Talking About Tampons With Your Daughter: What You Need to Know (VIDEO)

It'll happen before you know it: Your teen or tween daughter will get her period. And that means it's time, as her mom, to teach her how to do monthly damage control by introducing her to tampons. Only talk about awkward: Odds are your daughter does NOT want a hands-on demonstration of how to get it in, yet in it must go, and she may struggle on her own. Plus if your daughter is young, she may not even be ready for the responsibility of tampons at all, or know the facts about how they work or the potential health hazards. To help you blaze a trail through this uncomfortable territory, try these talking tips to break the ice and delivery the necessary info.

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How to introduce your tween to tampons1. Offer tampons as one option of many. Sure, YOU might love tampons and laugh at the thought of using a pad, but don't assume your tween daughter feels the same way about sticking things up her hooha. "A girl should never feel like it is the only option or feel coerced to try something she is not comfortable with," says Akua Afriyie-Gray, a pediatric gynecologist and professor at Loyola University Medical Center. "So when introducing tampons, the parent may find it helpful to introduce it a an option among several for feminine hygiene."

2. Make sure she's ready. If your daughter is comfortable with the whole period thing, then by all means she can run straight to tampon aisle and start using them as soon as she starts menstruating. But not all girls may feel so cavalier. "When girls start their periods they often feel embarrassed," says Rebecca Sampson at omghow. "Because of this, they may not leave the classroom setting to change their tampon often enough. If a girl is too shy to change their tampon during or in between classes, then they aren't ready for the responsibility of a tampon. If not, wait a while to help her get used to the idea."

3. Start small. Since a huge honkin' tampon is bound to look intimidating, rest assured your tween has other options. Tampax's Pearl Lite tampons, for instance, have been dubbed a "perfect first tampon" since they're small and come with an easy-to-use applicator.

4. Dispel any rumors she's heard about tampons. "It is important for parents to dispel rumors about tampons like using tampons compromises virginity. This is simply not true," says Afriyie-Gray. "Only in about 2 percent of teens is it impossible to place a tampon because of a very small hymenal opening."

5. Deliver the facts about tampon-related health problems. Teens are at higher risk than adults of tampon-related health problems like Toxic Shock Syndrome or TSS. The reason? Their vaginal walls are thinner and more prone to tears and infections. To curb these risks, use smaller, less absorbent tampons and drive home that they must be removed frequently, around once every 4 to 8 hours.

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6. Show her, ahem, how to get it in. To spare you the awkardness of a full frontal demonstration either on your teen or you, rest assured that there are plenty of tutorials online you can point her to. Consider these step-by-step instructions on tampon insertion from Beinggirl.com or this big-sisterly "Tampon Training Camp" video using a "water wing" as a stand-in vagina (weird, but it works):

Have you taught your daughter about tampons yet?

 

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