Feminine Hygiene: Sanitary Pads And Products

As girls enter puberty, bodily changes require that they become familiar with feminine hygiene products they will need for several decades.

Preteen or teenage girls face the dilemma of managing their monthly cycle, or menses, with the help of personal hygiene products. Sanitary pads and tampons are the two items that help a girl deal with the flow she experiences on average about five days each month. However, some girls do not receive correct or complete information on how to effectively use these products.

1. Explain to your daughter that there are now several types of protection available on the market. For example, there are pads for lighter days, some for night-time use, and others that conform to fit the shape of a female body. Most pads have small tapes that allow them to stick to underwear for greater security. The option of using tampons remains under debate for young girls since a few have become victims of Toxic Shock Syndrome.

2. Know when to involve a medical professional. Your family doctor or an office nurse may be able to comfortably discuss the way a pad should be worn and how it is to be used. For example, pads ought to be changed every two to four hours depending on how heavy the flow is. If the flow seeps through a pad, it needs to be changed sooner to protect the underwear or clothing from stains. In addition, the girl should tell her mom or dad if the flow is heavy, as this may signal a potential problem.

3. Teach young girls where to buy this type of protection, how to store it, and how to dispose of items properly. Discarded pads or tampons need to be wrapped in tissue or packaging and then dropped into the trash container. They should never be flushed into the toilet as this may cause it to back up and overflow. Used sanitary items should never be left lying around or improperly disposed of.

4. Douching solutions are not very good for the female body and actually offer little aid against bacteria or odor. Discourage your daughter from trying a douche or spray since she probably doesn't need it and such products can lead, although infrequently, to possible inflammation or infection as well as allergic reactions in isolated cases.

5. Remind your daughter to carry a few pads with her a day or two before her period is due to begin. She should track her period on a calendar to have some idea of when it will start. Carrying products will help her feel secure and avoid an "accident." She also may wish to keep a pad in her purse or in her locker in case the period comes unexpectedly. Parents should keep this item in stock at home, since running out of them before a period can create inconvenience and haste when it finally starts.

Many of these tips are just basic common sense. Yet all of us can use a few friendly reminders at times. Go over guidelines like these with your daughter to help her prepare for and manage this important part of her coming-of-age years.

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