The best way for your preteen or teen to keep their vagina and vulva clean is to wash the Labia Majora (outer lips) and the outer portions of the Labia Minora (inner lips) with water alone or a mild cleanser as needed when they’re in the bathtub or shower.
Remind your preteen or teen to never put soaps or other cleaners in between the labia minora or up inside their vagina, also known as douching! This can mess with the balance of healthy bacteria inside. Their vagina cleans itself automatically, so just let it do its thing!
When your preteen or teen is well-hydrated, and eats plenty of fruit, veggies, and whole grains this will provide their body with good nutrition overall. The result? Their whole body, as well as your reproductive system will feel much better. For more information about foods that support a healthy vagina, check out BLOOM’s Exercise, Nutrition page.
The average volume of menstrual blood is only between 3-8 tablespoons for your entire period. During their period, they may have some light days when they’re barely bleeding at all, and then some days where their bleeding is heavier. Their period flow (volume) is the amount of blood that comes out, and the easiest way to measure it is by noting how often they need to change your period products. Their flow may be light, regular, heavy, or very heavy. They’ll probably need to change your pad, tampon, or menstrual cup about 3–6 times a day. For more information about your period flow, visit BLOOM’s Signs of Your Cycle Page.
Absolutely! There are certain period products that work really well for swimming including tampons and menstrual cups. Usually, the water pressure decreases their flow while they are swimming, so wearing a tampon or menstrual cup will ensure that they are protected while in the water. Once they come out of the water, their flow will return to normal. A fun tip about swimming is that exercise may also help reduce menstrual cramps, so jump right in and have fun! For more information about the benefits of exercise for PMS check out BLOOM’s Exercise & Nutrition page.
Yes, their first period is a sign that their body is changing, and that it’s now possible for them to get pregnant. For a pregnancy to happen, a sperm cell needs to fertilize an egg in the fallopian tube (for example, during penis-in-vagina sex). If the egg is not fertilized during the ovulation stage, then the uterus lining sheds and flows out of the vagina as a period. Remind your young person that just because they are physically able to get pregnant, doesn’t mean they’re ready to have a baby. If they want to talk about this more, have them reach out to their parent, caregiver, or another trusted adult for more information.
Only a few foods have been scientifically proven to be good for period cramps and PMS. Cranberries can help prevent recurrent UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections).
For menstrual cramps, the vitamins B6, B12, as well as Zinc, Magnesium, and Valerian root have all been proven to help. Ideally your preteen or teen will want to get these vitamins and minerals from dietary sources rather than supplements.
In the first few years, it’s normal for your preteen or teen’s menstrual cycle (the time from day 1 of one period to day 1 of the next period) to vary from 21-45 days. About three years after their first period, they should have a period every 21-34 days, with the average cycle length being 28 days.
The length of a period, (duration), can vary from one person to another, and from one menstrual cycle to another, but the typical length is between 3-7 days of bleeding. For more information about menstruation, visit BLOOM’s Menstruation 101 page.
Remember it’s totally normal to not get your period until you are 15, and some people start theirs even later. It’s natural to feel left out if all your friends have experienced something you haven’t, but your body is working hard to grow and develop. So be patient, it will be here before you know it!
Most people have experienced PMS symptoms during their period, but the good part is that they can be managed while you are having them and they go away after the first few days. Here are our top tips for making their period as pain-free as possible:
- Eat well and stay hydrated
- Listen to their body by getting extra rest, exercise, and be compassionate with themself
- Use heat to soothe cramps by applying their Warmie or other heating pad to the area of discomfort, or by taking a hot bath
- Ask your guardian if you can take over-the-counter pain medicine like ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), or acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- If their PMS symptoms are becoming difficult to manage, see a medical professional
If your preteen or teen is the first to get their period, let them know that it’s up to them if they want to share this with their friends or not. Remind them that unless they tell their friends, their friends probably won’t notice. If they feel lonely, let them know that it probably won’t be for long. It’s likely that their friends will get their periods too in the next few months — and when that happens their friends will be coming to them for advice!
It is normal for any menstruator to experience some PMS (premenstrual syndrome) before and during their period. PMS is caused by the changes in their hormones throughout your monthly cycle and these symptoms are often clues that their period is on its way. PMS can start a few days before their period begins and continue through the first few days of bleeding. If they’re experiencing an overload of stress, emotions, and/or moodiness, remind them to prioritize their own needs and practice some self care techniques. Learn more about PMS symptoms and how to manage it by visiting BLOOM’s PMS page.
Going through puberty and getting their first period can be challenging for anyone, and being transgender adds another emotional layer to that. It can be confusing and stressful when what is going on in their body biologically does not match how they are feeling and identify. The most important thing for your preteen or teen when learning about periods is to know that they’re normal and that having a period doesn’t mean that they have to identify as a girl or woman. Not every person who identifies as a woman menstruates and not all people who menstruate identify as a woman. To learn more about navigating menstruation with a preteen or teen that identifies as transgender, visit BLOOM’s Menstruation 101 page.
First, remind them to stay calm. Toxic Shock or TSS is a severe but rare condition that can occur from a bacterial infection. It occurs in about 1 in 100,000 tampon users. TSS can be caused by leaving a tampon in for a long time. This is why it’s very important that you change your tampon every few hours and not leave it in all day or overnight.
Symptoms of TSS
- High fever and chills
- Severe muscle aches
- Feeling extremely weak or dizzy
- A sunburn-like rash that can get progressively worse as time passes
If they’re using a tampon and experience any of these symptoms, be sure they know to remove the tampon, tell an adult, and call their doctor. TSS has also been associated with menstrual cup use, although very rarely. The numbers are small so it is hard to estimate the actual risk but it is thought to be just as low or even lower than tampon use.
Bleeding through your pants is something that has likely happened at some point to just about everyone who has a period. That means if it happens to your preteen or teen, know that they have half the world in your corner with them. First, tell them no need to freak out! They can grab a jacket, sweater, or other top and tie it around their waist. If they don’t have one, tell them to ask a friend or trusted adult if they can borrow some clothes until they get home. To prevent any leaks or stains in the future, be sure to encourage them to add a liner, pad, or wear period underwear when they’re using a tampon or menstrual cup, as they are a great backup to catch any leaks. If they’re really nervous about staining their clothes by accident, keep an extra change of clothes in your bag, backpack or locker.
No. It’s not recommended to leave a tampon in overnight or for more than 8 hours. Toxic Shock or TSS is a severe but rare condition that can occur from a bacterial infection. It occurs in about 1 in 100,000 tampon users. TSS can be caused by leaving a tampon in for a long time. This is why it’s very important that they change their tampon every few hours and not leave it in all day or overnight. Most menstrual cups can be worn for up to 12 hours. This means they can wear one all day long, or overnight before they need to empty and rinse it. Again, it’s not good to have old menstrual blood on your products for too long, so keep this in mind.
If your preteen or teen is out and stains their underwear or clothing, give them the tip that they can simply place some folded toilet paper over the stain or wrap it around the stain and change your pad or tampon to prevent further leaking. They can also wrap a shirt around their waist if needed. If their underwear is really saturated, they can wash it in the bathroom sink with some cold water and soap — this usually gets most of the blood out. After rinsing in the sink, they can apply some hydrogen peroxide and throw them in the washing machine.
It can be helpful when teaching your preteen or teen about tampon insertion and removal to let them know that there may be a time when they can’t find their tampon string. If your preteen or teen goes to remove your tampon but suddenly can’t find the string, remind them in this situation to not panic. It’s probably just tucked under one of their labia or just inside their vagina. Let them know the best way to deal with this situation is to wash their hands and feel around inside their vagina until they find it, then pull the tampon out as they normally would. If they’re having trouble, tell them to try squatting and pushing as if they’re pooping. This will bring the tampon closer to the vaginal entrance, making it easier to find the string. The same trick works if they’re having trouble removing your menstrual cup. If they are still having difficulties, tell them not to panic, and let them know they can always make an appointment with their general practitioner or gynecologist to help.
If you think your preteen or teen is going to get your period soon, try to remind them to wear an underwear liner or their period underwear in preparation and always take a couple of pads or tampons with them when they go out. Be sure to tell them that if they are caught in a situation where they don’t have any products on them, like in school, to ask a friend or trusted adult. If they are in the middle of class and feel their period coming on, they can always raise their hand to be excused or privately ask their teacher if they can go to the bathroom.
Let them know that some public and/or school restrooms may have tampon vending machines or a supply of period products, but that they can’t always count on these options. If there’s no other option available to them, tell them that they can always fold up some toilet paper and place it in their underwear as a safeguard until they can find a period product.
To see the range of amazing period products we’ve found to help handle your preteen or teen’s period, check out our BLOOM Boxes and other menstruation products in the BLOOM Store.
Sometimes when inserting their tampon or cup your preteen or teen may feel that they just can’t seem to get it in the correct place, or it just doesn’t feel right. It may take some practice to place it comfortably. If attempting to place a tampon is ever painful, there are a couple of simple techniques that they can try. Tell them to try to relax, and if the tampon or cup is dry, some KY Jelly or other water-based lubricant can also make insertion easier. The same goes for removal. If attempting to insert a tampon or cup is very painful or seems impossible, a gynecologist can help identify what may be causing this. This might be Vaginismus, an involuntary tightening or spasm that happens when something is being inserted into the vagina. Or sometimes, there can be changes in the hymen that can make insertion of a tampon difficult.
No. Make sure your preteen or teen understands that they can only use one tampon at a time. If they’re worried that their flow is too heavy, have them use a “Super” absorbency size, or add a pad or liner to their underwear. When they’re using a tampon or menstrual cup, they can add a liner, pad, or period underwear as a backup to catch any leaks. They can also wear dark clothing on your bottom half or tie a top or jacket around your waist. If they’re really nervous about staining their clothes by accident, encourage them to keep an extra change of clothes in their backpack or locker. If they’re worried about staining their bedsheets, they can put a towel down to lay on during sleep.