11-12, then you can expect discharge before first period at around age 10.
However, discharge can happen earlier than that due to things like infections, poor hygiene, object in the vagina, etc.
Keep on reading for more details about, “What age does discharge start?”
An Introduction to, “What Age Does Discharge Start?”
As puberty approaches, girls will start to develop some first period signs. These include the following:
- Breast buds begin to develop around two years before periods start. Breasts will develop even more once menstruation has started
- Pubic hair and underarm hair begin to grow. Most people find that their period begin 1-2 years after this
- Growth spurt—most girls go through one before their first period
- Vaginal discharge starts. It’s usually white-yellow and is a sure sign that a first period is on its way. Not everyone experiences this one however.
Discharge: 1-2 Years Before your First Period
White, clear, or yellow discharge a year or two before a first period is quite normal. It’s also nothing to worry about and does not require treatment. It’s often your vagina’s way of cleaning itself out and it healthy.
It happens to most girls. And, it usually won’t happen every day, but just some days, or part of the month.
The average age of first menstruation is 11-12, so discharge could happen as early as 9 or 10 years old. Once you see some blood mixed in, you’ve just started your first period. Congratulations!
When is Discharge Not Normal?
However, itching, burning, irritation, strangely coloured, or smelly/fishy discharge is not normal and requires a visit to the doctor. If you feel nervous about this, don’t worry! Family doctors see this kind of thing every single day as it is very normal.
Just let your parents know that you need them to schedule a visit to the doctor for you. Or, talk to another trusted adult about this.
Signs that your First Period is Coming
How to Deal with Discharge
As long as discharge is not accompanied by pain, burning, or a bad smell, it’s usually not a big deal if it’s clear or white. Most people deal with it at home. However, if it’s a bit out of the ordinary, a quick trip to the doctor is recommended.
There are a few different options to deal with vaginal discharge. If it’s very light and infrequent, most people just wear normal underwear and it’s not a big deal. You can just change our your underwear when you get home if you’re uncomfortable.
However, if you want to use some sort of protection, most people use pantyliners. In general, we recommend organic Panty Liners, or reusable cloth ones in order to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals. The reusable ones are a bit better for the environment, and can save you a ton of money over the medium to long-term.
You can check out our top recommendation here:
My Very Young Daughter Has Some Discharge
Okay, so your daughter is younger than 10, and not approaching puberty. But, she still has vaginal discharge. What are the possible causes?
According to this article, some possible reasons include:
- Infection from bacteria in the stool, particularly around the time of toilet training when hygiene is not great
- Vaginal infection from yeast, particularly if they’re been taking antibiotics
- Infection because of pinworms
- There’s an object that’s been inserted into the vagina
- And rarely, it’s a sign of sexual abuse
But, please note that it may also just be normal discharge that can happen as a girl approaches her first period. It’s not uncommon for a 10 year old to begin menstruating, so she may begin having some discharge as young as 8 or 9.
More Information about Vaginal Discharge
If you’re looking for more information about discharge, including what it means, as well as the various colours, and how the menstrual cycle impacts discharge, then you’ll need to check this out:
If you have discharge every day, it may be normal, it may not be. You can learn more about this problem here: I Have Vaginal Discharge Every Day!
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