Periods are Popular.

A week ago my second oldest daughter, Kenzie, started her period.  Since my experience with periods was mostly negative (you can read about it here) I want to do everything I can to make sure my daughters are well informed about their bodies, including periods.  Just over a year ago I had a hysterectomy because my periods had gotten really heavy and really long (we’re talking 20 days every month).  Not having dealt with periods for over a year now, I decided to open up a dialogue on my personal facebook page about periods to make sure I wasn’t missing anything when it came to helping my daughters navigate the menstrual arena.

I had no idea it would be the most popular status I would ever post.  Periods are popular!  Turns out that we care about periods and our bodies, and it wasn’t just women who commented. Copious amounts of extremely good advice were offered and I want to post it here as a resource for women and men everywhere for mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and anyone who has a woman or girl in their life that has or will have a period.  Read on for some REALLY amazing period advice from real people!

periodadvice

I have divided it into different categories to make it easier to find what you are looking for, they are in alphabetical order:
Birth Control
Celebrating and Discussing
Cramps, Pain Control, Nutrition
Emotions and Hormones
Infertility
Keeping Clean
Menstrual Cups
Pads
Period Panties
Tampons

birthcontrol

Birth Control:

“The nuva ring does wonders for PMS. You just put it in on the first of the month then take it out on the third week for your period. It also gives you a little more control, take it out early to get it out of the way before a trip or leaving it in a bit longer to wait until after that band concert too start.”

celebratin

Celebrating and Discussing:

“Also, teach your girls they may leave class and/or arrive late for bathroom needs without “asking” if they really need to. Just get up and walk out. I had an accident or two bc it was a test or something where raising my hand and asking to leave would interrupt. Whatever the rules are for that class, teacher, if there is an emergency, just leave. I’ll explain anything if needed or go to the nurse and let her handle it. I try to make sure my kids know where the nurses office is and meet them so they remember to go there.”

“Also critical is a calendar. Give them a small pocket sized calendar or if they have devices they are allowed to carry with them then I suggest the free app Pink Pad. Teach them to keep track of the days their periods start and end and find the pattern so that they know when to expect it again. When I was in school I always had a small pocket in my backpack that was dedicated to feminine products. I usually put a couple pads and a couple tampons in a small makeup bag and put the small bag in my backpack so that it was always there in case my period started early.”

“On a different, yet related, note I think it’s wonderful to teach girls how to see our cycle as something to celebrate and honor. As women, we literally hold space. We are empty vessels, and symbolically as well as energetically we can help ourselves and our loved ones process whatever it is that needs to be let go of. Teach your girls to love their bodies, to slow down and listen to their signals. We can shift our view of womanhood as a gift rather than a monthly curse.”

“I have always talked about my periods to my boys since they were toddler aged using age appropriate discussions. I think it’s so important that even boys know how women’s bodies work!”

“We’re not there yet but my 4th grade daughter and I have talked about it happening soon. She balked about it happening every month but I kept it light and explained how amazing our bodies are and what they are capable of doing, and it just affirms our badass-ery! I excitedly explained how our bodies are synced up with the moon and Nature and that we are awesome moon goddesses capable of giving life! She rolled her eyes (haha–who wouldn’t) but we had fun talking all about it and helping her get prepared. I definitely wanted her to know it’s normal and we can handle it. I appreciate this thread and your approach with your kids. It can be a hassle and painful, especially early on (those teenage years were a bitch for cramps!), so we gotta do what we can to help ease all that. Good luck!”

“As a teen i think my biggest concern was dealing with boys in the fact that they didn’t understand anything about it and worrying if i had a leak or something about how embarrassing that would have been. So i have made it a point to educate my boys as well. They are all 7 and under and know that girls have periods, and bleed, and other age appropriate things….but they know that things happen and that it’s just blood and my hope is that should they be there when something happens to a girl on her period and they are around that they will help and/or defend.”

“One of my friends makes “period pie” once a month to have something to look forward to!”

“With my girls we went to the store and bought one of everything!! That way they could try different things and decide which they liked best.”

“Good luck! I made a new rule at work we can take one paid day for our worst bleeding day because who are we kidding…”

“Let them pick and try things. Also a lot of products are made for younger teens, tweens so they might have a nicer fit. No one is going to be 100% positive experience. But dealing with the harder aspects matter of fact seems to help. My daughter says she hates them but at the same time she’s glad she’s a girl even if this isn’t the best part. Ha. When she was little I talked about how it was the babies home being made and if there’s no baby then it has to leave so when there is a baby it can have a fresh home. She thought that was cool but right now she doesn’t want to hear that. There were some books we looked at together to help her understand all her options. For her right now pads are less scary and invasive. She’d rather do that even will possible mishaps. I think lots of talk, education and giving them choices helps.”

“It shouldn’t be embarrassing at all. Literally every woman once a month! Instead of all the jokes and shaming it should be an important open discussion. Our minds and bodies are changed for an amazing reason, honor it

“I think the literal best thing you can do is take the shame out of it. Talk about it. Do they understand why women have periods? Explain the beauty behind it. Have your husband talk, without shame, about it.. THERE IS NO SHAME IN MENSTRUATING!”

“First of all, I promised myself that when my daughter got hers we would celebrate woman day. My Mom, me, and my daughter went out to breakfast and got pedicures. I wanted my daughter to know that becoming a woman is a gift and a responsibility. We have the power to become mothers.”

“American girl makes a book about girls and changes they go through in puberty called The Care and Keeping of You.”

“I’ve read some cool stuff about creating rituals for this time of life, rose petal baths, red tent gatherings, etc. It would be cool for our tribe to create cool rituals for our girls as they join us in womanhood. I think the women to gather are a pregnant woman, a woman post menopause, and the new young woman. It’s a time to share wisdom and love and bonding.

“It was important to me to make this positive for my daughters too. So I collected a few inexpensive things for them as a gift. A journal, a little necklace, their own pads & liners & a little bag. (Kotex makes TWEEN sized stuff).
And then I took her out for hot cocoa to celebrate her growing up moment. For me, it’s special and it’s about becoming a woman. Not about sex really at all.
With my oldest daughter I also asked a few key women in our life to write a little “welcome to womanhood” note.”

“BTW it was filled with shame in my family. We talked about it in hushed whispers. My mom was raised to not let anyone see any evidence of it in the house so that kind of got passed down to us so I love the idea of celebrating it. I also think it needs to be ok to talk about in front of boys. They need to realize it’s nothing to be embarrassed about and have love and compassion and respect for women and womanhood as well.”

“I am thinking of making each of my girls a special box that they get to pull out each month. It would have special treats, a note of love from me, maybe a cool book, or ways to pamper yourself. Along with Aleve and supplies. Just thinking.”

“Just make sure no matter what u give them to use, that they are well informed. When I was 12 I started but back then no one talked about it. So when I found blood in my underwear I called my mom she didn’t say one word just handed me a pad and walked out. I thought I was dying. I had to ask a older friend what it was. So I went the other way with my daughter by the time she was 10 I bought her boxes of about 4 different kinds and Midol. I made her read about toxic shock. And if she had any questions feel free to ask me. When she started by her 3rd period she walked up to me and said mom I need more tampons I started a few months ago. I went totally opposite of my mom but it worked . Good luck..”

cramps

Cramps, Pain Control, Nutrition:

“I love this thread 😊 For cramps, I wear these little disposable heating pad things that are thin and stick to the outside of your underwear. They activate when you peel off the backing and work for up to 8 hrs. They are comfortable and discreet. I wish I would have known about these in high school.”

“Something I learned to do every period for low iron/ loss of so much blood.. On the heaviest day and even a couple days after if I am still feeling lethargic. It’s like the power house green smoothie. I get a whole tub of fresh spinach and two cans of mandarin oranges and throw them in the blender. Its sweeter than I would like normally, but it’s really great for pounding masses of spinach. You literally cannot taste the spinach.”

“Oh, and get electric heating pads and blankets! Those are life savers for me now.”

“DoTerra makes a wonderful oil called Clary Calm that is a natural way to achieve pain relief among other emotional benefits! I have long been averse to taking pills, but used to be nearly debilitated on a monthly basis due to cramping pain and the accompanying disparity! I wish that I had known about and had this oil! It is amazing!!”

“l second the Clary calm, it’s amazing and I feel like it helps immediately!”

“Caffeine intensifies cramps too, so avoiding the loop of any excess prior to cycle is good idea. If cramps become a particular discomfort..as we all are so beautifully different..! I would address it from a few preventive angles before dosing w ibuprofen ahead of time. Relief is key of course, just cautious @ regularity of ibuprofen use before exercising other ways to manage. So glad to see no info about the medications which ‘eliminate’ periods! Don’t even get me Started! 🙂 Our cycles speak volumes about our vastly intricate health..and elimination is essential to its function.”

“Make sure they know about staying hydrated, taking ibuprofen or naproxen, hot showers, etc.”

“Also, get them a rice pack they can easily heat in the microwave for when they have cramps.”

“I learned that if the cramps are really bad to take ibuprofen every four hours a day during and this helps with cramps. It has to be ibuprofen. It seemed to help my 14 year old. She said it worked wonders. This and long hot showers. I tried to give her the extra long showers and more time in the bathroom to make her feel more special.”

“Midol, plus lots of water and powerade/gatorade to restore electrolytes.”

emotions

Emotions and Hormones:

“Last point of advice, tell them not to be afraid to admit that they are emotional because their period is coming. When I’m having PMS I tell my husband right away. Not that it excuses my being catty or temperamental, but it helps him know I’m not just pissy and it helps me understand myself better and control the effects of the emotions.”

“American Girl has great books on emotions too.”

“This is all such great advice. The only thing I have to add is the emotional side of PMS. It helps to understand that you may feel a certain way before your period and that it can be associated to your hormonal balance more than an event that occurred. For example, I remember being confused by how depressed I was. And then I made the connection that it intensified right around my period. After that, I began listening to my body more and trying to make informed decisions rather than merely succumbing to any emotion I felt. I know emotions are complicated and many factors are at play, but young girls need to know that hormones are one possibility.”

“I noticed that if my sister or I were upset with my mom and struggling to get along with her, she tended to use it as an excuse to why we’re weren’t cooperating. It was really frustrating to feel like she refused to listen because we were “hormonal.” Often she was dead wrong too.”

infertility

Infertility:

“I think it’s important to not make it only about being able to become a mother because what if they struggle with infertility? I know that even now, after I was finally able to get pregnant and give birth, I shudder a bit when women act as if just because you have your period now you have the ability to get pregnant. I felt broken for many years, and still kind of do, plus it made me hate my period even more because I felt like if I couldn’t get pregnant then what was the use of it? So I love the idea of celebrating becoming a woman but if it’s all about the ability to become a mother that could backfire at some point. Just my personal experience.”

I had wished i would have known that just because your mom gets pregnant either doesn’t mean you will. I learned a lot about my body trying to deal with infertility/miscarriages etc. wish I would have had a better understanding of that when I was growing up.”

“I relate to this so much.  For years, I struggled to love my body in spite of my perception of its brokenness. Broken brain, broken uterus. I’ve finally, just in the past year, accepted my body for the amazing gift that it is, brokenness included.”

clean

Keeping Clean:

“I kept meaning to come back here and add something that I really like having around… Flushable wipes!! I use Kirkland brand ones from Costco. They help me feel like I’m getting much cleaner than when I just use TP.”

“Also, since we’re talking about unmentionables…I got a bidet for christmas and am pretty optimistic about how lovely it will be when that time rolls around 😉 :)”

cups

Menstrual cups:

“Haven’t read through all the comments but I seriously LOVE my Sckoon Cup. I did a lot of research about menstrual cups and finally decided on this brand. There was a little learning curve, but the more familiar with your cycle and female anatomy, the easier it is to use. My periods are shorter, there’s less chaffing, and the fear of “when is it going to start/end” is gone. On my heaviest days I do have to empty it more often and still wear a pad or liner, just to be safe. I can’t wait to try those fancy panties! Then all my problems will be solved .”

“I also use a Lunette cup, which I L.O.V.E. But I wasn’t able to use anything internally until after I’d had sex, not even the slim tampons.”

“I love my diva cups knock-offs! I got a set of two for something like $10 on amazon. They come in a little satin bag. It would definitely be worth a try. I’ve read a few comments and I didn’t even attribute it to using them, but I do think my cramps are less intense and don’t last as long since I’ve been using them this past year! I don’t have any other advice….since my girls are 4 and 2 .”

“Ive worn a lady cup for years – I’ll never go back & wish I had it as a youth when I was so embarrassed!!!!”

“Diva Cup. There are other brands, and they all seem comparable, but you need to make sure you get the ones for pre-childbirth/pre-thirty. Read and follow the directions well. I’ve only had leakage on my periods after a C-section, which tend to be much heavier for a few months. Wearing a pantry liner was all I needed even then.”

“Just so you know, my younger, unmarried sisters said that the diva cup felt too long, but they like the Luna cup on Amazon. ”

“The Diva Cup changed my life. There is a learning curve and I’d imagine it’s even steeper when one hasn’t used tampons or had a baby. I love using it though. 12 hours in between emptying it. Maybe a light liner underneath. I’ve had one accident in several years and it was my own mess up. Worth looking in to.”

“I recently ordered an off brand (after I left my diva at a hotel 😦 ) and it seems to be just as great as the diva 🙂here’s an even cheaper one

I second a menstrual cup!! They do come in smaller sizes and there’s a lot of options on Amazon. I could ask my sister which brand she found that worked for her daughter since we’re not quite there yet.”

“Diva cup for sure. I think I’ve had one for 7 years, no accidents.i hated it at first because of the learning curve. I was always checking it and re inserting. I’m so happy I stuck with it!”

“My main recommendation in a menstrual cup is to get one that is not dyed a color. I don’t want dyes in contact with my innards. And yes, they come in all sizes. The learning curve comes with having to touch yourself, getting a bit on your hands, and getting the position right, including turning it to ensure a seal. I’m glad that I persisted. Game changer, for sure.”

“Diva cup is great. Little bit of a learning curve but honestly if they’re at the beginning and already learning- might as well learn with it. And so much healthier with out all the chemicals in pads and tampons.”

“I have the Lena cup and I really wanted to like it but it isn’t working out so well so far, but I’m going to keep trying to see if I can make myself love it. I hate pads.
I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do it when I was a teenager, but, I also was terrified of everything at that point.”

“I spilled mine the first time I removed it… but so comfortable and you done have to worry about it.”

“I have a cup now, but it’s not my favorite. I still feel like it randomly leaks on me when it’s not full, etc. And it can be kinds gross emptying it if you aren’t right next to a sink. I want to love it.”

“Can u swim In the cup?  YES you can.”

“The cup avoids all the chemicals and harmful products in tampons… But I have not been able to convince my girls they are not “gross”. My health is far better and periods far better since making that one change. I used to have infections all the time–can’t be too gross if I am healthier eh. Bleeding far less too and convinced there is a correlation.”

pads

Pads:

“Amen about Always brand pads, being thin and absorbent for heavy flows! And I do the same for my girls, with a small makeup bag with extra pads/tampons in it that they put inside of their backpack.”

“I really love Always Infinity pads. They had three different absorbencies. I have super heavy periods so I like to wear the yellow ones with a tampon on my heavier days and on my “lighter” days I wear the green ones. Their overnight ones are great too. They are thin and barely noticeable and they absorb like nothing I’ve ever experienced! I don’t ever leak with these and I’ve always been so heavy that I leak on a regular basis.”

“I primarily use cloth pads. You can get them in really cute fabrics and just use a little wet bag they can tuck into their bags.”

“She also seemed to like the bedtime pads. She said they were bulky but she didn’t mind knowing that she didn’t wake up to a messy bed. She always likes to carry a purse size body spray of her choice. She gets to choose two from her favorite store/brand. She also got to choose a special pouch to put her pads in. She loved this idea. It is something that we do together as mom and daughter day.”

“When I switched to chemical-free menstrual products, my period became lighter & much less crampy.  Cloth pads are awesome! Easy easy easy to make too. They clean easily and are no more disgusting than paper products.”

“The new always infinity pads are amazing!”

“I stay away from plastic pads any day I can avoid them (lighter days) and use washable cotton ones–not diapers at all :)”

“I do like cloth pads although they are not as sure proof as plastic. You gotta know when to use them.”

“Cloth pads! Seriously they are great. I couldn’t do tampons before I was married. Things were just too tight. I get less leaks from tampons. But I hate all the chemicals, which is why I did cloth pads for a while. I kind of alternate depending on my mood that month.”

“If i have to wear a pad always infinity is the best.”

“Always has a newer pad style (always infinity) that is super thin and crazy absorbent!!! like no joke it’s surprising!”

“Chemical free is always a safe bet because you don’t want some crazy hormone altering chemicals down there. I like Seventh Generation pads, they make tampons too. Reusable is always an option.”

“Thin, overnight, with wings and odor control.”

“I use cloth pads, and I just love them! I have pads made by my friend Denelle.”

“I have a few patterns around (for cloth pads).  They are pretty easy. I like the ones I just kind of traced and serged up, haha.  You can do pul or fleece backed to help make them leak proof. Pul tends to slide around a bit more and not breathe quite as well, but fleece is thicker. I like to top with minky or crushed panne or a wicking fabric because they all help pull moisture away from the body. Inside you just need something absorbent. Microfiber, several layers of flannel, etc. I love my heavy bamboo fleece, but I used it for diaper making and you usually have to order it online.  I tested this a while back and it gives a lot of different options. The wings are sewn separately so it can be nice if you are piecing fabric, but it makes them a bit more fussy to sew. Not bad at all though. And it gives them a little more fitted shape once the wings are fastened.  I haven’t tried this one, but I know the designer and love her cloth diaper patterns.”

panties

Period Panties:

“I bought a pair of thinx. It’s not my fav. It feels super thick to me. I might have liked them as a teen but idk? They’re spendy.”

“I agree, Thinx were too thick, not comfortable at all.”

“Check out period panties. Seriously a few companies have boomed on the market that make these amazing underwear that can be decent looking and save us from embarrassing moments!!  Companies like Thinx or dear Kate .  Here’s a review link you can check into for them.”

“Have you heard of Thinx panties? I have them and LOVE them.!  They are a little spendy but the extra proceeds go to girls in countries without sanitary products. And they work!! And they are comfy and actually look nice”

tampons

Tampons:

“Also, my fav brand is U by Kotex Click. I use the tampons with the thinnest, smallest panty liner and that’s good enough to catch leaks without feeling like a diaper. Also the tampons are travel sized and will fit discreetly in a handheld bag. I just got my daughter one from the dollar bin at Walmart, it’s small enough to fit a few of each inside, and even a tiny pill holder.”

“If you are going to go with tampons, you should look into organic options. i know that sounds stupid but many forms of cancer and tract infections have been linked to tampon use.”

“My daughter started later than your girls and really disliked tampons. She is 18 now and I recently found out she wasn’t inserting them far enough. I thought I had shown and told her well enough but I never bothered to check.”

“I prefer the tampax pearl sport tampons which are thinner.”

“If you do go the tampon route I really recommend organic unbleached cotton. I actually have a bad reaction to tampons and can’t use them but those seem to be better and then they won’t have the added chemicals … plastic applicators helped”

“Depending on age, I would look into tampons. U by Kotex are the most comfortable and I have tried them all. (Black box). Do not do cardboard applicators. As their flow gets less and less it hurts to insert cardboard as you’re so dry.”

“Also, the right size of tampon. Regular may not be big or small enough.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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