Category Archives: All Things Puberty

What is going on in the world of girl’s puberty.

Periods Aren’t Just For Sentences

Periods Aren’t Just For Sentences

Has your daughter asked you yet what a period is?  And have you answered ‘a period comes at the end of a sentence?’.  Although my daughter didn’t ask about periods at a young age, she did ask what sex was.  I cleverly answered that it was how to tell if someone is a girl or a boy.  She was about 4 years old and I was just not ready to start discussing sex with her.  We all find ourselves in these awkward positions with our kids but they don’t have to be awkward.   Having a few simple explanations ready for when the questions come helps.

The complicated but complete answer for what a menstrual period is goes something like this:

When a girl’s body gets to the right stage of development, it will start to release an egg each month of one of the two ovaries.  The lining of the uterus will thicken in preparation to hold and nourish a fertilized egg.

The egg is released two weeks before bleeding starts.  Most of the time the egg is not fertilized causing it to be flushed from the body through the vagina along with the lining of the uterus.  A menstrual period is that time when the egg and uterine tissue are being flushed.

A simpler explanation for a younger child might be:

We all grow from eggs just like birds do.  A bird’s egg grows in a nest and a human egg grows in a uterus, the difference is that a uterus is inside a mommy’s body.   If the nest isn’t needed it falls apart to make room for a new nest.  The old pieces leave mommy’s body during her monthly period.

It is important to use the correct words for body parts when children are young so they become familiar with the words and are comfortable saying them.  This will help in later years when they are learning about their bodies in school.  If something hurts, children will also be better able to describe symptoms to a doctor.

The other key thing to remember when discussing these topics with our children is that we feel awkward, so will our children.  Which means they might not turn to you for other questions later in life.  Keeping the conversation channels open early in life will only benefit both of you as your children grow older and face more challenging issues in their lives.

 

How to Talk to Your Daughter about her Body

How to Talk to Your Daughter about her Body

How To Talk to Your Daughter about her BodyReblogged from Hope Avenue:

How to talk to your daughter about her body, step one: don’t talk to your daughter about her body, except to teach her how it works.

Don’t say anything if she’s lost weight. Don’t say anything if she’s gained weight.

If you think your daughter’s body looks amazing, don’t say that. Here are some things you can say instead:

“You look so healthy!” is a great one.

Or how about, “you’re looking so strong.”

“I can see how happy you are – you’re glowing.”

 

Read the rest of the post here.

 

 

 

 

 

Feminine Hygiene Pads – The Differences

Feminine Hygiene Pads – The Differences

Feminine Hygiene Pads - The DifferencesIn this day and age in the United States we seem to have a product to fit every choice.  Whether it be food, shoes, homes, or even yes, feminine hygiene pads, there is something unique that fits your life style.  It can be confusing to sort through all the options but once you find the perfect fit you will probably be a customer for life.

Since I started this business 6 years ago, I’ve become much more aware of the choices in feminine hygiene pads.  There is the usual variety in stores that tend toward the disposable.  And then there are the natural products found in specialty stores or on the internet.  There are also new options like the DivaCup where you can do away with the pads altogether.

With all the options available I thought I would make a list for you and your daughter to explore to discuss which type of pads will be best for her and maybe even for you.

Washable Cloth Menstrual Pads

Companies like Lunapads and GladRags lead this market.  Offering reusable all-cotton pads with covers that attach to your underwear (think wings like on disposable pads) these companies attract the eco-conscious consumer.  As a mother who used cloth diapers on her babies, I can see the appeal in these products.  Not only are you cutting down on waste, but there is a real savings in not buying disposable products every month.  The companies also offer bright, cute covers for the pads to appeal to any age.

Menstrual Cup

The DivaCup was first on the scene in this segment of the market.  Offering two sizes, based on age and previous childbirth experience, the cup works just like it sounds.  Inserted vaginally, the silicone cup holds the menstrual blood inside your body until you empty it.  From my own experience, this option is excellent for traveling.  No need to carry supplies and it fits neatly into a cloth bag that can go into any travel purse.  Menstrual cups are also an excellent option for girls involved in sports as an alternative to tampons.  Girls just starting their periods may fill a little unsure about using the cups, but as they get used to their menstrual flow it can be introduced as an option.  Different brands of menstrual cups can now be found in most major drugstores.

The Disposable Stuff

This is where the choices become beyond overwhelming as anyone who has ever walked down the feminine care aisle at a drugstore can attest.  Finding the right fit can be a challenge.  I’m frequently asked by mothers for recommendations on pads that will fit for small tween girls.  So far I have not found a good option.  Instead I tend to recommend investigating the U by Kotex line of products. Specifically targeted to the younger set, the packaging is cute and cheerful and the website offers advice in finding the perfect match for size and flow.

If you know of any other options in feminine care products who would love to here from you in the comments!

 

 

 

 

An Anatomical Lesson

An Anatomical Lesson

An Anatomical LessonThroughout our journey in bringing menstruation education to young girls we have found that girls (and their parents) can sometimes be very shy about using the correct words for their female reproductive parts.  Even saying the words ‘menstrual period’ can be embarrassing to the girls who would much rather say ‘Aunt Flo’ or ‘being on the rag’.

We thought we would help with this situation by providing a short dictionary of the female parts along with a simple definition.  As a matter of health, girls should be comfortable using these words as it helps if they ever have reproductive issues.  Knowing the proper words can help describe discomfort and leads to better understanding of how the female body works.  The more information that girls have the better control they have over their bodies and their health decisions.

Fallopian Tubes

The tubes that allows passage of eggs from the ovaries to the uterus.

Ovaries

Where eggs and female sex hormones are produced.  Generally only one egg is released each month with the ovaries alternating each month on which is producing the egg.

Uterus

The female body organ where an egg can grow into a baby when a woman is pregnant.

Endometrium

The mucous membrane that lines the uterus.  This lining becomes thick and rich with blood during the menstrual cycle in order to support a fertilized egg.  If a fertilized egg is not implanted than the endometrium is sloughed off during monthly menstruation.

Vagina

The canal that connects the uterus to the outside world.  The vulva and labia form the outside entrance to the vagina.  The vulva is where tampons are inserted.

Cervix

The interior end of the vaginal canal where it joins with the uterus.

Menstruation

The monthly discharge of blood and tissue from the uterus of non-pregnant women.  Generally first menstruation starts between the ages of 9 – 12 and lasts until a woman is in her fifties.

 

 

Your Daughter’s Dating Life

Your Daughter’s Dating Life

Your Daughter's Dating LifeWith Valentine’s Day just around the corner, young girls (and boys) minds turn to love.  And parents start to worry about their daughter dating – what is the right age for group dating or solo dating, do I have to meet the boy first, do I need to know his parents?  Just like with any new milestone you reach with your daughter, dating and how to develop trusting relationships with the opposite sex will require more than one discussion. Here’s an opportunity to look at your daughter’s dating life not as one big step but rather one in-between step for which you have prepared her for since the start of puberty.

Even though you may have determined a minimum age requirement for your daughter to begin dating doesn’t mean that she won’t be interested earlier. Or she may not be emotionally ready at that predetermined age. But you can expect that at some point she will show an interest in boys so be ready with your calmest its-just-another-part-of-growing-up reaction.

Let your daughter know that it is OK to be “just friends” with boys. This is a great way for her to feel like she can be herself without any romantic expectations. Friendships with the opposite sex formed before middle school can be beneficial in later teen years when your daughter does start to date. She’ll have the support of male friends who have known her over a period of time.  She also may not be so disappointed by the romantic relationships that don’t last.

Allow your daughter to socialize with boys but as with anything set clear limits and guidelines. For example, no entertaining in the bedroom or late night phone calls. It may help your daughter to know that her peers have similar limits so talk to the parents of her friends, girls and boys alike.

Parents can also cooperate to provide structured and supervised activities for girls and boys to socialize together.  A regular movie night or pizza party in someone’s home is a fun activity for the tween age group. The next step may be group dating where several boys and girls go out together but not necessarily as couples.Here’s another chance to socialize with the opposite sex without the pressures and expectations of one-on-one dating.

When your daughter is ready for one-on-one dating you can rest assured that you have prepared her for this step. Keep the lines of communication open and stay involved in her life. Continue fostering your daughters’ personal interests so that she has a strong sense of herself and always encourage her to be true to herself in all of her relationships.

A New Year’s Resolution for Parents

A New Year’s Resolution for Parents

A New Year's Resolution fThe start of every new calendar year is a traditional time to make New Year’s Resolutions.  Whether to lose 10 pounds, visit more museums, or be on time for appointments.  January 1st is also a good time to reflect on what is important to us in our personal and professional lives.

As parents we also may reflect on how we want to guide our children in the new year.  As our children grow each new year brings opportunities for teaching our children something new about themselves or about the world around them.  At Dot Girl, we highly recommend that parents educate daughters about their bodies and what to expect as their bodies change.

These conversations are never easy, so we’ve put together a list of websites and books that might be helpful in getting your started.  We hope you find the resources useful as you navigate this new year with your daughter.

Center for Young Women’s Health

Founded in 1998 the mission of this website “is to help teen girls, their parents, teachers and health care providers improve their understanding of normal health and development, as well as of specific diseases and conditions”.  The site includes a health guide from A to Z in English and Spanish along with online chat sessions and the TeenSpeak Blog.  Your daughter can find answers here on her own or with your guidance.

Girl’s Guide to Becoming a Teen

This book, published by the American Medical Association, includes information on puberty and what kinds of physical and emotional changes your daughter can expect, the importance of eating the right foods, the reproductive system and how to be safe, happy and healthy through the teenage years.

GirlsHealth.gov

This site was created in 2002 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health to help girls ages 10 to 16 to learn about health, growing up, and issues they may face. Topics promote healthy and positive behaviors in girls, giving them reliable and useful health information in a fun, easy-to-understand way. The website also provides information to parents and educators to help them teach girls about healthy living.

Anigan Menstrual Underwear

Anigan Stain Free Menstrual Underwear

Here at Dot Girl Products, we are always on the lookout for new products that will help periods be a little less messy for girls (and their mothers) and we just found a new product you all will love.

Anigan Menstrual Underwear has just been introduced to the market.  The stain-free, guaranteed not to leak period panties look and feel exactly like other pretty underwear you would want to wear everyday.  There is a wide range of colors and styles to make that time of the month as fashionable as the rest of the month.

Blue Anigan Underwear

The company is so sure of their product that they have made a guarantee that if the panties ever stain, you can return them for a free pair.  This is a pretty strong statement that they believe in their product.

Anigan has paid special attention to the needs of pre-teen girls with sizes and styles appropriate to that age.  You don’t know when your daughter is going to start her period.  Slipping a pair of menstrual underwear into her backpack or locker means she’ll be prepared at school and at other activities.  This will help relieve some of her anxiety about that all important first period and whether her clothes will get stained, a common worry among young girls.

We’ve looked at other period panties on the market.  There are very few companies that venture down this path and when they do, the panties are generally one color with few sizes available.  Anigan has taken a giant leap forward with the variety of colors and styles, your daughter may want to wear this underwear all the time!Pink Anigan Underwear

To check out all the styles and colors available from Anigan Menstrual Underwear follow the links from their ‘Where to Buy‘ page.  The product listings goes into more detail about what materials are used to provide the stain free, leak proof guarantee the company is offering.

Menstrual Period is a Vital Sign

Menstrual Period is a Vital Sign

Menstrual Period is a Vital SignIsn’t it nice that so much of modern machinery is equipped with warning systems to alert us to their problems? Even my washing machine has a light system to let me know what’s wrong with it. We monitor the vital signs of our bodies in much the same way. Basic vital signs include body temperature, pulse rate, respiration rate and blood pressure. Our menstrual cycles can also be considered an indicator of our overall emotional and physical health. Regular menstrual cycles are a sign of a well running body.

It’s typical for a young girl to have irregular periods as her body adjusts to the monthly cycle of ovulation and menstruation but there can be times when the irregularity has an underlying cause. This is why it’s important to pay attention to your daughter’s period while teaching her to track it herself. You need to know what is normal before you can determine what isn’t normal.

Some common causes of irregular periods include stress, traveling, a high level of physical activity especially combined with low body weight and excess weight loss or gain. These conditions may self correct as situations change but if your daughter goes 3 or more months without a period, it’s a good idea to see a doctor to check for underlying problems. Having a record of her cycle will be extremely valuable information for her health care provider in these cases.

Medical conditions that disrupt the menstrual cycle include Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which affects 5 to 10% of teenagers and young women. Common symptoms are obesity, excess facial and body hair and acne. Primary Amenorrhea is when a girl has not started menstruating by age 16 and Secondary Amenorrhea is when menstruation has started and then stopped. Amenorrhea is linked to low bone density at a time when girls should be building up their bone mass.

Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI), affecting 1% of the population, occurs when the ovaries don’t produce enough hormones causing periods to become lighter or cease altogether. These conditions require careful diagnosis and treatment by a medical doctor. If you have any questions or concerns about these conditions or any other symptoms you should see your doctor.

Knowing when to expect her period is also a great way to manage premenstrual symptoms. Teaching your daughter to track her periods encourages her to be proactive for a lifetime of good health.

Period Tips for Summer

Period Tips for Summer

Summer Time Period TipsWith the summer solstice upon us tomorrow and the lure of outdoor activities for your daughter we thought some summer time period tips would be helpful.

If your daughter is one of those girls who likes to stay active during the summer, she’ll need some advice on how to manage her period when she hits the play fields, rides her bike or dives into the pool. Even if she does not participate in organized activities, other physical activities like hanging out at the beach or hiking with friends may present a challenge.

Here are some helpful tips to share with your daughter–

  • Have her keep an “emergency kit” in her beach bag or always keep supplies in your car if you are her main driver. Fill the kit with feminine hygiene products, an extra pair of underwear and a wash rag.
  • Many sports uniforms require loose fitting shorts. Wearing spandex shorts underneath the sport shorts will keep pads in place and provide a feeling of comfortable control.
  • If your daughter is a swimmer you may want to introduce her to tampons. Have her practice at home until you find the brand and fit that she’s comfortable with. Be sure to remind her how often tampons should be changed to avoid infection.
  • Sometimes bathroom facilities are hard to find when you’re hiking or beach combing. Tuck a few pads into any backpack or jacket she might use. Wrap the pads in plastic bags which can also be used to keep used product in until she gets to a trash can. Pre-moistened hand wipes are also good to have on hand if running water is limited.
  • Encourage your daughter to track her monthly cycle with a calendar. It may take some time before its regular but soon enough she’ll be able to anticipate when her flow will start.  She’ll know if she needs to pack supplies for overnight camps.

Periods should not get in the way of an active lifestyle. Providing these tips to your daughter will help her to manage her period with confidence as she participates in her favorite physical activities this summer.

First Period Questions

First Period Questions

First Period Questions

We always seem to be asked the same questions about a girl’s first period whenever we are out and about.  We thought we’d compile a few of the questions and post the answers for all of our readers to see.  If you have any more questions, let us know through our ‘Contact Us‘ page or by commenting on this blog post.

At what age does a girl usually experience her first period?
A girl’s first period usually begins between the ages of 9 and 16. The average age is 12.5 years.

What are some signs that a girl is about to experience her first menstruation?
Girls develop through consistent stages of puberty starting with breast buds and pubic hair. A girl’s first period usually comes about two years after she first develops breast buds.

What are breast buds?
Breast buds are when the nipples are just beginning to elevate. The breast is not fully developed. The average age for breast buds is 10.5 years.

How much blood is there the first time?
A girl’s first few periods are usually light. She’ll lose about two to five tablespoons of blood over a period of two to eight days.

How severe will cramps be during the first period?
This varies from girl to girl. Cramps occur when the uterus contracts. Applying warmth (such as a heating pad) causes muscles to relax and can ease the discomfort. Other things that might help are massaging the abdominal area, taking a slow walk or enjoying a hot cup of tea or hot chocolate.

Should I be worried if all the signs are there and she still hasn’t started her period?
Physically active girls, girls that are underweight or overweight, or girls experiencing significant stress may have delayed periods. Check with your doctor if you have any concerns.

When’s a good time to give a girl The Dot Girl First Period Kit®?
We recommend that a girl gets her first period kit three to six months prior to starting her first period. This gives her plenty of time to look through it, ask questions and gain the confidence to be ready in advance.