Menstruation and First Periods

What Girls Want to Know About Getting Their Periods

Teenage girl laying on sofa using laptop
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Is a Girl Ever Too Young For Tampons?

My daughter just started her period last Friday (she's 12) and has already inquired about using tampons. I believe the no swimming w/pads thing was the motivating factor! Anyone have any words of wisdom? Can one be too young to use tampons? 

What age to start using tampons is really a personal decision. If your daughter decides to use tampons, be sure that she knows how to insert a tampon properly so that it feels comfortable.

Buy the lowest absorbency and slimmest tampons available. Buying tampons with soft applicators, rather than with cardboard-type applicators will make insertion easier and more comfortable for young girls.

Absent Periods

My stepdaughter started her period last November. She had it again in January and then February. She turned 13 years old in February. She is concerned that she has not had a period since February. I too am getting a bit concerned. Is this normal for a young girl to stop her period for such a long period of time? --

Skipping periods and irregular menstruation is quite normal during the first few years after a girl starts her periods. Tell your daughter to relax, her periods will become regular soon enough!

If absence of menstruation continues a trip to the doctor might be worth your time.

Activity & Abnormal Bleeding

My teenaged daughter has experienced abnormal periods in the last 2-3 mos. She has had regular periods for two years, now her periods have been slight but have lasted three weeks at a time. Today, after three weeks of irregular bleeding, she had an unexpected big discharge at school, that soaked through her feminine protection and clothes. She is not sexually active. She started track, and soccer practices in the last three months, and has trained hard in addition to an already busy schedule. Other than being occasionally tired out, she has otherwise been well and happy. Could the increase in physical activity have an affect on her menstrual periods?

Some sports are more closely associated with menstrual abnormalities than others including running. This usually occurs only in women who are competing professionally, but it's possible that your daughter's schedule is tough enough to cause these problems.

Although the cause of period changes in athletes is not clearly understood, it is thought to be caused by a combination of an extreme amount of exercise, increased lean body mass, inadequate nutrition, and competition related stress.

It's rare for this to happen and there is no guarantee that your daughter's problem is caused by her exercise schedule. A visit to your physician may be in order to be sure nothing is wrong.

Tampon Alternatives

I have been doing a little research into alternatives to pads and tampons. The things I am most interested in so far are the cup products (Instead and Keeper) and using natural sponges. All of these are supposed to be one time purchases. In the case of natural sponges they are supposed to last quite a while. The other two, if I remember correctly, are supposed to last 10 years. So, if anyone out there has tried any of these options, could you let me know what you think of them, and any problems you have had? I know that things cannot be as easy as the advertisements say. I'm interested in hearing what they are really like.

The Instead Cup is available at your local pharmacy or grocery store. It is not reusable. One of the advantages of the Instead Softcup is that it can be left in place for up to 12 hours depending on how heavy your flow is.

Removal can be messy, but if properly inserted it can make you feel almost like you are not on your period.

The Keeper is a natural rubber gum cup that can be reused for at least ten years. It holds about 1 ounce of blood (you lose about 3 ounces during each menstrual cycle) and must be emptied and rinsed every 6-12 hours. Women in many countries use the sea sponge--a natural, not man-made choice that absorbs moisture and fits to the contours of your body. You should inspect the sponge for debris before using it and be sure to boil it for 1 or 2 minutes. Once you have used it you must rinse the sponge in warm soapy water before reinsertion. A solution of vinegar and water can be used to deodorize the sponge.

Bleeding Black and Brown Clots

A friend of mine is bleeding black and brown since the start of her period a couple of days ago. Is this bad? She said she has a lot of pain down there, too. She's really afraid of what could be wrong with her. If anyone knows anything about bleeding black and brown, please help us out. Oh, and she had her last period 2 weeks ago, so she is early. Could this just be left over from last time? 

Many times, young women are frightened when they discover dark clots of tissue in their menstruation. Most often, this is a part of the endometrium (uterine lining) shedding and is nothing to be concerned about. If your friend continues to have severe cramps or abnormal periods, she should contact her healthcare provider for an evaluation.

Group Menstruation

I'm a college student and I've found that although my roommates and I were all on different menstrual schedules, now we bleed as a team. Why is this? 

Odorless chemical signals given off by women called pheromones can change a woman's menstrual cycle so that women in group settings often menstruate during the same time.

Abnormal Periods

My periods have usually been on time and of a normal length, but sometimes the blood is very thick and gooey. I never really worried to much until this month when my period lasted 16 days. I have never been to a gynecologist and am wondering if I should go, if this may be something to worry about. Is thick and gooey blood normal? How about the long period? I am only 18 years old. 

First you need to see a gynecologist for a Pap smear and pelvic exam. All women, whether sexually active or not, need to begin annual GYN exams at the age of 18. Women under 18 who are sexually active should also begin GYN visits as soon as they become sexually active. There's no way to tell online whether the consistency of your menstrual blood is normal. You should also be sure to discuss the length of your period when you see your doctor and let him determine if your bleeding is abnormal. Contact your physician anytime you experience abnormal periods.

Group Menstruation

I'm a college student and I've found that although my roommates and I were all on different menstrual schedules, now we bleed as a team. Why is this? 

Odorless chemical signals given off by women called pheromones can change a woman's menstrual cycle so that women in group settings often menstruate during the same time.

Abnormal Periods

My periods have usually been on time and of a normal length, but sometimes the blood is very thick and gooey. I never really worried to much until this month when my period lasted 16 days. I have never been to a gynecologist and am wondering if I should go, if this may be something to worry about. Is thick and gooey blood normal? How about the long period? I am only 18 years old. 

First you need to see a gynecologist for a Pap smear and pelvic exam. All women, whether sexually active or not, need to begin annual GYN exams at the age of 18. Women under 18 who are sexually active should also begin GYN visits as soon as they become sexually active. There's no way to tell online whether the consistency of your menstrual blood is normal. You should also be sure to discuss the length of your period when you see your doctor and let him determine if your bleeding is abnormal. Contact your physician anytime you experience abnormal periods.

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