HealthLiving

Talking Everything About Periods – from Menstruation to Product Safety – With Your Tween Daughter

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I’m pretty open with my daughter about womanhood, our bodies and what she can expect as she ages. Luckily, our communication line is flowing! She isn’t embarrassed to talk to me about shaving, or boys, or menstruation. If she has a question, she asks it! I was the same exact way with my mother. It makes me feel good that she trusts me so. It’s all you ever hope for as a mom.

If I’m being honest with you, I don’t always have the right answers and to “look it up” isn’t a solution when your child is asking a question about something he/she is nervous about. Conversations revolving around periods and growing up need to be nurtured – not with an iPhone! Please!! I can’t even picture that scenario. What deep, dark path my daughter would end up on if she started searching for specific terms online. I want to be in control of the information she receives, so I went to a trusted source! Always and Tampax teamed me up with Dr. Melisa Holmes, an OBGYN and one of the co-founders of Girlology, and allowed me to bring her all the questions my daughter had about her body, menstruation and what to expect in the next new few years of her life. I even snuck one in about menopause! Hey – it’s coming up!! I’m no fool. 🙂

I’m someone who is very brand loyal once I find a product that I know works. This isn’t an exaggeration. I’ve been using Always for over 20 years. Don’t try to do the math, people. It will strain your brain. I started in high school and never looked back. It’s been a brand that I’ve trusted all my life and now I will introduce it to my daughter when the time comes. Until that point, I want to ease her concerns. After all, knowledge is power!

Questions Natalie and I asked to know everything about periods

Q1. Where does the blood come from? How is it ok for us to lose so much?


The blood you lose when you have your period comes from inside the uterus where there is a thick fluffy lining called the endometrium.  The endometrium is made of blood vessels, fluffy tissue and other fluids that are needed to help grow a pregnancy. If you’re not pregnant, your period starts because the uterus pushes the endometrial lining out of the body as the cycle begins again. The “blood” that you lose with a period is only about 2 tablespoons of actual blood, but it also has other fluids and tissue added to it, so it becomes more like ½ to 1 cup of bloody fluid that comes out over about 3-7 days.

Your body makes new red blood cells every day, and it can easily replace a couple tablespoons before your next period happens. Some girls may have heavier periods that lose 3 or more tablespoons of red blood cells during every period. When this happens, the body cannot replace that much blood loss every month, and she may become anemic, meaning her blood count is low. If you feel like your periods are too heavy, you should check with your doctor.


Q2. How many pads should we sleep with at night?


If you are wearing the right period protection for your overnight flow, you should only need one pad. With the superior protection and comfort of Always Overnight, women can confidently fall asleep and stay asleep…and never have to worry about ruining their white pajamas or sheets again. The longer, wider Overnight pad is specifically designed to fit better and absorb more while lying down, no matter how much a woman tosses and turns.

Q3. How old do you have to be to start wearing a tampon? 


There is no “right” age for using a tampon. As soon as you get your period, your body is ready for you to use one, so if you feel like you’re ready, you can start using tampons. It’s all about what makes YOU the most comfortable.

Q4. What should I know about the proper use of a tampon?


Using a tampon is nothing to be scared of. By following these easy steps from Tampax, tampon-trying should be a success. First thing’s first – wash your hands! Unwrap your tampon and stand or sit until you’re comfortable. When you’re ready, place the tip of the applicator in the opening of your vagina. Insert the applicator at a slight angle towards your back, until your fingers touch your body, and push the small tube into the big tube to expel the tampon. Gently remove the applicator, throw it in the waste bin and wash your hands. To remove the tampon, simply tug on the string and it should slide right out! Throw the used tampon in the waste bin (don’t flush it!) and wash your hands. Using a tampon should be an easy and comfortable experience that allows you to keep doing amazing things, even during your period. While it is totally normal to feel the tampon inside of you, you should not feel pain or discomfort. If you do feel discomfort, it might be because you didn’t insert it in far enough. No big deal – just gently use your finger to push it in farther or carefully remove the tampon and try again. If you continue to feel pain, remove your tampon and talk to a medical professional.

Remember, you should typically change a tampon between 6 and 8 hours. Tampons should never be left in for more than 8 hours. If your tampon becomes full before 6-8 hours, use a higher absorbency tampon. If a tampon is not saturated after 6-8 hours of use, and you feel discomfort when you remove it, switch to a lower level of absorbency. Not every day of your period is the same, so why should your tampons be?


Q5: 
What should I teach my daughter about TSS?

There’s no need to be petrified of it, but there’s good reason to be informed! As scary as TSS sounds, it’s not very common. In fact, you are more likely to be struck by lightning than to get TSS.

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare, but serious disease that is associated with tampon use. TSS is caused by toxin-producing strains of the Staphylococcus aureus bacterium. The bacterium that causes TSS is found most commonly on the skin or in the nose, armpit, groin or vagina. In fact, about one third of the population carries it without any problem at all. However, in a very small number of people, certain strains of the bacterium produce toxins that can cause TSS. Most people have the antibodies in their bloodstream to protect them from the toxin if it is produced, but some do not. While all tampons available in the market are associated with a low risk of TSS, the link is not clearly understood. However, tampon research shows that the risk of tampon-related TSS can be associated with absorbency: the higher the absorbency, the higher the risk; the lower the absorbency, the lower the risk. That is why a woman should always use the lowest absorbency tampon for her menstrual flow. Also, she can reduce her risk of TSS by interrupting her tampon usage with pads during her cycle.

Again, you are more likely to be struck by lightning than to get TSS but it’s important to know the facts!

Q6. How often do we have to change our pads?


How often you need to change your pad depends on how heavy your flow is and what type of pad you are using. Pads come in different absorbencies, so match up the pad absorbency with your flow. On your heavier days, you may need a more absorbent pad to prevent leaking and on our lighter days, a less absorbent one will work. No matter how heavy your flow is, you should always change your pad at least every 3 or 4 hours.

Remember that your pads absorb your period flow, but they also absorb your sweat and body odor. Although period blood doesn’t smell, your sweat, skin oils, and body odor do! When you’re having your period, you can eliminate any worries about odor by changing your pad every 3-4 hours and washing daily with soap and water.

Everythind about periods


Q7. Why are some girls excited to get their periods? 


Lots of girls are excited to get their period because it’s a sign that they are growing up and their body is changing as is it supposed to do! If you understand puberty and all the things that go along with it, you will be more prepared, confident, and maybe even excited about many of the changes that happen!

For some girls, getting their period every month is a welcome reminder that their body is healthy and that they are not pregnant.

Q8. Why do girls get their periods at different times?


The timing of periods can be affected by nutrition, exercise, and general health, but the real variety happens because everyone is different. Every girl has her own unique look, shape, and qualities, so it makes sense that every girl goes through puberty on her own unique timeline. It’s normal for a girl to start her period about 1-3 years after puberty begins which makes it usually start sometime between the ages of 9 and 16. Genetics (the DNA passed down through our ancestors) make each of us similar but unique, and that’s why all girls have the same stuff that happens, but the exact WAY it happens will vary from person to person. That’s what keeps this world a lot more interesting and diverse!

And here’s my questions because… YOU KNOW… this is happening.

Q8. As a mom, I’ve noticed that my cycle is actually no longer consistent. One month, it is 28 days long and the next it is 33 days long. Does this mean I have started menopause?

Changes in cycle length can be an early sign that menopause is approaching, but it can also happen in response to things like stress, health changes, medications, and (believe it or not) being around other menstruating females. For adult women, normal cycle length can be anywhere from 21-35 days long, and most women do not have cycles that are exactly the same length from month to month, but may vary 2-5 days from cycle to cycle.  Just like with puberty, each woman will enter menopause and experience its effects in her own unique way. It occurs most commonly between the ages of 45 and 55, but as young as 35 is still considered normal. In general, as menopause approaches, menstrual cycles tend to grow farther apart, while hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness become more noticeable. If you have any concerns about menopause, be sure to discuss them with your doctor.

Changes in cycle length can be an early sign that menopause is approaching, but it can also happen in response to things like stress, health changes, medications, and (believe it or not) being around other menstruating females. For adult women, normal cycle length can be anywhere from 21-35 days long, and most women do not have cycles that are exactly the same length from month to month, but may vary 2-5 days from cycle to cycle.  Just like with puberty, each woman will enter menopause and experience its effects in her own unique way. It occurs most commonly between the ages of 45 and 55, but as young as 35 is still considered normal. In general, as menopause approaches, menstrual cycles tend to grow farther apart, while hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness become more noticeable. If you have any concerns about menopause, be sure to discuss them with your doctor.

I think this is a great conversation starter for parents who are looking to get the ball rolling around menstruation. If you child is shy and doesn’t know where to start – read this post TOGETHER. Remember, there are so many options that will help you once the big day comes. Whenever my daughter asks to play around with one of my pads, I let her open one up and feel it. She is curious. They all are. Don’t limit their physical curiosity. If they want to feel what it feels like to open up a pad and take off all the wrapping, then let them. They can even pretend to put one on their underwear. It’s an exciting time for all! Embrace it!

Stock up on the following products to keep you ready!

  • Tampax Pearl: Tampax Pearl provides LeakGuard protection to give girls the confidence they need wherever they go. FormFit protection gently expands to fit your unique shape.
  • Tampax Pocket Pearl: Tampax Pocket Pearl features the same full-size tampon as the #1Tampax Pearl in a compact applicator so always worrying about leaks will be a thing of the past. Tampax Pocket Pearl is the only compact tampon with the unique Built-In Backup BraidTMdesigned to send fluid back into the core, providing protection unlike any other tampon. This extra layer of protection helps capture leaks that may bypass other tampons, keeping fluid locked into the core.
  • Always Infinity Pads with Flexfoam: The world’s first foam pad absorbs 10x its weight yet feels like nothing. Your shape is unique—shouldn’t your pad be? Always Infinity pads fit your form for secure protection. Always Infinity pads are designed to stay put, so your period will be the last thing on your mind.

Do you have any other questions that you’ve heard from your child about menstruation? Period talk can be endless, right?! All you have to do is stay available to your daughter so that she can come to you with any questions and… go with the flow. Did you see what I did there? Yes, I’m cheesy.

You can also always visit Tampax.com and Always.com for more answers, tips and advice!

*I’ve partnered up with Always and Tampax to help start this conversation about menstruation. Compensation was received but opinions are 100% my own.

Vera
Vera Sweeney, mom, blogger, social media influencer and New York resident, is the founder of LadyAndTheBlog.com. She is considered one of the top female digital influencers in today’s social media space. Her lifestyle and parenting brand helps busy women stay on top of the latest trends in fashion, food, family and travel.

8 Comments

    1. Oh wow. I don’t know what happened there, but as I was trying to say. I have two daughters who are coming into this age, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to approach this with them. Thanks!

  1. I love this! I remember when my mom sat me down and had this conversation with me. Bless her heart, it didn’t go smoothly at all. I’m bookmarking this for when my daughter and I need to start talking more in depth about this.

  2. I need to have this covo with my tween! I read this post twice! Thanks so much for the detailed info Vera!

  3. This is a great question and answer. It covers just about anything a teen or preteen will want to know.

  4. This is a conversation I am a few years ago but there is a lot of great information here! Thanks for sharing, I will save it for when needed.

  5. I love this. This is exactly how you should talk to your daughter about period and what goes on before, during, and after especially when they first experience it. It’s also important to be ready with the things that they’re going to need.

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