Keeping Track Of Periods
Its good for your child to keep track of their periods with an app, calendar or diary. If your childs periods are fairly regular, an app or calendar can help your child know when their period is likely to come. This way your child can prepare for things like sleepovers, school camps or swimming carnivals.
What Should I Do When My Daughter Starts Her Period
Starting her period is an important milestone in your daughters life. But although you may have seen signs that she is in puberty, her first period may still come as a bit of a surprise. She may be a little scared or embarrassed. As a parent, how do you help your daughter at this crucial time?
Here are 4 things to discuss with your daughter to ease her fears and prepare her for this new stage in her life.
Ive Been Using Contraception Will This Affect My Cycle
This depends on what type of contraception youve been using. If youve been taking the pill, your period may be irregular when you first come off it, so try to give yourself up to 3 months for your natural menstrual cycle to get back to its normal routine.
The first period after stopping the pill is known as a withdrawal bleed. The next one after this is your first natural period.
The contraceptive injection can also affect your cycle. Your periods may change and become irregular, heavier, shorter, lighter or stop altogether. This can carry on for some months after you stop the injections.
If you use the contraceptive implant your fertility will return to normal as soon as it is taken out.
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What If I Forget To Remove My Tampon
If you forget to remove your tampon, it can turn sideways or become compressed at the top of your vagina. This can make it difficult for you to pull it out. If you think you’ve left a tampon in and you can’t get it out, go to your GP or nearest sexual health clinic. They can remove it for you.
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How Do I Choose A Pad Or Tampon That Is Right For Me
There are smaller, slender pads and tampons available that young women often prefer, particularly when they first start menstruating. You may find it helpful to use different products over the course of your period, with more absorbent tampons or pads being used on heavier flow days, and smaller tampons or pantiliners on low flow days. Each woman has her own preferences and whatever works best for your body is just fine!
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What Is Menstrual Suppression
A menstrual period, or menstruation, refers to the vaginal bleeding that occurs as part of a womans monthly cycle. Periods begin once a girl has reached puberty, usually between the ages of 11 and 15 and continue until a woman reaches menopause, around the age of 51. Menstruation is the bodys way of shedding the lining of the uterus, which passes through the vagina, along with menstrual blood.
Menstrual suppression is a treatment that uses medication to reduce or stop menstrual periods. Under the care of a doctor, this is a safe option for all girls, teens and young women once they have already had at least one menstrual period.
What Is The Menstrual Cycle
The menstrual cycle is what your body goes through to get ready for pregnancy. This cycle is the time from the first day of your period up to the day before the start of your next period.
Ovulation usually happens during the second half of the cycle. This is when an egg is released from one of your ovaries. To get pregnant, the egg needs to be fertilised by the sperm.
Ovulation doesnt happen every month for every woman. There are some conditions that may interfere with ovulation, such as endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome . If you are not getting a monthly period and are trying to get pregnant, speak to your doctor.
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Practical Preparation For Periods
Your child will need a supply of sanitary pads, period-proof underpants, tampons and/or a menstrual cup.
Before your child gets their first period, its a good idea to show your child:
- what pads, period-proof underpants, tampons and cups look like
- how to use pads, period-proof underpants, tampons and cups
- how to dispose of pads and tampons, or rinse period-proof underpants
- how to clean a menstrual cup.
You might want to suggest your child carries pads, underpants, tampons or a cup. For example, they could keep some in a small bag in their school bag and sports bag.
Pads, underpants, tampons or a menstrual cup? Its probably easier for your child to start with pads or period-proof underpants before they try tampons or a menstrual cup.
Your child can use tampons and cups at any age, but it can take some time and practice to get used to them.
When your child is first starting with tampons or a menstrual cup, it might help to practise between periods, to get used to inserting and removing them. For tampons it can help to put a bit of lubricant or petroleum jelly on the tip of a tampon so it slides in more easily, or use water as a lubricant for a menstrual cup. Looking at diagrams of the slope and shape of the vagina can also help, as can using a mirror while practising.
Being comfortable with using tampons or a menstrual cup can be a big help in these busy and active years.
Home Urine Pregnancy Tests
- Home urine pregnancy tests do not cost very much. They are easy to use. Most drugstores sell these tests. No prescription is needed.
- Urine pregnancy tests are very accurate. They can turn positive as early as the first week after a missed period.
- It is best to do the pregnancy test first thing in the morning. Reason: hormone levels are higher in the morning urine.
- Sometimes, a home test is negative even if you think you might be pregnant. In this case, repeat the test. Do the repeat test in 3-5 days. You can also go to a doctor’s office for testing.
- A pregnancy testing fact sheet can be found at www.womenshealth.gov. Search “pregnancy tests.”
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How Do I Use A Tampon
Inserting a tampon for the first time can be a bit of a challenge. Its hard to know exactly how to position your body and at what angle to put the tampon in. After a few tries, you will figure out what works best for you. Its best to use slender size tampons when you are learning. If you arent exactly sure where your vaginal opening is, use a mirror to have a look at your vulva .
To insert a tampon that has an applicator:
To insert a tampon without an applicator:
What If My Period Doesnt Come Or If It Starts When I Am Very Young
If you have not had a first period by the age of 15, or its been more than two to three years since your breasts started developing and you have not had a period, its best to talk to your doctor. If you get your period very young, at nine or ten it is usually just simply that you developed early. However, its a good idea to see your doctor to rule out other underlying medical conditions.
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Mood Changes Before And During Periods
Many people will experience mood changes just before or during the first few days of their periods. These changes can include being a bit irritable or more sensitive, or feeling angry, anxious or even depressed.
This can be hard for your child and the rest of the family to cope with. Giving your child a bit more privacy and space around this time can make it easier for everyone, without making a big deal about it.
If your childs mood changes are upsetting or disrupting their everyday life, they might like to see a health professional, like the GP.
The Question From Janet:
“I have a daughter in her teens – she has just started her menstrual cycle for the first time and it lasted for about 2 weeks which is rather unusual but I “brushed it” off as it being the first time. Then the cycle has started again and is very heavy. Can you explain this or should I take her to a doctor?”
When girls first start their period, a lot of unusual things can happen, like getting her period every other week, not getting her period for 2 months or getting her period for a longer time. This is a normal part of puberty, the cycle is getting ready to become just that, a cycle and it can take up to 2 years to be a steady cycle, for some woman it never does. She may just be a girl who is going to have a heavy period to deal with, which is something she will have to talk to her daughter about. As she gets older there are options she can take to control it, like oral contraceptives.
If she is showing no other signs, like being extremely lethargic, getting sick to her stomach and such, I would just keep an eye on her, although calling your doctor to get an opinion is always a good idea. You may want to talk to some of the women on her father’s side of the family to see if this is normal for them. That way you will be able to determine if this is the way it is going to be with her, or if its something she may grow out of.
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Periods And Additional Needs
Periods can be especially challenging for young people with additional needs and their parents. If your child has moderate to severe intellectual disability, they might not understand why theyre experiencing changes to their body and mood.
Your child still needs to know about periods and the menstrual cycle at a level they can understand. Your GP, or other health professionals involved in your childs care, can recommend resources you can use with your child, like books and visual aids. You could also speak to your childs school about support.
Are Hormones To Blame
When you get your period, your levels of estrogen and progesterone are low.
In the first 4 or 5 days, your pituitary gland increases output of follicle-stimulating hormone and your ovaries start producing more estrogen.
Between days 5 and 7, estrogen levels typically crest, your pituitary gland releases a surge of luteinizing hormone , and your progesterone levels start to increase.
A shift in hormone levels could create the appearance of a stop-and-start pattern.
Period flow or regularity issues could be affected by a variety of health conditions, including:
- Fibroids, which are abnormal benign growths that develop in or on the uterus.
- Endometriosis, which occurs when endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome , which occurs when the ovaries make large amounts of androgens . Sometimes, small fluid-filled sacs form in the ovaries.
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Treatments For Irregular Periods
If your daughter has an irregular cycle, when should she see a healthcare provider? If a girl has had an established pattern, which then starts to vary either in the number of days that she experiences bleeding, or in the amount of blood flow she experiences, thats a cause for concern, according to Dr. Syed. Missing a period for 3 months in a row is an alert that something is going on and its time to meet with a health care provider to investigate why.
Whats the appropriate treatment for an irregular period? Treatment will depend upon the reason for the irregular period. If a girl is young and just has an immature cycle, I would just monitor her, says Dr. Syed. Its not a big deal if she doesnt have a period every month. Young girls may find keeping a menstrual calendar very helpful to help them begin to predict their cycle.
When To See A Doctor About Absent Menstruation
A teenage girl who hasnt started her periods by at least age 16 should see a doctor. A trip to the doctors office is also necessary if she is age 14 or older and hasnt experienced any signs of puberty yet. These changes would include the following in numbered order of appearance:
Menstruating women and teens should see their doctor if they have missed three or more periods in a row.
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When Do Periods Start
Most young people will have their first periods when theyre between 11 and 14½, but anywhere from 9-16 years is considered normal.
Periods are likely to start soon if your child has:
- had a major growth spurt
- grown some underarm and pubic hair
- developed breasts.
If your child hasnt started their period by the time they turn 16, its a good idea to talk with your childs GP. There can be many reasons why periods havent started by then, and the GP can help to rule out any serious problems.
What Tests Are Needed Before Starting Menstrual Suppression
There are usually no tests needed before starting menstrual suppression. Your doctor will take a careful medical and gynecologic history before recommending or prescribing treatment. A pelvic exam is not needed before starting menstrual suppression.
Menstrual suppression takes time to regulate and stop menstrual bleeding. Unexpected bleeding is most common in the first three months but can continue for longer. At Childrens Hospital Colorado, we will continue to work with you until you are satisfied with your treatment.
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Will Exercise Stop My Period
Being active can cause menstrual abnormalities, but it takes a lot of very intense exercise. Usually, only women who compete professionally experience changes in their periods. Why this happens isn’t clearly understood, but is likely a combination of extreme exercise, an increase in lean body mass, not eating enough or getting the proper nutrients, and stress related to competition.
What Is Menstruation
Menstruation is a complex process during which your uterus sheds the lining of its inner wall. Every month, your body prepares itself for a possible pregnancy. Getting your period basically means that you are not pregnant.
Throughout the monthly menstrual cycle, your body uses two hormones to thicken your uterine lining. Composed of blood and tissue, it is crucial in assisting with the process of egg fertilization. If you dont become pregnant, your body no longer needs this lining and starts to break it down and expel it through your vagina.
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Why Might It Happen
Each person will have a slightly different menstrual cycle and period. Mild variations in flow, duration, and symptoms are usually nothing to worry about.
Menstrual blood consists of blood and tissue from the lining of the uterus. This lining is the endometrium.
The role of the endometrium is to receive and nourish a fertilized egg. As the persons cycle progresses, the endometrium grows thicker. If an egg is not fertilized, the endometrium sheds away. The menstrual blood and tissue then pass through the cervix and out of the vagina.
Sometimes, menstrual tissue can block the cervix, preventing or limiting blood and tissue from leaving the body. This blockage may create a pause in a persons period. Once the blockage clears, the period will resume as normal.
Periods can also change from month to month due to:
Hormone levels change throughout a period, and this may affect menstrual flow.
At the beginning of a period, levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone drop. This provides a signal for the endometrium to begin shedding, and for the period to start.
Towards the end of the period, estrogen levels begin to rise again. Increasing estrogen levels cause the menstrual tissue to thicken. This hormonal change can affect the menstrual flow.
Certain medical conditions can cause hormone imbalances that may interrupt or interfere with menstruation. The following conditions may result in irregular periods:
What If My Cycle Is Irregular
It can be more difficult to get pregnant if you have irregular periods because you may not ovulate regularly.
There are many possible causes of irregular periods, which may affect your fertility. For example:
- medical conditions such as thyroid problems or polycystic ovary syndrome.
Having irregular periods does not mean you wont get pregnant and there are things you can do to boost your chances of success.
See your GP if your periods have stopped, youre missing monthly periods or you have irregular periods and are struggling to get pregnant.
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