Is your young daughter worried about her first period? She’s not alone. Many girls fear they’ll get their first period at school or when they’re away from home and unprepared. And if you’re like most parents, you want to do all you can to help your daughter feel less anxious about beginning menstruation.
Rickie Guida, WHNP-BC, at Alpenglow Gynecology in Littleton, Colorado, understands how challenging it can be to talk to your daughter about puberty and getting her first period. As an expert in teen gynecology, Rickie has put together her top tips for helping your daughter prepare for her period.
Start discussing periods and puberty early
Don’t wait to talk to your daughter about her period! Instead, approach periods as a normal part of female life. Beginning at a young age, address questions that may arise about tampons or other feminine products in a matter-of-fact way to help demystify menstruation. Keep the details age-appropriate by not offering too much information to very young children.
As your daughter gets closer to the age when menstruation begins (usually around 12 or 13, but any time between 8-15), explain what she can expect physically and review key aspects of anatomy and how the female body works.
It’s important to let her know she can come to you with questions and that while talking about periods can be a little uncomfortable at first, menstruation isn’t something to be embarrassed or ashamed about.
Discuss symptoms openly
Explain that many women have symptoms like cramping, headaches, breast tenderness, bloating, and changes in mood in the days leading up to their period, and that these symptoms can continue during your period.
Let her know she can manage any discomfort or pain she experiences with things like warm packs and over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, and she won’t have to miss out on activities like sports or PE because of her period.
Provide practical advice
Much of the anxiety about first periods stems from not feeling prepared. Help your daughter overcome this by providing her with practical advice about periods, including things like:
- Keeping a pad or tampon with her at all times (in her backpack or purse)
- What to do in case of an accident (rinsing clothes in cold water ASAP and tying a sweater or jacket around her waist until she can change)
- Taking OTC pain relievers for cramping
- How frequently to change a pad or tampon
- How to track her period and know that changes to cycles are normal
It's helpful to make a first period kit with your daughter before she menstruates for the first time. This ensures she’ll have what she needs when the time comes! Place items like sanitary pads and a clean pair of undies in a small bag she can keep with her.
Schedule a teen gynecology appointment
It’s important for your daughter to feel comfortable with her body and to learn to take care of her reproductive health from a young age. At Alpenglow Gynecology, Rickie offers teen gynecology appointments to help build rapport and set your daughter at ease — including answering questions about first periods!
At her first appointment, your daughter and Rickie will get to know each other and take time to go over any questions your daughter may have about topics relevant to adolescents, including:
- Puberty, including menstruation and breast health
- Mood changes and hormones
- Irregular or abnormal bleeding
- General health topics (e.g., diet, exercise, sexuality)
By visiting a gynecologist early, your daughter will feel more comfortable when her first period arrives. And she’ll feel more empowered caring for her reproductive health in the future.
For more help preparing your daughter for her first period, contact the team at Alpenglow Gynecology in Littleton, Colorado, or book an appointment online now!