1. Parenting
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

What Girls Need to Know About Menstrual Pads


Close up of sanitary napkins
Alex Hayden/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Before girls begin puberty they need to need to know how they'll manage their periods and menstruation. Teaching girls about menstrual pads and tampons before they need them will help them adjust to the changes of puberty, and remain confident during what can be a difficult phase of growing up.

Below are questions girls may ask about pads, and the information they need to know.

What is a Pad?

Your daughter probably has an idea about what menstrual pads are for either from her friends, you, television commercials, or health class at school. Just in case, be sure you explain that pads are meant to help girls and women manage their periods and stay clean and dry when they are experiencing menstrual flow.

How Do I Use a Pad?

Explain that most girls start out by using pads, because they are easy to use and comfortable. You can show your daughter how to unwrap a pad from its protective cover, then pull off the sticky strip at the bottom of the pad. Explain that the sticky strip is the part that she lays on the inside center of her underwear, and is meant to keep the pad in place.

When she's ready to replace her pad, explain that the pad is easily removed just by tearing it off.

Why Are There So Many Choices in Menstrual Pads?

Explain to your daughter that menstrual pads come in many sizes and thicknesses. Super-absorbent and regular pads are meant for the days when her period is heaviest. Ultra-thin and pantiliners are meant for days when her period is light, or for when she thinks her period might begin.

Many girls worry that people will notice that they are wearing a pad. Explain that when worn properly pads are not visible and nobody needs to know that a girl is wearing them or is on her period, unless she decides to tell them.

Note: Many pads today come with "wings" or wrap-around liners that help prevent leaks. But some of these products can be difficult for unexperienced girls to use. You might want to consider purchasing a pad that only offers a peel-away backing on the bottom, until your daughter is used to managing her period and changing her pads.

When Should I Replace a Menstrual Pad

Tween girls will not know how long a pad is supposed to last. Extra-absorbent pads are made to last between 4 and 6 hours, but if your daughter's flow is very heavy, it may need replacing sooner. The same goes for pads that are smaller and less absorbent. The best bet is to teach your daughter to check on her pad every 2-3 hours to see if it needs replacing. Inform your tween that pads that are saturated may leak if they aren't replaced right away.

What Should I Do with Used Pads?

Girls should also know how to properly throw away used menstrual pads. Used pads should be folded in half with the bottom of the pad on the outside. Show your daughter how to wrap a pad in toilet tissue, or the wrapper of her replacement pad. Stress that the pads should not be flushed down the toilet, but should be placed in trash cans or the proper receptacles in the bathroom. Once the pad is properly thrown away, your daughter should wash her hands.

Where Can I Find Menstrual Pads?

Be sure your tween daughter knows where she can find menstrual pads at home should she begin her period when you're not there. You might consider placing a package in her room, where she keeps her underwear, or underneath the sink in her bathroom.

It's also important that she understand that it is important for her to keep a pad or two either in her locker at school or in her backpack, in case she gets her period unexpectedly. Also, inform her that menstrual pads can also be found in the school nurse's office.

Explain to your daughter that pads can also be purchased from drug stores, most grocery stores, and big box retailers like Target or KMart. You may think it's funny, but some tween girls think they have to have a prescription in order to purchase menstrual pads, so be sure your daughter understands that anybody can purchase them, and they don't need a prescription.

  1. About.com
  2. Parenting
  3. Tweens
  4. Health & Fitness
  5. Teaching Girls About Menstrual Pads

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.