The Importance of Menstrual Health Education for You and Your Teen
Is your little girl about to become a teenager and you haven’t yet talked to her about menstruation? Every minute that goes by is precious, and you should not waste any more time. Preparing her for her first period is your duty.
It is also very important for her physical and mental well-being and, why not, for your own piece of mind. Here are just a few reasons why you shouldn’t postpone your daughter’s menstrual health education any longer.
3 Important Reasons Why You Should Prepare Your Daughter for Her First Menstruation As Soon As Possible
1. Her First Period Could Start Any Day Now and She Needs to Be Prepared
Girls can have their first period anytime between 10 and 15 years of age. There is no fixed date, and each body is different. What if the bleeding starts when you are not around and she doesn’t know what’s going on and how to act?
Some girls get scared and imagine that they are sick. Others do not even realize that they are bleeding and walk around their school with their clothes stained. There are also girls who get overwhelmed by the associated symptoms and can no longer cope with their routine.
If you are still thinking of postponing the talk because you have a hard time explaining the details to your daughter, think how she would feel if she had to go through everything by herself, without knowing what is going on. Read some first period stories to better understand the difference in experience for educated and clueless girls.
Wouldn’t she panic at the sight of blood? Wouldn’t she suffer if she walked around the school with her skirt or jeans stained and became the laugh of her colleagues? Wouldn’t you feel guilty for postponing something that you will have to explain anyway? You can prevent all that and get her ready with a simple talk. Don’t postpone it!
2. The Associated Symptoms Could Affect Your Daughter’s Performance
For some girls, it all happens out of the blue, with no pain or discomfort involved. For others, the first period brings about an avalanche of physical and emotional symptoms that can be difficult to put up with. Common examples include:
- Abdominal and/or pelvic pain and cramping
- Lower back pain
- Sore breasts
- Mood swings and irritability
Any of these symptoms could affect your daughter’s performance during a school exam, a sports practice or competition, or volunteering projects. If she knows about them in advance, she can prepare with painkillers, energy bars, and tampons.
3. Lack of Menstrual Health Education Could Lead to Unwanted Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
For you, she is just a child. However, kids grow fast, they fall in love incredibly early, they like to experiment, and they are extremely vulnerable to peer pressure. It’s hard to accept but many girls are tricked into having sex at young ages. Some fall in love with the wrong guy, others are curious and want to try or have something to share with their friends.
If you haven’t talked about menstruation, chances are you haven’t talked about unprotected sex either. One experience is enough for her to get pregnant or catch a disease. In 2017, nearly 200,000 babies were born to teenagers aged 15–19 years. Obviously, these stats do not take into account abortions and lost pregnancies.
Moreover, 25% of sexually active teenage girls have a sexually transmitted disease. Sure, these diseases are not directly related to menstrual health education but proper and timely education could go a long way in preventing them.
You hope it won’t happen to your daughter and to you, but why take chances when you can take measures and educate her? Don’t worry, it’s easier than it seems and no one can do it better than you, her own mother!
How to Approach Your Daughter’s Menstrual Health Education
Your daughter already knows that she is growing and her body is changing. She has probably noticed that her breasts are starting to grow or that her friends and colleagues are going through such changes. Now you have a chance to help her understand the process and its implications.
It can’t be that hard to explain that the menstruation blood is actually the uterus lining supposed to shelter the egg and her body is dumping it when fertilization hasn’t occurred. You can blame it all on hormones, use different terms, or turn to some anatomy books.
If handling the process yourself seems out of reach, there are other methods. You could pick up some teenagers magazines that cover the subject for her to read. You should be able to find an intuitive teenagers-friendly video on YouTube or a reliable website where she can find the information she needs.
If she then has questions or doubts, she can discuss them with you. Just remember that any amount of menstrual health education is better than no education at all. How was your first period experience. What did you already know and what more did you wish to have known? Do everything you can to make her experience better, easier than yours!
She’s your baby, on her way to becoming a woman. You’ve already been in her shoes, and you have that powerful maternal instinct that beats science. Learn from your own experience and follow your instincts! They will help you prepare your daughter for what’s coming and teach her how to deal with it. After all, you know her better than anyone else, and you want what’s best for her.
Dani Fogel. is a Communication Coordinator at Brandable, based in Los Angeles, CA. She works on the Queen V brand within the company’s Digital and Ecommerce department.