Are gymnasts always late bloomers?

Girls worry that playing sports will delay puberty and their first periods. In general, playing sports is great for a girl's health so don't let this fear stop you.

But one of our readers wanted to know specifically about gymnastics. Here's her question:

My gymnastics coach said that gymnasts usually have very very irregular or late periods. Even though I work out 4 hours 3 days a week is that considered extreme cases of olympic workout? Could it be true what she said? Ps She said since they have less body fat:/ plz answer this jemma or someone who really knows what they're talking about!!!!!!!!!!

There's nothing about doing gymnastics that will automatically make a girl's period come late or make it irregular. Here are some reasons why your coach may have said that:

1) Gymnastics is a sport where it can be helpful to be smaller, so it might seem like girls who are gymnasts are also late bloomers. But they may have been late bloomers even if they didn't do gymnastics. Remember that puberty can start as early as age 8 and as late as 14. (First periods usually come about two years after a girl starts developing breasts.)

2) Having excess body fat (being overweight) can be a factor that makes a girl's first period come earlier. Girls who compete in gymnastics are unlikely to have excess body fat.

3) Some girls who compete in gymnastics (and other sports) can get a combination of health problems called female athlete triad. The three problems are: They stop getting their periods, they have "disordered eating," and they have weak bones.

An eating disorder can take different forms. A person might eat too little or eat too much. When your body doesn't get the nutrition and energy it needs, you won't grow properly and your body might not work like it should.

Learn more about Female Athlete Triad and ask your parent or doctor if you have more questions about gymnastics and your health.

Any gymnasts out there? What do you think about this issue?

Think pink!
Jemma

81 Comments:

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Anonymous fluffybunnysocks said...

I think I'll get my period sometime next year... at least thats what im hopeing

December 7, 2011 at 3:23 PM  
Anonymous peachie58 said...

i already got my period so let me tip u on it......
-pads are NOT for the pool
-you will have irregular ones for the first few years so don't worry
-make sure that you have a TON of pads in your backpack (the flow will come easy, then it will just pour and pour)

December 7, 2011 at 6:35 PM  
Anonymous fluffybunnysocks said...

Thanks :) I'll be sure to do that

December 8, 2011 at 10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anna said...

I got my period and I'm scared to use a tampon!

December 8, 2011 at 7:28 PM  
Anonymous monkeyrose said...

Dont worry Anna. Its not gonna get stuck or anything. theres a string so you can pull it out.

December 9, 2011 at 8:49 AM  
Anonymous Unknown said...

Anna you don't have to use a tampon. The period depends on the girl and the girl can have a light or heavy flow. Heavy flows require tampons and at times, pads too. Also in the pool even if you have a light flow you must wear a tampon

December 12, 2011 at 6:10 PM  
Anonymous redheaded riley said...

anna its not tht bad and u only need it when u go swimming. ladies get periods because men are to wimpy to handle stuff like tampons :-)

December 12, 2011 at 11:47 PM  
Anonymous notsure nancy said...

Is it bad to be in eighth grade, and like 4 months away from beng 14??!! Almost every girl in my grade has it except for a few....i mean i am one of the thinnest girls, but im definitely healthy, my doc said i was...and if i get doscharge, everyone says that its usually 6 monts away from your fiest period, but my mom said u can get it a couple weeks after u start gettng discharge and thts wht happened to her!! Please help

December 13, 2011 at 9:54 PM  
Anonymous Where Where Where??? said...

I am not sure where to ask a question...Could you guys please tell me?

December 14, 2011 at 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does it mean ur gonna get ur period soon when u start getting really bad discharge or does it just come in spurts!! I've had discharge 4 a while but lately it has been worse, what should I do?? DOES IT MENA IM GONNA GET MY PERIOD?? And, is discharge worse that ur period, cuz it is already a pain!!

December 14, 2011 at 9:15 PM  
Anonymous Jemma said...

@Where Where Where? You can ask a question by clicking on the Ask tab on the above left. Here's the link: http://www.pinklockersociety.org/ask/index.html
Think pink!
Jemma

December 15, 2011 at 12:19 AM  
Anonymous Jennie said...

I'm a gymnast but I got my period in 5th Grade. Now I'm in 7th so how did mine start scince gymnast are supposed to start a tad late???:(

December 15, 2011 at 5:28 PM  
Anonymous Fairythunder said...

I'm sorry to be...unhelpful...but I just thought of the most amazing thing ever. I'm calling it the Period-ic Table of Elements. I can explain it but I don't know where...?

December 16, 2011 at 6:53 PM  
Anonymous cantwait4myperiod said...

i have been having discharge 4 like 4 months but my doc said im getting my period in 2 years... does that mean hes wrong????

December 18, 2011 at 7:01 PM  
Anonymous t-swizzle said...

hey i dance 8 hours a week and people say intense athletes get their periods later. i am quickly "developing" it really just depends on u and when ur mom got hers. prety much genetics. good luck jemma

December 19, 2011 at 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My momGave me padded bra's. Are they training bra's or real bra's.

December 26, 2011 at 10:33 AM  
Anonymous Ashley said...

hey t-swizzle,
what kind of dance?

December 26, 2011 at 1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do basketball, soccer, and volleyball, not gymnastics, but I think they're close enough. I started my period at a healthy age and, along with all the other athletes(some gymnasts) at my school, bloomed just at the right time.

December 27, 2011 at 2:03 AM  
Anonymous SuperCuriosity said...

cantwait4myperiod... I have kinda the same question. does anybody know how long ur supposed to have discharge before ur period?

December 27, 2011 at 1:31 PM  
Anonymous SuperCuriosity said...

fairythunder, i think you could explain the period-ic table by clicking on the "ask the pls" button. some girls send in comments and stuff instead of questions. im really curious to know what it is...

December 27, 2011 at 1:34 PM  
Anonymous t-swizzle said...

i do jazz, tap, jazz lyrical, ballet, and musical theater/jazz. thx 4 asking ashley r u dancer 2?

December 27, 2011 at 2:53 PM  
Anonymous Kelsey said...

I do Gymnastics too, and I was wondering the same thing, I'm 12 years old and was wondering when I'll get mine. I was reading articles and a lot of them mentioned that it happened later because they were athletic. Is it necessarily true? I don't quite understand.

December 27, 2011 at 6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey there,
I am gymnast too. I started doing gymnastics about six months after I had my first period (I had my 1st period when i was like 10). My 1st and 2nd year of period were pretty irregular, and maybe it has something to do with gymnastics. But I am in my mid-teens now and my periods are usually pretty on time. Keep doing gymnastics, coz it's a mega-fun sport, and don't worry about having late periods, sometimes it just happens for no reason!

December 28, 2011 at 10:23 AM  
Anonymous SuperCuriosity said...

Can someone answer my question????

December 28, 2011 at 12:02 PM  
Anonymous the anonymous who asked about bra's said...

Can somone answer my question PLEASE?!

December 28, 2011 at 6:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am getting glasses in a few days and i don't know what my friends will think! Will they make fun of me behind my back? Please help me Jemma or somebody!

December 29, 2011 at 1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

can someone answer my question PLEASE!!!!!!!?

December 30, 2011 at 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Ashley said...

Hey
It'll be ok I got glasses a year ago
Nobody laughed at me
Pick out a pair u like
If u want 2 u can pick a pair that isn't 2 noticeable
Mine only have half a rim so they aren't 2 noticable
After you've had them 4 awhile u can ask you're mom if u can get contacts

December 30, 2011 at 3:27 PM  
Anonymous Ashley said...

Ya
I do ballet tap and jazz
I was in the nutcracker it was so much fun!

December 30, 2011 at 3:29 PM  
Blogger Jemma said...

@Anonymous, what's your question?
Think pink!
Jemma

December 30, 2011 at 5:23 PM  
Anonymous t-swizzle said...

thats awesome ashley i <3 the nutcracker its my favourite

December 31, 2011 at 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Kelsey ;) said...

@ Jemma, her question was...
"Does it mean ur gonna get ur period soon when u start getting really bad discharge or does it just come in spurts!! I've had discharge 4 a while but lately it has been worse, what should I do?? DOES IT MENA IM GONNA GET MY PERIOD?? And, is discharge worse that ur period, cuz it is already a pain!!"

So anonymous, you can never really tell when you'll get your period, sometimes you'll have signs, like cramps, feeling moody, etc. Most girls start their periods about 2 years after their breasts have started developing, and I'd say about, 1 and a half, or 2 years after they've had discharge. Having a lot or a little bit of discharge all of a sudden doesn't really change the fact. If you've had discharge for a while, then you might get your period soon. Hope I helped!
Kelsey ;)

December 31, 2011 at 1:53 PM  
Anonymous Becca :) said...

Hello :) I have had a tiny drop of blood when I go to the toilet but only every 3rd week. I am worried my period has started but I don't know it. I have been wearing pads but i have a pool party tomorrow and I am really scared my period has started and I will need a tampon. Please help anyone? Becca :)

January 1, 2012 at 11:14 AM  
Anonymous Isabelle said...

Ok, that is not true. I am on a high school gymnastics team even though I am in seventh grade and i already have my period. We work out every day for four hours and if I have mine than that is not true, since my workout is more intense than yours.

January 1, 2012 at 5:24 PM  
Anonymous Warrior Fireheart said...

I am taking a martial arts class and I got my period early and it was fine. Don't worry, it will be okay.As they say in the warriors books, "may starclan light your path young warrior" :).

January 1, 2012 at 8:08 PM  
Anonymous t-swizzle said...

@Becca:) i dunno bout that one talk to your mom or doctor about that one good luck

January 1, 2012 at 11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@t-swizzle: Thank You Very very much. I spoke to my Mom and she said she wasnt sure. My Doctor said it wasn't my period but then the nurse said it was. Any advice on whether it is my period or not? Becca :)

January 3, 2012 at 10:38 AM  
Anonymous johnlover123 said...

@becca:), there is this thing called "tampon training camp" on beinggirl.com and there is a video that shows you how to properly use a tampon (they use a pool floaty as a replacement for a vagina) and it really made me feel better about tampons.

January 3, 2012 at 7:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll check it out! Thanks johnlover123!

January 4, 2012 at 9:46 PM  
Anonymous Becca said...

@Johnlover123: The above comment was not me :) Anyway Thank You SOOO much!! I watched the video an it made me so comfortable. Tampons are so easy to use and I realize nothing to worry about. Thank You Again Becca :)

January 5, 2012 at 3:05 PM  
Anonymous johnlover123 said...

you are sooo welcome ;) i love helping people!!!

January 5, 2012 at 10:37 PM  
Anonymous johnlover123 said...

cantwait4myperiod and SuperCuriosity... i looked it up and you are supposed to have discharge for about 6 months before your period, although it could be sooner or longer. hope this helps!

January 5, 2012 at 10:41 PM  
Anonymous SuperCuriosity said...

thanks johnlover123. it really helped.

January 6, 2012 at 10:22 AM  
Anonymous PubertyHELP! said...

Ive had discharge for 4 years :/ Scared!!

January 6, 2012 at 5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's ok PubertyHELP! Just remember your not alone! Even if your the only one in your group (friends/class etc.) Just remember some of the girls on this website (Like me and tons of others) are going threw the same thing! Hope this helps :)

January 6, 2012 at 9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey girls, I still don't understand how to make up a name on here instead of choosing anonymous. Can someone please help?

January 6, 2012 at 9:47 PM  
Blogger Jemma said...

@Anonymous, click on the down arrow and pick Name/URL. Then you have a blank space to write in a name, though most people just use a fake name or first name. No last names please.
Think pink!
Jemma

January 6, 2012 at 10:20 PM  
Anonymous PUBERTYhelp?! said...

Thanks Anonymous9:41: Oh! Ive got discharge with bits of blood.. period?xx

January 7, 2012 at 5:18 PM  
Anonymous redpinkpurple girl said...

Don't get to worried about this. there was a time, before tampons and pads, when girls used rags. that would be really bulky and noticable. so don't worry to much, also to warrior firehart, I LOVE THE WARRIORS BOOKS!!!

January 7, 2012 at 5:45 PM  
Anonymous t-swizzle said...

@becca im here to help glad ur getting it figured out

January 8, 2012 at 5:00 PM  
Anonymous t-swizzle said...

@becca i think u should listen to the doctor. the doctor is someone who went thru years of medical traiining

January 8, 2012 at 5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do gymnatics as well, and I am thinking the exact same thing! All of my friends have started puberty, and i havnt! It is so annoying! You are not alone, dont worry too much!

January 11, 2012 at 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

im in gymastics

January 11, 2012 at 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do gymnastics and I really don't car-sorry, just a gut reaction!
I do gymnastics and I don't know that much about periods but I say if you really want to do gymnastics you go girl!!!
"If all women did what they wanted to do, and what they were fitted for, we would all have our oppurtunities."
( Elizabeth Blackwell; first woman doctor.)

January 14, 2012 at 4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gymastics is fun

January 22, 2012 at 12:45 PM  
Anonymous cantwait4myperiod said...

thanks johnlover123. i have a question 4 u... do u have a crush on a guy named john???

January 26, 2012 at 10:33 AM  
Anonymous johnlover123 said...

ya lol!

January 27, 2012 at 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im a gymnast, I've had my period for about two years and it is still EXTREMELY irregular. I'll get it two or three times in a month or sometimes I won't get it for like three months straight.

February 24, 2012 at 10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks guys! (This was my question) by the way, I have started puberty though, as I have been having discharge regularly for the past 4 or 5 months. Also, I've had breast buds for a year. Sometimes I just ignore these facts though, because I feel like they don't mean anything anyway since I'm a gymnast...

March 4, 2012 at 5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a gymnast and I'm 11. I will be 12 in 2 months, and I haven't shown any signs of pubery. AT ALL. Maybe they're right.

March 9, 2012 at 7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey girls, i used to do gymnastics and im goimg through puberty so dont believe what they say!!

March 12, 2012 at 1:08 AM  
Anonymous DolphinMermaid said...

I'm a gymnast but I work out 3 hrs per day 3-5 days per week. I'm a 6th grader, and I'm 12... I just started developing, but my mum had hers when she was 15..

March 20, 2012 at 10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do gymnastics and softball and basketball I got my period December. And I was 11 (now 12!) So its soo not true!!!
Think pink!
Miss pink 4 ever!

March 21, 2012 at 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gymnasts are just another kind ofathlete. There's nothing to be worried about. I"m a gymnast and I've turned out fine. That would be like saying a soccer player grows slower because of what sport they play, you know what I"m saying?

March 22, 2012 at 10:16 PM  
Anonymous flying bookorm said...

i've done gymnastics for 6 1/2 years and i really like it.
girls usually get their periods 2 years after they start growing boobs.
i'm not sure if that would help, but i hope it does!

~f.b.

March 28, 2012 at 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Duckie said...

I started puberty at age eight, and my period at age ten! I was sooooo early! My doctor said it was because I have Native American blood in me!

April 2, 2012 at 3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have had discharge for about a year now... I am a gymnast but is this normal?

June 20, 2012 at 8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah I actually got pubic hair and stuff when i was in third grade so I don't know why after 3 years why I havent got a period yet. I'm not excited about getting a period but I'm a little worried cuz I started puberty a while ago everywhere else.
-person who asked the question

June 30, 2012 at 10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really don't want my period but have budded breasts I don't get discharge though and a few of my friends have their period I am turning eleven in 3 months and am really exited but I hate that us girls have to go through the changes so early! Is it true that 2 years after we start developing breasts we will definately get our period?
(O ~ O) noooo (\/)
(0x0)
(\/\/)
P.S I do gymnastics and 4 other sports it should'nt usually effect )))))))))(((((((((()()()()()()))))))))))((((((((((((((()))))(())((((((((((((((((((())))))))))))))

July 14, 2012 at 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

umm i already started my period and im going into gymnastics is that bad!!

July 29, 2012 at 2:28 AM  
Anonymous Juliett said...

It's okay, my friend had her period at age eight:)

July 30, 2012 at 3:53 PM  
Anonymous PLSBlogger said...

Well, it's more of an estimate that girls get their periods around two years after their boobs start to develop. Everyone develops differently though!

August 3, 2012 at 7:56 PM  
Anonymous PLSBlogger said...

Puberty can start from the ages 8-13, and that's perfectly normal!

August 3, 2012 at 8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started puberty at age 9, and I'm 12 now. Still no period.

August 27, 2012 at 12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a gymnast too, are you sure gymnasts periods don't come late? I heard about how this gymnast in the Olympics didn't start until she retired at age 25. And she's not the only one who got it extremely late. And don't tell me that she was naturally a late bloomer.

October 21, 2012 at 12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get what you mean, but gymnastics in my case isn't just another sport. It's very hardcore workout and training.

November 19, 2012 at 10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please answer this Jemma!?^

November 19, 2012 at 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a gymnast too! I was from the age of 5 to now. I am thirteen. I quit too months ago and now run track. I went to state about two weeks ago and came in ninth place out of all thirteen year old girls in the state. Because I never wanted to quit gymnastics, I am going to start cheering for my school this up coming fall. I can't lose my tumbling skills. I expect this year to be pretty hectic. Especially since it's my last year in middle school.

July 9, 2014 at 4:29 PM  
Anonymous Girl that is confused said...

Okay so my mom is worried something is wrong with me I think it's fine. I don't want a period at all and I'm glad I don't have one and I have heard of people not getting one till there 17 so I'm not going to worry about it till then. But my mom is really worried and wants to take me to the doctor. I'm 15 years old, I'm really small compared to my friends I'm 5'2" people are shorter than me of course but I'm one of the smallest(weighing wise) girl in my grade. I'm 93 pounds and its all muscle because of gymnastics. When I started I gained 10 pounds because of the muscle I gained. I started puberty I think when I was about 12 (getting hair and growing a little but not much) I'm still not that big like I wear an A bra. I have discharged for a year but my mom doesn't know that. I just want to know is it bad I still haven't gotten my period??

May 24, 2015 at 5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's ok it won't be that bad

April 2, 2016 at 1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you started your period and you do gymnastics is there anyway your period will stop all together?

January 4, 2017 at 10:54 AM  

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