Let’s be honest, does anyone look forward to getting their period? Periods can be uncomfortable, painful, make you feel insecure and get in the way of important plans. When I first got my period, I didn’t want to tell anyone…. not even my mom. I felt so embarrassed. It happened during ballet class and I was confused as to what exactly what I was experiencing. During this time periods weren’t something other girls were discussing openly.
Now in 2017 I’ve noticed a big change! Women and girls are empowered to and feel comfortable talking about their period experiences. I openly discuss my period woes with my girlfriends and am not ashamed to share when it is that time of the month. This recently got me thinking that I should create an article sharing important, helpful information and things I wish I knew when I got my period.
I quickly discovered Tampax my senior year of high school and have been using these tampons ever since. Currently I’m a big fan of Tampax Pearl, so I decided to team up with Tampax, Always and Dr. Melissa Holmes, the founder of Girlology, to answer these important questions to share with you my wonderful readers and women everywhere.
10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got My Period:
Q1. What is the best item to use for a heavy flow and should I change the product I use based on flow?
A1. 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 have 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.
Q2. What are the best practices for changing your tampon? – How often, should you wear it at night?
A2. You should typically change a tampon after 6 to 8 hours. Tampons should never be left in for more than 8 hours. If your tampon becomes full before 6-8 hours, use a higher absorbency tampon. 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.
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.
Q3. I’ve always had cramps that are more painful than most people’s – I would love to know why that could be?
A3. Cramps definitely affect some girls more than others, but most have at least some cramping. “Normal” menstrual cramps usually start just before or with your period and last 1-3 days. They are caused by the uterine muscles squeezing to push out the endometrial lining. As muscles work hard, they can cause cramping in the pelvic area and even cause discomfort in the vagina, lower back, hips and upper thighs.
Different people have different tolerances for pain, so comparing yourself to others isn’t always helpful. But, if you find that your cramps are worsening or the usual treatments (see Q4) are not giving you any relief, you should talk with your doctor. There are several conditions that can cause more severe menstrual cramps such as endometriosis, sexually transmitted infections, or fibroids. These conditions are pretty uncommon in young girls, but increase with age. Your doctor will be able to offer some treatment options that are very successful, but she’ll need to know some details about your cramps and your general health.
Source: Dr. Holmes
Q4. What are the best tips to minimize the pain?
A4. Here‘s a quick fact sheet about period cramps and PMS. Below you’ll find useful topics and practical information for over-the-counter medications to hormone treatments that can decrease her menstrual flow and thus decrease her cramping. If your daughter is having cramps that worsen over time or do not go away after the first couple days of her period, it’s also important to have her see her doctor to make sure there aren’t other health problems contributing to her menstrual symptoms.Q4. What are the best tips to minimize the pain?
A4. Here‘s a quick fact sheet about period cramps and PMS. Below you’ll find useful topics and practical information for
Q5. How much blood should you expel in each period?
A5. Most girls lose about ¼ – 1/2 cup of menstrual fluid during their periods (mostly in the first few days), but all of this fluid is NOT blood. The amount of actual blood lost is only 2 tablespoons (1/8 cup) or less. The rest of the menstrual fluid is made up of endometrial tissue and other fluids. So, not to worry, — your body can totally make up for that much blood loss each month.
Q6. How do you know what tampon is right for you?
A6. Every girl’s flow is different and flow can vary throughout your period. For lighter days, use a lower absorbency and for heavier days, look to a tampon with a higher absorbency. But if your tampon becomes full before 6-8 hours, use a higher absorbency, and if you feel discomfort when you remove it, switch to a tampon with a lower absorbency. Just remember – for the best comfort and protection, your tampon should change based on your flow.
Our top choice for beginners is Tampax Pearl Active – it is 20% slimmer, 100% as absorbent and features FormFit technology and the Leakguard Braid to provide superior protection. Once you’re a tampon pro, there are other great Tampax Pearl options to consider including the Tampax Pocket Pearl and Tampax Pearl Radiant.
Q7. What is the most common tampon myth that you hear among your patients? What is your response to this?
A7. The most common myth I hear about tampons is that they are painful! That’s not a surprising concern, though, because it can sound scary to put something in your vagina – that’s a sensitive area, and not something you’re used to doing. The good news (and the truth!), is that tampons aren’t painful if you put them in the right way. Plus, you put them in yourself, and you’re not going to inflict pain on yourself, right? Remember that a baby can come out of the vagina, so a tampon can certainly fit in it.
The other myth we hear a lot is that tampons can tear your hymen. The hymen is a thin membrane at the opening of the vagina. There are different shapes and sizes that are all normal. Some girls have a smaller one and some have one that covers more of the vaginal opening. In some cultures, having an “intact” hymen (that has not been stretched or torn) is an indicator that a female is a virgin (meaning she has never had sex). Honestly, the appearance of the hymen doesn’t confirm that a girl has or has not had sex, and medically, the only concern for the hymen is whether it is causing difficulty with menstrual flow, tampon use, or normal vaginal comfort. For most girls, using a tampon doesn’t tear the hymen because it’s actually a bit stretchy, but occasionally, a girl might have a more prominent hymen that makes using a tampon difficult. If you find that you have trouble putting a tampon in or taking it out, you should speak with your doctor.
Source: Dr. Holmes
Q8. I actually would love to make my husband/boyfriend more comfortable with the conversation – especially if we have daughters! Any advice for men to help them understand periods? Advice for men when buying tampons.
A8. If your husband is a father, he must know something about periods, but we get it – a lot of men just aren’t comfortable talking about it. The best way to get him more comfortable is to show your own comfort. If he’s confused about the menstrual cycle, grab a puberty book and help him understand it (reading a puberty book together can, itself, be a funny yet informative shared experience!). The more he hears you talking comfortably, the more inspired he will be to handle it the same way. Next time you’re at the store together, stop by the personal care aisle and show him the products you like. Send him a picture of your products to keep on his phone so he doesn’t forget. Make it fun, keep it light, and he’ll catch on that buying pads and tampons is no different then buying toilet paper!
If he’s gearing up to be a supportive dad, get him involved and talking early! Whether you have sons or daughters, use proper terms for anatomy from the beginning, and be approachable and askable when those body and baby questions come up. And as your children’s bodies begin to change in puberty, don’t keep it a secret from Dad. Fathers can add a wonderfully important layer of matter-of-factness and humor that gives their daughters an extra boost of confidence and no-biggie attitude as they begin a transition that too often involves shame and embarrassment.
Source: Dr. Holmes
Q9. What is better to use, Tampons or Pads?
A19. 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.
Q10. Can Tampax Pearl be worn during physical activity like swimming or exercise?
A10. Absolutely! Whether you are swimming, zip lining or hitting the gym, Tampax Pearl gives you the confidence to be ready for any adventure – without letting your period get in the way. In fact, Tampax Pearl Active features a 20% slimmer applicator for easier insertion and will keep you protected on and off the field! If you’re about to jump in the pool, it is advised to change tampons right before and after swimming.
Source: Dr. Holmes
I hope you all enjoyed this article and enjoy a wonderful women’s history month! Don’t hesitate to tweet me or leave a comment below.
XOXO – Stuart