So if you were like probably 99% of the boys in school that kind of glazed over and ignored health class when they talked about PMS and menstruation (period) (I was going to say 100%, but I can’t say that for sure! LOL) I am pretty sure you thought like I thought I would never really need to know the whole story, but surprise I have a daughter and one day I might be the only one around when she has her first period and I want to be prepared and I thought I would share the knowledge with you in an easy to read post!
Now I realize that this may make some of you squirmy thinking about it, but what better support can you be for your daughter with knowledge. I know Olivia is only just turning 7, but that leaves me so little time to prepare myself for the years to come. After all I may have as little as 6 years. Besides it’s always good to learn something new right?
Hopefully by this point in your daughters life you and her have that type of relationship where she’s not afraid or embarrassed to come to you because your her dad and a man. Let her know from a young age that she can come to you for anything and as she does get older let her know out right that when her period does come that she can come to you.
Premenstrual Syndrome – Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a group of symptoms linked to the menstrual cycle. PMS symptoms occur 1 to 2 weeks before her period starts. The symptoms usually go away after she starts bleeding. PMS can affect menstruating women of any age and the effect is different for each woman. For some PMS is just a monthly bother. For others, it may be so severe that it makes it hard to even get through the day.
Symptoms of PMS – Acne, swollen tender breasts, tiredness, trouble sleeping, upset stomach, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, headache, backache, appetite changes or food cravings, joint or muscle pain, trouble with concentration or memory, tension, irritability, mood swings, crying, anxiety or depression.
Ok I don’t know about you dads out there, but after listing all the possible PMS symptoms all I can say is WOW! I knew them, but when you condense them and actually write each one out that’s a huge possibility list! It’s good to know and to watch her as she may not realize what’s going on with her body as it’s all new to her as well. I will say though if you notice something quite off take her to her doctor so she can be seen. The doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, medication or alternative therapies.
Menstruation – Is a woman’s monthly bleeding. When she menstruates, her body sheds the lining of the uterus (womb) Menstrual blood flows from the uterus through the small opening in the cervix and passes out the body via the vagina and usually lasts 3-5 days.
So thanks to Google you can get the information on what a typical period is like!
What is a typical period? During her period she sheds the thickened uterine lining and extra blood through the vagina. Her period may not be the same every month. Periods can be light, moderate, or heavy in terms of how much blood comes out. This is called menstrual flow. The length of the period also varies. Most periods last from 3 to 5 days, but anywhere from 2 to 7 days is normal. For the first few years after menstruation begins, longer cycles are common. A woman’s cycle tends to shorten and become more regular with age. Most of the time, periods will be in the range of 21 to 35 days apart.
Problems she can have with her period – Women can have a range of problems with their periods, including pain, heavy bleeding, and skipped periods.
- Amenorrhea – the lack of a menstrual period. This term is used to describe the absence of a period in Young women who haven’t started menstruating by age 15 or Women and girls who haven’t had a period for 90 days, even if they haven’t been menstruating for long.
- Causes can include – Extreme weight loss, Eating disorders, Excessive exercising, Stress, Serious medical conditions in need of treatment, Pregnancy, Breastfeeding
- Dysmenorrhea – painful periods, including severe cramps. Menstrual cramps in teens are caused by too much of a chemical called prostaglandin. Most teens with dysmenorrhea do not have a serious disease, even though the cramps can be severe. For some, using a heating pad or taking a warm bath helps ease their cramps. Some over-the-counter pain medicines can also help with these symptoms like Ibuprofen, Ketoprofen or Naproxen. If these medications don’t relieve the pain, you should take her to see her doctor.
- Abnormal uterine bleeding – vaginal bleeding that’s different from normal menstrual periods. It includes Bleeding between periods, Spotting anytime in the menstrual cycle, Bleeding heavier or for more days than normal, Bleeding after sex.
Ok so that is a lot of information, but it’s all good information to have! You never know the things that can happen and I can’t stress enough… If you don’t know and there’s concern take her to her doctor!
Lets talk a bit about sanitary napkins, tampons and menstrual cups!
Although this is going to come down to personal preference as your daughter discovers what makes her feel more comfortable I would imagine if it was you that had to run out and get a feminine hygiene product it would be a pad (sanitary napkin). I say this because it would be the easiest for her to use and understand and I am sure most doctors would recommend it! So here is what each of the products are as you might as well understand what each does.
Sanitary napkin (pad) – A sanitary napkin, sanitary towel, sanitary pad, menstrual pad, or pad is an absorbent item worn by a woman during her period to absorb the flow of blood.
Tampon – a plug of soft material inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual blood.
Menstrual cup – A menstrual cup is a feminine hygiene product which is usually made of medical grade silicone shaped like a bell and is flexible. It is worn inside the vagina during menstruation to catch menstrual fluid. Unlike tampons and pads, the cup collects menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it.
Well there you go I tried my best to keep this post as compact as I could and give you as much information as I possibly could. I hope you find this helpful and at least a starting point.