Puberty is starting younger and younger with girls and it’s making it hard for us parents to keep up. I remember waiting for my first period and feeling anxious, excited, and confused all at the same time. My grandmother made me really comfortable once my period came at age 10. Now that I’m a mother I knew that one day would soon I would have to have the Period Talk with mini me.
My Period Talk with mini me was by accident due to her walking in on me while I was using the bathroom (I normally lock the door when I’m on my period but this time I forgot). When this happened I immediately went into panic mode because I knew that there would be questions to follow. I stayed in the bathroom an extra 20min on the internet trying to figure out if my 8 year old daughter was too young for the P Talk. Upon search I saw that some girls receive their periods as early as age 8, so I guess it was time to have the talk. Being that my daughter is still young I knew that I couldn’t go into too much detail but I wanted make sure that she wasn’t scared or upset by what she had saw. I also didn’t want her to have ask anyone else about what she saw, especially since there are so many myths out there when it comes to girls having their menstruation.
Although it was a little awkward having the P Talk this early, I feel a little relived now that we had phase one of the Period Talk. Our talk went really well, phase two will definitely be more in depth. I let her know that I’m here to help her along the way and we have the #PowerOverPeriods. As this was my first P Talk I thought I’ll share a couple of tips on how to go about phase one of the P Talk with your mini me.
Find the Right Time– I was caught off guard when my daughter walked in on me during my period. Which put me in a awkward position where I knew once I left the bathroom she would ask a million questions.
Use general terms– keep everything simple, once she gets older you can get into specifics. You can even show her products (like tampons, panty liners, pads, etc.) that are used during menstruation.
Keep Everything Positive– you don’t want to scare her, be sure that you’re using a positive tone.
Share Some Of Your Experience – Tell her when you started your period and how you felt.
Along with the P Talk think about your past experiences with your Period and be sure to follow up with a doctor for concerns. Your doctor can also help you prepare for the P Talk and help clear all myths that you heard when you were a little girl up until what we hear in our adult age. You may have heard of something like “clots/chunks are a sign of cancer”, or “period blood is dirty blood”. One of the craziest myths out there was one told on a Facebook post about a worker whose boss was convinced periods could be started or stopped on a whim.
Though not always, the first period is often heavy and painful. Obviously, it can be hard to convey this in the P Talk, you want to keep things positive and not scare her. But you should at least let her be aware there can be some “stinging” as it starts and to let you know if she’s feeling uncomfortable about it. Most adults take ibuprofen, CBD oil (https://vibescbd.co.uk), co-codamol, and aspirin to relieve the pain and inflammation. But for someone just starting their period a lot of these options are off the table, again talk with your doctor and see what would be appropriate. A heated pad or hot water bottle are some good kid-friendly ways of relieving some of those nasty cramps.
For more tips and advice you can head over to the Tampax and Always sites it’s filled with so many tips and advice circling around menstruation and it gives great insight on how to talk with you mini me.
Below are a couple of question that I was able to send over to Tampax/Always research team to have answered by a doctor to help me prepare for the phase two of The Period Talk.
Getting Real About Our Periods
Q1. If it possible to reduce a heavy cycle? And what works better during a heavy cycle tampons or pads?
A1. Reducing heavy menstrual flow usually requires some type of medication. There are two types of medications commonly used for this: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications or hormones. If you believe that your periods are too heavy, or you would like to reduce your flow, you should speak with your doctor, first. You may need to be tested and/or treated for a low blood count (anemia), and there are other health conditions (obesity, thyroid disease, bleeding problems) that can cause heavy flow. Depending on your health and the severity of your periods, your healthcare professional may recommend using an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or naproxyn sodium (which you should try to start BEFORE the start of your period and take through the first couple of days), or she may recommend a hormonal treatment (like birth control pills) which comes in different forms but requires a prescription.
During a heavy cycle, you can use pads or tampons – whichever gives you the confidence and comfort you need. Make sure you are using the heaviest absorbency on your heaviest days. And if your heaviest day lands on a super busy day, you may need to use both! It’s never bad to have a back up!
source: Girlology, Dr. Holmes
Q2. Are irregular periods normal?
A2. Irregular periods are not normal, but what some girls think are irregular are not really irregular! There’s a lot of variety that can happen in the first three periods, but once a girl has had at least three periods, they should occur no closer together than every 21 days, and no farther apart than every 45 days. Once she’s about 5 or more years into having periods, they should occur about every 25-35 days. It is actually pretty rare for a woman to have periods “like clockwork.” Most women will have a 2–5 day variation in cycle length from month to month (remember to measure your cycle length from the FIRST day of one period to the FIRST day of the next!). The biggest cause for concern is having several periods that are more than 45 days apart or any period that is more than 90 days after the last one.
If your periods are truly irregular, it’s best to check in with your doctor because there are many conditions that can affect periods, and it’s best to get evaluated by a healthcare provider who can do appropriate testing and offer treatment if necessary.
source: Girlology, Dr. Holmes
Q3. Why is my bowel movement so weird during my period?
A3. Weird is a good description because a lot of women report “different” bowel movements during their periods, but their differences are, well, different. Some women experience constipation during their periods, probably because of fluid retention and bloating that holds onto fluids that would otherwise be in the gut. Some women experience loose bowel movements during periods, probably because the chemicals (prostaglandins) that increase cramps in the uterus –can also cause the bowels to cramp and empty faster. And then there are women who don’t notice any difference at all! No matter how your bowels move during your period, it’s always a good idea to drink plenty of fluids, eat plenty of fiber-rich fruits and veggies, and get adequate exercise; all of these things keep your bowels happy and less affected by your cycle.
source: Girlology, Dr. Holmes
Q5. Can I sleep with a tampon in?
A5. You should only use a tampon for up to 8 hours. So if you’re about to hit the sheets and are planning to sleep with a tampon in, first be sure to put in a new one, and then remove it as soon as you’re done with your beauty sleep. If you’re super exhausted and think you’ll sleep longer than that, you should wear a pad instead. If you’re worried about tampon timing because you’ve heard of TSS, learn more about it here: Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Q6. What are the things I need to know about TSS? I’ve heard of it and it petrifies me but I want to know more.
A6. Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare, but serious disease that is associated with tampon use. Inrare cases, TSS can be fatal. 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.
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. The other thing to know is that TSS is not difficult to treat if it is caught early, so reducing your risk and knowing the signs and symptoms are important! To reduce your risk, use the lowest absorbency tampon that will manage your flow and don’t wear them longer than recommended. Symptoms of TSS are similar to the flu: high fever with body aches, nausea, vomiting, or rash. If you’re on your period, using a tampon and develop these symptoms, take out your tampon, go immediately to your nearest emergency room, and let them know you could have TSS.
Q7. Should I be concerned about blood clots? I heard a myth around tampons and clots and would like to know if it is true?
A7. Blood clots sound scary, and they can be very serious when they happen inside blood vessels or around important organs like your heart or brain, but when blood it outside of blood vessels (like in the vagina), it will clump together or clot if it stays in one place for a little while. Clots are the consistency of old Jell-O. You are most likely to see clots in the morning from the menstrual blood that has been in your vagina while you were lying down. It’s normal to see small clots on your pads or attached to your used tampon. If they are consistently larger than a quarter and you have them a lot, you should let your healthcare provider know. Large clots can be a sign of heavy bleeding, but small clots with your menstrual blood are nothing to get worked up about!
Q8. What vitamins should I take regularly to ensure that my cycle won’t drive me crazy?
A8. Vitamins are super important nutrients that are necessary in small amounts to sustain life. Humans can’t produce vitamins so we have to get them through the foods we eat. A well balanced diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and lean animal proteins is the very best way to get the vitamins we need for health – including menstrual health. Vitamin deficiencies have been linked to many health problems, and higher doses of some vitamins, which can be taken through foods or even a liposomal multivitamin, have been shown to improve different mental and physical conditions. When it comes to periods, though, there isn’t a lot of science that tells us whether vitamins help with symptoms like moodiness, acne, bloating, cramps or cravings. If you want to take vitamins because you feel like your diet may not be as healthy as it can be, it’s always best to start with a women’s once-a-day multivitamin. If you want to take additional supplements, you should check with your doctor because high doses of some vitamins can be dangerous or can affect existing health problems.
Q9. Should I change my tampon every time use the bathroom or can I keep it in while I pee?
A9. Because a tampon goes into your vagina to absorb menstrual fluid, and urine comes out of the hole above that (your urethra), you won’t have any trouble using the restroom. Tampons don’t interfere with your other bodily functions. You can use the bathroom freely without having to change your tampon every time. Just move the string to the side to keep it clean, and you’re good to go.
Q10. What is the best item to use for a heavy flow and should I change the product I use based on flow?
A10. Every girl’s flow is different and flow can vary throughout your period. Our recommendation is to start by using a regular absorbency tampon and then determine which absorbency is right for you based on your flow. If you’re wearing a regular tampon and you notice it becomes full before 6-8 hours, use a higher absorbency tampon. For example if you are wearing a regular absorbency tampon, and are having to change it every three hours, you may want to try a super absorbency. If you’re situation is reverse, 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.
Q11. What is better to use, Tampons or Pads?
A11. Up to you! Most girls start out using pads, but some go straight to tampons. There’s not a right or wrong answer. Whether you choose tampons or pads, all that matters is that you’re comfortable with what you wear and that you feel totally protected. If you’re not sure, talk to a woman you trust like your mom or sister! Check out here for more information.
This post was sponsored by Tampax and Always. All opinions were my own.