Talking to Your Teen About Her First Menstrual Cycle
When it comes to talking about menstruation with your teenager, are you up-to-date on menstrual hygiene? Is she prepared to handle her first menstrual cycle? After all, a lot has changed since you got your first period: from menstrual cups to period panties, feminine hygiene deodorants and feminine wipes, there are a lot more choices out there now. We’re here to help you navigate the ever-changing world of menstrual hygiene and period products. That way, when your daughter has questions about her menstrual cycle, you’ll have answers.
Same Biology, Different Conversation
Take a moment and think back to the day you got your first period. Did you rely on your friends — or the latest copy of Seventeen or Jane magazine — for advice on what products to use? Or were you able to turn to your mother, your older sister, or another adult in your life?
No matter where you received your information then, the truth is, you’ll need to have a different conversation with your daughter now. For starters, our choices were significantly limited—you either used a tampon or a pad. Girls today can also choose to use a period cup, a pair of period panties, or even a menstrual sponge to absorb blood during their menstrual cycle — period products that are washable, reusable, biodegradable, and better for the planet.
Secondly, the media was significantly different back then. Commercial advertising from the 1970s until the early 2000s spoke in vague references to “flow,” “discomfort,” and even “leakage.” Now, advertisers are much more open about describing this natural body function instead of just alluding to it. Overall, this is progress: To speak openly about menstruation is to de-stigmatize it, and there’s no reason why a commercial for a product should skirt around its intended purpose.
However, teens are especially self-conscious about their bodies, and some of the period products are preying on their vulnerability by targeting them through social media and other types of advertisements. Ads for products like feminine hygiene deodorants, washes, serums, and douches that proclaim they’re necessary to clean up “period funk” are pretty much telling our daughters that they smell—exploiting teen concerns about the changes their bodies are going through in order to sell their products. And let us be clear, feminine hygiene is big business. According to IMARC, a market research company, it’s a $21.6 billion global industry.
As caregivers for young women, it is up to us to let them know that having a vagina—and getting their period—is nothing to be ashamed of. We need to explain to them that the vagina is a self-cleaning organ, and that using douches, feminine hygiene deodorants, feminine wipes, and other scented products can change the balance of vaginal flora and trigger vaginitis, UTIs, and yeast infections. Concern about possible period odor should not lead them to make unsafe health choices—their vagina should not smell like bubblegum, a bouquet of flowers, or anything else EXCEPT a vagina. Most importantly, we need to allay their self-consciousness by reassuring them that possible period odor can be managed with frequent rinsing during the day with clean water, and regularly changing their pad, tampon, or period panties—or washing out their sponge or period cup.
ALSO READ: 5 Tips for Improving Menstrual Hygiene
If You Can’t Rinse, Wipe!
For the times your daughter can’t easily rinse, using flushable wet wipes can be a convenient and effective solution during her menstrual cycle. It’s not always easy -- or even possible -- to freshen up between classes, during after-school practice, or at her part-time job. So arming her with a portable pack of flushable wipes during her time of the month can be helpful.
Hypoallergenic Nice ’N CLEAN® Flushable Wipes are available in a convenient travel pack for when she’s at school or out and about. They’re septic-safe* with Eco-Flush® technology and can be flushed down the toilet one at a time. And, best of all, they’re extra-strong, alcohol-free, and contain no chemical binders. Plus, the wipes are infused with aloe and vitamin E for extra soothing and moisturization. Remind your daughter to keep a pack of moist toilet tissue along with her other menstrual hygiene items, so she always has a refreshing and convenient way to freshen up during her period.
Help Your Teen Feel Confident About Menstrual Hygiene
Getting her first period is a milestone you’ll both never forget. Make it a memorable, teachable moment that shows her how amazing her body is and provides the information she needs to maintain reproductive health and self-confidence. When it comes to better menstrual hygiene, Nice ’N CLEAN® Flushable Wipes are a product all women can trust.
*Safe for well-maintained sewers and septic systems. Flush only one wipe at a time. Not recommended for use with motorhome or basement pump systems.