For parents of children approaching puberty, there is no textbook – or really any guidance, for that matter – on how to approach conversations around menstruation. These talks can sometimes be fraught with discomfort or may be avoided altogether, leaving young people to navigate the uncertainties and complexities about their periods with little help or support.

Even schools and pediatricians often fail to adequately address menstrual health education, writes Marni Sommer, a sociomedical researcher who has been studying young people’s experiences related to menstruation for nearly 20 years. Yet menstrual health is a critically important part of a person’s overall health, she notes. And for young people of reproductive age, understanding the complexities of menstruation has taken on new urgency in the post-Roe world.

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Amanda Mascarelli

Senior Health and Medicine Editor

Many young people receive limited guidance about what to expect as they near menstruation. SolStock/E+ via Getty Images

The US lacks adequate education around puberty and menstruation for young people – an expert on menstrual health explains

Marni Sommer, Columbia University

Research shows that many girls are in elementary school when they have their first period. But often they have not received adequate health education.

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