Most parents get stranded when it comes to talking to their girls about sex and sexuality issues, which include body and mental preparedness on tackling onset of menstruation and changes that come with it.
Caroline Minju of ‘The Birds and Bees’ youth programme which empowers young people and parents on issues of spirituality and socially says: “Mostly girls and parents are at loss especially when it comes to hormonal changes, mood swings, and body changes to young teens.”
Below are some of the most asked questions which parents find difficult to answer with suggested answers from Minju, just to assist a mommy or daddy who might find themselves having to field a tough one from a little somebody.
Q At what age can I use tampons?
A What age to start using tampons is a personal decision. The main thing is how to use them. A girl must know how to insert a tampon properly so that it feels comfortable. Buy the lowest absorbency and slimmest tampons available and also with soft applicators, rather than with cardboard-type applicators which will make insertion easier and more comfortable for young girls
Q Can I go swimming during my periods?
A Yes you can swim during your periods. You may have heard that it’s unsafe to swim during your periods, but that is just an old myth. As long as you feel fine periods should never stop you from pursuing your regular activities, including swimming. But NOTE when swimming during your periods use a tampon to keep from bleeding through your bathing suit or clothes.
Q How often do girls have periods?
A During the first few years of menstruation, periods are often irregular. Many girls skip several months between their first period and the next, or a girl may have two periods in a month or spot every few weeks. This is quite normal with time it regulates but if the flow is very heavy and takes more than 7 days at a time or continues to be absent it is important to consult a doctor.
Q Does Sports affect menstruation?
A. Some sports are more closely associated with menstrual abnormalities than others including competing professionally. Although the cause of period changes in athletes is not clearly understood, it might be due to a combination of extreme amount of exercise, increased lean body mass, adequate nutrition and competition related stress. It is rare but if you think it’s unusual a visit to a doctor is important.
Q I am still a virgin can I use Tampons
A Some girls worry that if they use tampons, they will no longer be virgins. The truth is, a virgin is someone who has never had sexual intercourse. Inserting a tampon is definitely not the same as having sex!