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Puberty Appendix A: Teaching Girls How To Manage Menstruation

Angela Oswalt Morelli , MSW, edited by Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

Many families will contain adult women quite capable of teaching young girls unfamiliar with how to deal with menstruation what they need to know. However, other families may not have ready access to this common, yet specialized, wisdom. The following guide is intended to aid the latter families, and contains specific detail about how women manage their menstrual cycles important for young women to learn and understand.

teen girl deep in thoughtYoung ladies need to learn how to cope with their menstrual periods, and other vaginal discharge, in a healthy way. This is typically accomplished through the use of feminine hygiene supplies, including pads and tampons, which serve their purpose by absorbing and/or containing the menstrual flow. Properly applied, women's clothing remains protected from what would otherwise be continual and bloody menstrual flow, and women remain free to pursue their activities without being continually reminded of or interrupted by their flow. As supplies reach their absorbent limit after a few hours, they can be easily and quickly discarded and replaced with a minimum of mess and interruption.

Pads attached externally to underwear and come with adhesive strips that hold the pad in place. In contrast, tampons require internal insertion into the vagina. Some younger girls may feel uncomfortable about inserting a tampon into their bodies. Generally, younger adolescents should start by using pads, rather than tampons, in order to become familiar with measuring and monitoring their flow; and to develop the habit of regularly checking and changing hygiene supplies.