These tips are part of our Period Series, which aims to help tweens understand the changes they're going through without feeling ashamed. We'll try to dispel all the myths your teen may hear and help her to better understand that menstruation affects everyone and is a natural part of growing up.
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The day has finally arrived, whether you've been waiting with bated breath or dreading it, your period is here! Your parent or caregiver gave you a really embarrassing and gross talk about how "you're a woman now" and your body is changing and then handed you a pad and tampon and proceeded to give you an even more embarrassing demonstration about what to do with them.
Managing your first period at home isn't so bad. If you're in pain, you can crawl right back into your bed and clutch your stomach tightly hoping that the harder you squeeze the faster the pain will go away. Your family is surprisingly understanding and is giving you your space and you can secretly cry in peace.
However, what will happen when you go back to school? You don't want everyone in your class to know that Aunt Flo has come to visit, but it's not like your period lasts a day and then things are back to normal. In fact, you've got a week, and then a lot of years ahead of you. Fear not, we've got you covered!
Also read: 7 signs of early puberty
In a small pouch, pack the following for your period days at school:
- A few pads or tampons
- Pantyliners (if you use tampons)
- Extra undies (you never know)
- A few painkillers
- Hand sanitizer/hand wipes
Remember to change your pad or tampon every four to six hours, using clean hands and clean products. For the first few days, you may want to use products for a heavy flow and towards the end of your period, switch to regular or light flow products.
Don't wear your favourite pair of underwear while you're on your period – instead, ask mom to buy you an affordable packet of big, unflattering, hip-hugging briefs, preferably in black. These are now your Period Pants. They're big enough to hold everything in, including your bloated belly. Wear dark-coloured nylon cycling shorts under your school uniform for an extra layer of protection against unwanted leakages.
Also read: Stain Remover
What about lunch?
For lunch, pack food that's rich in iron like raisins. You're losing blood while you're on your period and the loss of iron may make you feel drained and tired. Iron-rich foods help with your energy levels so you can be attentive during the day.
Pack a small block of dark chocolate for your period days. Dark chocolate is a great mood booster, it's rich in iron and reduces stress.
Please try and stay away from greasy fried junk food, it'll make you feel even more lethargic, bloated and gassy (trust me, farting on your period is not a vibe).
- Also read: Great foods for teen girls
Oh, the pain!
If you suffer from period cramps, take some medication but make sure it's not the type that makes your sleepy. You still have a full day of school ahead of you. When you get home, run yourself a warm bath or use a hot water bottle or heating pad on the areas that are throbbing. Exercise may be the last thing on your mind when you're on the period, but a few sit-ups or jogging around the house can help. Grab a skipping rope and jump on the spot for a few minutes – moving around helps with blood flow and alleviates pain.
Stain, stain, go away!
What if you stain your undies? Cold water is your friend! You may be tempted to use hot water, but cold water will break down the blood in the fabric much quicker. Use the large dark green bar of Sunlight to wash out the stain, but white vinegar or baking soda can work too. Beware, bleach can sometimes leave blotchy stains on dark fabric. For older stains, leave them in cold water for 6-12 hours – overnight is even better – then proceed to wash as normal.
A last word on odours:
Many people can also worry about the smell of their period. Period blood doesn't smell badly, but it's not very pleasing either. To prevent bad smells, bath or shower every day, wear clean underwear every day, change your tampon, pad or pantyliner every 4 hours and wear comfortable jeans (avoid the tight kind).
Now that you're all set, enjoy your day and you'll be back to your normal self in a few days... until next month.
What tips and hacks to you have for first time menstruators? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we may publish your comments.
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