It would be so much easier to cover your ears and scream at the top of your lungs to avoid dealing with the fact that your teen daughter will begin menstruating and will likely have sex before she gets married. And though many of us hope that abstinence will be the path that our daughter’s take, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t many other valid reasons that she should begin taking care of her reproductive system in her early teens.
Dealing with these emotionally fraught topics isn’t easy. But, ignoring them leaves your poor daughter grappling with these subjects all alone. You can’t let your discomfort negatively impact her health and wellbeing. Instead, help her know what to expect.
Her First Period
Your first period can be scary. Even when you know it is coming, seeing blood is always unnerving. So, it’s important to have a hygienic, well-prepared plan in place. Make sure that you have a variety of feminine hygiene products on hand before she gets her period. It’s not super common for young teens to use tampons, but she might want the option. You also need a few different products to deal with flow level. Teach her how all of these work.
You also need to help her understand basic upkeep. She has to shower daily when she has her period, and she needs to change her feminine product of choice every 4-8 hours.
She should also learn how to chart her period, so she can be mindful of her cycle. This will help her detect any problems that disrupt it, like fibroids or a thyroid irregularity.
In addition, have some general pain relievers and a heating pad or hot water bottle on hand. She will need your help to deal with cramps, which ca n be quite excruciating for some women. If she experiences a lot of pain, don’t discredit it or try to minimize her feelings. Be supportive.
Her First Gynecologist Visit
As you know, the first visit with a new doctor always involves a discussion of the patient’s history and of family history. Give her information about family diseases and deaths, especially those relevant to a women’s healthcare professional, like cervical or breast cancer or endometriosis. The best help you can provide is to either go with her (which she may want) or type up a document with all the information for her (in case she wants to do it on her own).
You also need to help her come up with questions to ask. She will probably be nervous and shy about asking questions involving such a personal area of her body, but she needs to be able to advocate for her help and get past that. Having a list of questions helps. Common questions relate to sex, sexually transmitted infections, hormones, periods, birth control, and other health concerns, like alcohol use or alcohol addiction. You can also give her a list of questions you want answered by the doctor. This can be easier than discussing them with her yourself.
Make sure that she feels comfortable being honest. She will probably worry about whether or not she should shave her legs and the embarrassment of being examined. But, she also needs to be empowered to advocate for what she wants and needs. This will serve her well in any future medical situations. If she feels like she simply can’t be open with her doctor, then let her know it is OK to find another. When she has a doctor she both likes and trusts, it will make a huge difference. Otherwise, she may put off future visits and put herself and her health in danger.
Maria C. Lopez is a health and wellness blogger that writes especially about addiction and its treatment. To know more of the approaches and program applied such as effective treatment for meth abuse, visit us at: https://www.addictions.com.