Some Basic Facts We Can Share With Our Girls
A Guide To Your Daughter's First Period
What Is Menstruation Or When You're On Your Period?
A period happens because of changes in hormones in the body. Hormones give messages to the body. These hormones cause the lining of the uterus (or womb) to build up. This gets the uterus ready for an egg (from the mom) and sperm (from the dad) to attach and grow into a baby. If the woman does not get pregnant, the lining breaks down and bleeds. This same process happens every month.
What Are Some Symptoms?
You may experience hormonal imbalances that cause headaches, fatigue, irritability/mood swings and cramping. However, there are some things you can do to ease these symptoms.
Pads, Tampons, Menstrual Cup Or Period Undies?
It is best to start with the basics such as pads and then consider branching out to some of the other options if desired. For a more sustainable method, menstrual cups and period undies are also available. If you're going for tampons, Tampax Pearl Light Tampons are designed for beginners and are a great way to start off. In Hong Kong, they are available from iHerb. Period underwear is another great option and they are gaining in popularity, especially among the younger generation for eco-friendly and sustainable designs. Popular brands are Thinx, Modibodi, Culotée and Marks & Spencer.
Consult with your daughter about what she's comfortable with. If she's hesitant about tampon or menstrual cup use or isn’t comfortable with the idea of inserting one, plan to start with pads only. Purchase a few types of absorbencies (light, medium, heavy, overnight) that will best suit varying flow heaviness throughout her period. You can also offer a variety of brands that she can choose from.
Choose what's right and comfortable for your daughter's flow.
What Else Should You Do?
A key way to appease any concerns is to be prepared. If you feel like your daughter is about to start her period, have a talk with her and prepare a period kit to take with her to school. Pack an extra pair of underwear, pads or tampons or whatever her preference.
Don't forget the practice of self-love, care, responsibility and respect for our bodies. As we get older, we learn to understand the functions of our bodies through the signals it gives us. And as always, communication is key.
Remember that each girl is different and so periods will also vary in lengths, timings, intervals and flow. Young girls' first menstrual periods don't last the same number of days as later on. But if something doesn’t seem right, do seek advice from a doctor.