I got my period! Now I have a few questions...

Now that your daughter has her period, it’s likely that she also has questions! Our contributing pediatrician, Dr. Inga Sazan has put together some information you and your daughter will find useful as you start this conversation.

How long will my period last?

Periods last anywhere from 3 to 7 days.  Typically, your flow will be heavier in the first day or two and gradually become lighter with each day.

What is flow?

Flow refers to how much blood is coming out.  If your flow is heavy, you have a lot of blood coming out.  If your flow is light, then not much blood is coming out. Flow is important because depending on how much blood is coming out will determine which products you will use and how often you change them.

I’m using Ashlyn Lee pads. How often should I change them?

It is recommended that you change your pad every 3-4 hours, depending on your flow.

What about Ashlyn Lee pantyliners… when do I use those?

Ashlyn Lee pantyliners can be worn during the last days of your periods when your flow is very light.  Pantyliners are small, thin pads that won’t handle a lot of blood but are perfect to protect your underwear from a little staining on your last days.

Also, many girls wear pantyliners between periods to protect their underwear from vaginal discharge.  Vaginal discharge is the clear to milky liquid that comes out of your vagina throughout the month. We will discuss vaginal discharge in a future blog.

Can I wear a pad through the night?

Yes! And you should because you don’t stop bleeding when you go to sleep.  Ashlyn Lee nighttime pads are more absorbent and should keep you protected through the night.

My friends say tampons are better than pads – is that true?

Whether you use tampons or pads (or any other period protection for that matter) is a very personal decision and there’s no right answer.  But let’s talk about some of the pros and cons of tampons and pads:

Pads are easier to use, especially if you have only recently started getting your period.  They stick right into your underwear and absorb the blood when it comes out of your body. Tampons are small bullet-shaped absorbent material with a string attached at one end.  The tampon is inserted into the vagina and absorbs the blood before it flows out of the body.

Many girls eventually switch to tampons because when you put them in right, you really can’t feel them at all! It makes it a lot easier to play sports AND you can swim with tampons – you can’t swim with pads.

In the end it is up to you.  You should use whatever makes you feel more comfortable.

I want to use tampons but I don’t know how…

Yes… tampons are tricky to figure out and it’s not so easy to explain.  We will be posting more information about this shortly. What you should know is that when you insert a tampon correctly, it should go right in and not feel uncomfortable at all.  If you do feel discomfort, chances are you aren’t inserting it at the right angle and it isn’t going all the way in. The best way to learn how to use a tampon is to practice. And always wash your hands after inserting a tampon!

How often should I change my tampon?

Like pads, tampons should be changed every 3-4 hours.  Sometimes you might find you are leaking and need to change it sooner.

What does leaking mean?

Tampons can only absorb so much fluid before they become too saturated.  If your period is very heavy and your tampon is saturated (or filled up with as much blood as it can handle), blood will start to leak into your underwear.  That is one reason it is very important to change your tampon regularly.

Tampons come in different absorbances.  Younger girls probably only really need the regular size but if your period is heavy, and you find yourself leaking after having a tampon in only a short time, then you might want to consider using an Ashlyn Lee super absorbent tampon that can handle more liquid.  

What is an applicator?

A tampon applicator is like a plunger, or a syringe.  The tampon is lodged inside the applicator and you insert the applicator inside your vagina.  Once you have it positioned correctly you hold it in place with your thumb and middle finger and use your forefinger to push a stick that pushes the tampon out of the applicator and into your body.  Then you discard the applicator.

Applicators are made out of either plastic or cardboard.  At Ashlyn Lee, we manufacture only cardboard applicators because they are biodegradable and much better for the environment than plastic.  

What about tampons without applicators? How do they work?

Tampons without applicators are just little bullet shaped tampons that you insert with your finger instead of an applicator.  Some people think it’s easier than using an applicator, some people don’t like it because your finger gets bloody when you insert it.  As with everything, the choice is up to you which you prefer. 

How do you get a tampon out?

Tampons are made with a string that hangs off the bottom.  When you insert the tampon into your body, the string hangs outside of your body.  To remove the tampon, you simply tug gently on the string and it slides out of your body.

What do I do with my pad or tampon after I use it?

Both tampons and pads should be wrapped up and disposed of in a trash can after use. Ashlyn Lee tampons come with a biodegradable cardboard applicator which should be recycled.

What does being regular mean?

Being regular means you have a period that comes regularly in the same number of days for every month.  Some women get their periods every 28 days, others can get their periods every 29, 30 or 31 days. When counting the days, you start counting on the first day of your period and stop when your period starts again the next time.

It is very common for younger girls who have just started getting their periods to be irregular.  This means that you may get your period after 30 days one month and after 45 days the next month. You may get your period once and not get it again for a few months.  There is nothing wrong with you if you are irregular. It just makes it harder to predict when you are going to get your period and be prepared. Whether you are regular or not, you should carry your Ashlyn Lee pouch, packed with Ashlyn Lee products wherever you go so will never be caught off guard!

What is tracking your period?

Tracking your period means that you keep track of when you get it (and how long it lasts) on your calendar.  If you get your period on March 3, you make a note on your calendar. If you get your next period on April 1, you make a note on your calendar again.  As you track your period, you can start to figure out whether you are regular and how many days your cycle is. If you are regular, this is very helpful to make sure you are prepared when your period comes.

Do you know you are getting your period before it happens? Or do you only find out when you bleed into your clothes?

If you track your period and have a pretty good idea of when to expect it, you can wear a pad before you get it to hopefully prevent any accidents when it comes.  If you aren’t regular it is harder to predict when you are going to get it and accidents can be more likely.  

Many women over time can detect when they are getting their periods by certain feelings they have in their bodies.  Some women’s breasts start to feel tender right before they are getting their period. Other women get stomach cramps before and during their periods.  You can feel bloating (where your belly feels full and seems to stick out more than usual) or have certain food cravings as well. Some feelings are more emotional than physical, and women can feel moody before their period.  Pay attention to your body throughout your cycle and you will start to detect feelings and changes that may help you be ready when your period comes. And always be prepared, with your Ashlyn Lee You Got This starter kit pouch.

What are cramps and what do they feel like?

Cramps are a pain in your lower belly that are created because your uterus is literally cramping and squeezing to push the bloody lining off the walls out of your body. Some women get very painful cramps that can make it hard for them to continue with what they are doing.  Some women don’t have any cramps at all, and some women can feel a dull pain that isn’t too bothersome.  

What should I do if I have cramps?

There are few things you can do to deal with cramps.  

  • Over-the-counter pain medicine like ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), or acetaminophen (Tylenol)

  • Exercise

  • Heating pad on your belly or lower back

  • Hot bath

  • Rest

If your cramps are so painful that it stops you from living your life, you can see a doctor who can check to make sure everything is ok and provide you other ways to manage the pain.

What is PMS?

PMS stands for premenstrual syndrome and is basically any number of emotional and physical symptoms you might feel right before and during your period.  Below are a few common symptoms you may experience. Like your period, it is helpful to track these symptoms. If they are severe, a doctor may be able to help you.

  • Hunger or food cravings

  • Tender or sore breasts

  • Cramps

  • Bloating

  • Acne

  • Headaches

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Moodiness

  • Irritability

Dr. Inga Sazan is a Board Certified Pediatrician and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Learn more about her here.

If you still have questions, please feel free to drop us a note at jennifer@ashlynlee.com.