Menstrual Care

WHEN DOES THE FIRST MENSTRUAL PERIOD BEGIN?

Teenager needs to be aware that it is perfectly normal for periods to start anywhere between the ages 10 and 15. It can begin as early as age 8 years and as late as age 16 years. Monthly periods are a natural and wonderful part of being a woman where the body get ready to become pregnant. Most women don’t choose to have a baby until they’re in their twenties. The first period may be very light or spotting may occur. Some girls have regular monthly periods but other girls might miss a period or have two periods in a month. This can be normal initially and can take some time for periods to become regular.

 

Teenagers can participate in sports even thought during menses

 

DO I HAVE TO STOP PLAYING SPORTS OR SWIMMING WHILE MENSTRUATING?

Girls should understand that during menses, they can do everything they normally would do including sports and even swimming, as long as they’re comfortable.  They may choose to wear a tampon so they can continue to swim while menstruating. Teenagers can participate in sports even though during menses

 

SHOULD I CLEAN THE GENITAL AREA?

Keeping the genital area clean by daily washing is obviously important in maintaining good health. All vaginal deodorants, sprays, perfumed bath oil, bubble baths and deodorised pads should be avoided. These can cause severe irritation and inflammation and may be responsible for many cases of recurrent cystitis and vaginitis. Cleansing the vagina with plain water is advisable especially after menstruation.

 

SHOULD I USE PADS OR TAMPONS?

Sanitary pads and tampons are very comfortable and don’t get in the way. You just have to remember to change them often. During your periods you can use pads, panty liners or tampons to soak up menstrual blood. You may want to use several of these products. Some girls like to use tampons on heavy days and pads or panty liners on lighter days. Some girls like to wear tampons during the day and pads at night or combine the two together.

 

HOW TO USE PAD?

Pads come in different sizes, style, thickness and length. Some have ‘wings’ that fold under your panty to provide better protection. Some are extra thick and long for heavy flow or for night use. Choose a pad based on your body size, the amount of menstrual flow and for your own comfort. Pads should be change about 4-6 hours or whenever they seem full or when you feel wet or uncomfortable to avoid overflow and unnecessary embarrassment. Some girls change their pads each time they urinate.

 

Sanitary pad with ‘wing’

 

WHEN TO USE PANTY LINERS?

Panty liners are thinner and shorter than pads. Use panty liners when your menstrual flow is light or when you are having spotting, like at the start or at the end of your menses.

 

HOW TO USE TAMPONS?

Tampons are worn inside the vagina to soak the menstrual flow as it leaves the body. Most come with plastic or cardboard applicators that are used to slide the tampon into your vagina. A short string attached to the end of the tampon hangs out of your vagina to let you remove it later. Tampons come in different sizes and can absorb different amounts of blood flow. You have to look at the package to know how much it can absorb. Usually, girls are more comfortable using pads at first and may want to start using tampon when they get older.  It can be difficult to insert a tampon at first because the muscles of the vagina can become tense when you are nervous. It is important to relax as much as possible during insertion of the tampon. It is advisable to start with a slim tampon with an applicator because they can be easier to insert and remove later. As with pads, tampons should be changed after 4-6 hours or earlier depending on your menstrual flow.

 

Tampons

 

IS TOXIC SHOCK SYNDROME (TSS) ASSOCIATED WITH TAMPON USE?

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare but serious bacterial infection that can be associated with tampon use. TSS that is associated with tampon use can be always prevented by changing tampons regularly and by using the smallest absorbency needed. The main precaution is to change tampons every 4-6 hours or more frequently if the menstrual flow is heavy.

 

WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN HAVING DISCOMFORT OR PAIN DURING MENSTRUATION?

See Dysmenorrhoea and Premenstrual Syndrome. A teenager may have pain in the lower abdomen or lower back when their menses start. This is normal and can be relieved with over the counter pain medicine such as paracetamol or place a healing pad or hot water bottle on your abdomen.

 

Last Reviewed : 18 July 2013
Content Writer : Dr. Wan Fadhilah bt. Wan Ismail