Period myths... we've all heard them. Periods may seem simple to you now, but remember back to when you were a girl and they seemed so mysterious? Your daughter may be feeling that way right now. She could be wondering when her first period will come. She may even be scared about it!
Here are 8 common period myths you can dispel for your girl during your next mother and daughter talk.
Myth: She can't get pregnant during her period
It's not likely, but there's always a chance. Ovulation can be unpredictable and so can menstrual cycles.
Myth: She should rest during her period and avoid exercise
If you feel like exercising, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. It's actually a great way of controlling PMS symptoms and menstrual cramps because it increases the supply of oxygen to your muscles.
Myth: She must see a doctor after her first period
Unless there is a problem like severe pain or bleeding, she probably doesn’t need to see a gynecologist just yet. Typically, women should begin annual exams when they become sexually active or when they turn 18, whichever comes first.
Myth: Her period should last for exactly one week
Everyone’s period is different. It's perfectly natural for a period to last anywhere between three to seven days. A period may be irregular, especially when it first begins. If after the first year of having her period, it's typically longer or shorter than a week, she should talk with a doctor about it.
Myth: Virgins shouldn't wear tampons
The myth is that girls who haven't had sex will find wearing tampons painful. This isn’t true, although levels of comfort depend on the person. For example, some girls prefer to use tampons with plastic applicators because they glide in smoothly. Another concern is that tampons can somehow “take away your virginity.” It may sound silly, but remind your daughter that the only way she can lose her virginity is by having sex. If she’s new to tampons and pantiliners, get a variety pack of each so she can try different sizes and styles.
Myth: She can’t swim during her period
Pads don’t work in the water. So if your daughter is planning a trip to the pool during her period, remind her to use a tampon. If she prefers not to use tampons, suggest that she wear a pad in her swimsuit and stick to water-free sunbathing instead of swimming.
Myth: Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is all in the mind
PMS symptoms are related to the way your daughter’s hormones change through her monthly cycle. Symptoms can be emotional (like irritability, depression or fatigue, and physical (cramps or headaches). Check out the facts on PMS and get some tips for minimizing the very real symptoms of PMS.
Myth: Talking to your daughter about periods before she starts will scare her
What’s more likely is that if you don’t talk to her first, she may be scared when she starts bleeding! It's always a good idea to be open and honest with your daughter. Because girls typically begin menstruation any time between ages 9 and 16 (for most girls, between 11 and 13), it’s hard to know when to have the first period mother daughter talk.
Look for signs in your daughter’s development, like budding breasts and an increase in perspiration, acne and underarm hair. These clues can help you to know that she has entered puberty and you should continue (or open) the dialogue.
We think sooner is better than later for an introductory chat. That way, she knows early on that you’re open to helping her any way you can. Then remind her every once in a while that she can talk to you about anything, any time. Get tips for your first mother and daughter talk.