Helping her manage her period

Everything Associated With Periods & Tips to Manage It!

Your daughter may be keen to get her period – it is after all an important rite of passage – but there are some associated symptoms that may be unsettling for a 'newcomer.' Here's a quick factsheet aimed at helping you explain some of the more unpleasant aspects of getting your period and how to best manage them.

Below you'll find useful topics and practical information which you can use as a loose 'script' or just as a conversation starter.

Period cramps and what causes them

If you never suffer from period pain or menstrual cramps then you’re very lucky. Unfortunately, for most preteen and teenage girls, it’s just a plain fact of life that before and during a period you may suffer from menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhoea).

These can vary in severity: either sharp stabs or a nagging pain that spreads through your belly and lower back. Some girls also experience dizziness, nausea, diarrhoea or even vomiting.

Menstrual cramps are caused by prostaglandin, a substance which occurs naturally in your body and behaves like a hormone, causing the uterus to contract. If you don’t ovulate, it’s unlikely that you’ll get cramps during your period. Doctors often prescribe the contraceptive pill to ease painful periods – but these can cause abnormal bleeding in some girls.

Tackling cramps

If you’re suffering from cramps, try a combination of these to feel better:

  • Regular exercise and stretching
  • Lie down at the first stage of pain and gently rub your abdomen to help relax the muscles
  • Ask your doctor for a recommendation of herbal remedies or medicines that may relieve symptoms
  • Take a warm bath
  • Use a hot water bottle on your lower abdomen or back
  • Ask your mom for a pain reliever like ibuprofen or paracetamol that may be prescribed for significant pain associated with PMS symptoms (for example, backache, cramps, or tender breasts).

Also, check out 5 effective home remedies to deal with stomach pain during periods here at our blog.

Heavy bleeding

Most girls lose about a quarter of a cup of menstrual fluid during their periods. Only some of that amount is blood. As your body contains more than 5.7 litres of blood, it won’t miss a little bit lost during your period – and your body makes up for it quickly.

Since the amount of flow and number of days of a woman's period varies considerably from woman to woman, it's not easy to know whether your flow is exceptionally heavy. However, if your period lasts longer than seven days, requires a lot of pad changes per day (changing after two hours or less), or is accompanied by gushing (sudden surges of flow) or clots, then you are probably experiencing flow that is heavier than normal for most women.

Is heavy bleeding dangerous?

Heavy bleeding on its own can cause you to lose iron and make you anaemic (weak and tired). Some of the causes of heavy bleeding are not very serious and, despite the inconvenience, do not require treatment. Others are more serious and warrant treatment to preserve your health. 

Very rarely, very heavy bleeding is a medical emergency. If you are experiencing heavy bleeding and are concerned, then you should contact your doctor or go to the emergency room right away. Keeping a diary of your periods, including the number of pad changes and occurrences of gushes, can be very helpful for your doctor in diagnosing your individual problem.

Irregular periods

For the first two years, your periods can be very unpredictable. You could have one period and then wait as long as six months for the next one. One period may last a day, while the next lasts ten days. It typically takes one to two years for cycles to become regular. Just remember that it’s perfectly normal.

Many women experience irregular periods at some time in their lives. The exact causes of irregular periods can vary and are often quite normal. You are the best judge of what is normal for you. If you have a sudden change in the regularity of your periods, chart your symptoms and see your doctor.

Read useful health tips for women here.

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