Knowledge is power, so talking about your daughter's period and menstrual cycle will give her loads more confidence.
Your daughter’s first period is a momentous event in her life, but it can also be a little confusing and anxious too. When it arrives, it’s important she feels prepared and is aware of what’s happening to her.
Although it sounds an obvious thing to say, it’s worth talking her through the basics of why we have periods, how the menstrual cycle works, and the blood loss she'll experience. We've got all the information you need here to help explain these things and including a video about the menstrual cycle. If she wants to find out for herself, direct her to our Becoming a Teen section of our website which includes advice on all aspects of her body and periods.
One of the biggest worries many girls have is starting their period when away from home or in school. Very often, wearing a panty liner on a daily basis can build her confidence as it alleviates any fear that she’ll be caught unaware. It’s also a good idea to give her some sanitary pads to keep in her school bag just in case.
It's easy to forget that she probably hasn’t seen what a sanitary pad looks like. Once you've bought a pack, show her a pad, how she should position it and how to dispose of it afterwards. This should give her the confidence to do it herself next time. The same applies to tampons as they can be really confusing, especially as they come in both an applicator and non-applicator formats.
There is no minimum age for using tampons or a medical reason why a girl new to her periods should not use one. However, it is often best for them to understand their flow and monthly cycle before choosing to use this form of protection.
It’s perfectly normal for her period to last a couple of weeks too, so again, it’s worth sharing this bit of information with her so she’ll know what to expect.
Most tampons are made from a cotton like material, which is compressed into a small cylinder shape. Tampons are worn inside your vagina to absorb menstrual fluid. There are two different types of tampon, known as applicator and non-applicator and these give you a choice about how you insert them.
Menstrual blood is not the same as the blood you see when you cut yourself elsewhere on the body. Menstrual fluid lines the walls of your uterus and is called endometrium; this is a mixture of blood, tissue cells and natural secretions from the vagina and cervix and is not toxic or harmful in any way.
On average you can menstruate for up to 40 years, with 13 periods each year, that’s a whopping 520 periods in a lifetime! So now you can see why it’s important to understand your menstrual cycle and use the correct products for your flow.
It can look like there is an awful lot of blood being lost but don't worry! You’ll be surprised to learn that for people with an average menstrual flow, no more than 2.5 tablespoons or an egg cup full of blood is released each month.
Menstrual fluid is not always red in colour – it can vary from very light brown to dark red (almost black) and this is perfectly normal. Your period may be lighter in colour at the start or you may only experience a lighter colour on the last couple of days... It all depends on your individual flow!
You may have heard the rumour that periods stop in water due to water pressure, or depending on how cold the water is and therefore you don’t need to use any protection at all. This is NOT TRUE, menstrual fluid is released when the muscles surrounding your uterus contract and they can do this anywhere and anytime, even in water. So make sure you're always protected - a tampon is the best option because it's worn internally.
Don’t flush your used tampon down the loo! Instead roll it up in tissue and pop it in a bin in the toilets or with other household waste.
Breast development can start from the age of 7 -15 with the average being around 9-13, so don’t worry if your friends start developing or wearing bras before you, we are all different and it’s not a competition!
Got a question you’ve been too embarrassed to ask? Wondering if what you are experiencing when starting your period?
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