This is dedicated to all those mothers who want to introduce menstruation and the required hygiene to their lovely daughters. In this article, I have tried to be less technical (as I am not a master in that area), however, it would serve as a great conversation starter with your young girls to introduce the concept of menstruation.
As we grow, our body encounters a lot of changes. We transform from being a new born/infant to being a girl child and finally being a young adult. Nature has its own rules. Girls attain maturity sooner than boys – sexual maturity and puberty.
So what really is sexual maturity and puberty?
There are a lot of physical changes that boys and girls undergo wherein they mature into adults that are capable of sexual reproduction. Hormonal changes occur in the ovaries of a girl and the testes in a boy. It is a growth squirt – increase in height, growing hair all over the body including the areas near the genitals, at times pimples/acnes, and increase in breast sizes for girls, chest sizes for boys and so on. Apart from a lot of physical changes, there can be emotional changes too for both boys and girls.
For girls the age may vary from as early as 8 years to even 14-15 years. However, each individual is different and may experience various degrees of puberty and various ages.
As girls attain puberty, another change that occurs is that they start getting their periods. When menstruating, or having periods, blood and tissues from a girl’s uterus comes out of vagina. This happens to all girls and women monthly (approximately!) These are controlled by hormones and having regular menstruation is good. So, there is no need to panic. Girls/women have two ovaries which hold a bunch of tiny invisible eggs. During the menstrual cycle, these eggs mature and are ready to be fertilised by sperm cells. Sperm cells are found in male counterparts.
During the menstrual cycle of girls, the eggs leave the uterus into the fallopian tubes. Body has a thick lining of blood, nutrients and tissue to keep these eggs protected. If the pregnancy does not occur, the body releases this thick layer of blood and tissues through the vagina. This outflow of blood and tissue is exactly known as menstruation – which means that there is no pregnancy.
It is absolutely a normal process which occurs every month.
First time menstruation
If you get your menstruation for the first time, DO NOT PANIC. You would probably see a few blood stains in your cloth. Discuss with your adults who would guide you to use sanitary napkins, tampons, menstrual caps or similar things that would help you to avoid staining. This blood flow will last for 2 to 7 days.
Points to remember
- Firstly, it may take a couple of months for you to have regular periods and to adjust to these changes in the body. Keep calm and seek advice.
- Keeping a track of the days every month will help you understand the pattern. The average menstruation cycle is usually 28 days but it varies. When in doubt, consult elders or even a gynaecologist.
- Remember to follow hygiene. Whatever you use (sanitary napkins, tampons, menstrual caps or similar things) – change frequently and use only one at a time.
- There could be mood fluctuations; stomach or back aches. Walking may help. A heat pad for the back pain or leg pain can be used after consulting adults.
- If the pain is acute, it is good to consult your doctor.
- The private area should be washed properly and kept dry. Use of soap is not recommended.
Please remember that maintaining proper hygiene is very important to avoid any infections or discomfort. Do not shy to discuss the smallest of thing with your elders or a doctor. It is an absolutely normal process that happens to every girl.
Image Courtesy: TED
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Anisha Bajaj, a passionate mother of two, runs a children’s book library in Mumbai. Having pursued BBA, CFA and MS(Finance), she has worked with top MNCs in the past. However, motherhood opened up a new world of books to her. She is on a mission to spread the joy of learning from books with fellow moms and to encourage kids to spend lesser time on gadgets and screens. She has also made story contributions to a children book called ” My hopscotch journey- A Pari’s Tale”. Recently she has joined the editorial team for a monthly children magazine called BeyondClassrooms”.