First Menstruation – Be There For Your Daughter

on Thursday, 22 March 2012. Posted in Teen health, Kid's Health Written By: Shruti Gaddam

Starting with her periods can be a stressfulg phase; make it easy, be there for your daughter

First Menstruation – Be There For Your Daughter

The first few months of menstruation can be emotionally and physically stressful and confusing for your daughter; especially if she experiences common menstrual symptoms such as abdominal cramps and moodiness.

Although it is important for a girl to understand what changes happen within her body, it is more important for her to know how to manage things when she actually experiences the first cycle. Do not wait until your daughter is past ten years old because the new menstruation age has come down to nine or ten nowadays. It is no longer 12 or 14 like the bygone days. Notice the changes in her body like development of underarm hair, curvature of the body, development of breasts and beginnings of acne on the face and prepare her accordingly.

Important aspects she should know about menstruation

  • Biological implications: It is important to begin with the biological implications so that a girl knows what actually happens in her body and is completely aware that she is now capable of being a mother. This is also the right time to talk to her about dangers of uninhibited sex, multiple partners, sexually transmitted diseases, dangers of early pregnancy and contraceptives.
  • What causes bleeding: She should know about the egg being released and when the egg is not fertilized, it leaves her body through the vagina. The lining of her uterus passes out with the egg and that is what causes the bleeding, which can last up to 5 days.
  • Pre-menstrual symptoms: Make her aware of the various premenstrual symptoms such as headaches, mood swings, irritability and abdominal cramps so that she is well equipped to read signs and be prepared for the cycle. Signs that she should be aware of are tenderness in the breasts, food cravings, diarrhoea or constipation, backaches, fatigue, depression, difficulty in concentration, anxiousness and feeling stressful.

What she should do when menstruation begins

  • The duration: It is usually 3 to 5 days. However, she needs to inform you if she bleeds for less than 2 days and more than 7 days. The initial months are a bit irregular but the cycle falls in place within a few months.
  • The monthly cycle: she should know how to gauge her monthly menstrual dates. The count begins from the day her period begins. Count 28 days or 30 days, whatever is the duration of her period (it can be as less as 21 days and as much as 35 days as well), and be prepared a couple of days before or after the date for the next period to start.
  • Sanitary options: Every girl should know about sanitary tampons and napkins, the right way of using them and the right disposal method. Stress on the fact that whatever she uses, should be changed regularly before it is completely soaked. She should always carry an extra tampon with her to school.
  • Importance of hygiene:She should also be made aware about the risk of not maintaining hygiene. Diseases such as toxic shock syndrome can develop if the same tampon is worn for more than 6 hours and there is also risk of infections.

    Menstruation Trivia

    Iron and calcium deficiency are two factors that can cause exaggerated premenstrual symptoms.

    Prehistoric women menstruated only 50 times on an average. In comparison, modern women menstruate nearly 450 times.

  • Disposal: teach her the correct way to dispose pads or tampons. Teach her to fold the waste, wrap it in paper or a plastic pouch and discard it in a bin. They should never be flushed down the toilet.

Handling menstruation days

It is very likely that menstruation can land your child in some embarrassing situations. Unexpected start of periods, staining on the dress and severe abdominal cramps are some of the problems that she might face. So you can give her tips to handle such unexpected situations without feeling scared, tensed or embarrassed.

  • Have the girl keep a tampon with her at all times, even days before the next cycle begins.
  • If there is staining, tell her to wash the stain with cold water as soon as possible.
  • Until then, jackets, cardigans or sweaters can be wrapped round the waist to hide the stain.
  • She can also have a pain reliever pill with her in case cramps begin in the middle of school hours.
  • Ask her to avoid too much physical activity, drink lots of water and go for long walks around the school, if possible.

Irregularities that she should bring to your notice

Most of the girls have little irregularities in terms of mismatched dates and physical discomfort. However, certain symptoms such as excessive bleeding, bleeding beyond a week, bleeding in between periods, excessive cramping, not menstruation for more than a couple of months and doubts about pregnancy should be brought to notice of parents or guardians immediately.

Problems such as Amenorrhea, Menorrhagia, Dysmenorrhea and Endometriosis should be brought to the doctor’s notice.

Make sure that your child knows the dos and don’ts of dealing with menstrual cycles. If she is prepared and she knows about repercussions of reckless behavior, she can be saved from a lot of undesirable problems.


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