37 answers

Pads or Tampons????????????

OK .... My daughter is 12 ( 13 in April) started her period in June since she has had one about every two weeks we are getting her in to the doctor but we had a male and she wants female so of course our wait is long any way until then we have been dealing with it my question is she flows heavy and she is very devolped for her age and some times has a hard time with this as her mindset is 12 and she is still my little girl but i have noticed that she is struggling with finding a pad that is thin enough and works well. She is in dance and has to weat tight clothes and is having issues with that .......do i let he know about tampons?? Is she to young? Of course i am torn i would love to help her so she is preppared when this happens and can go to dance with out worries but she is still my little girl and i think she is to young :( please help!!!!! and if i do how do you even start ????????

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I like the always maxi that are in th eorange wrapper they are medium flow they have wings and they are thin but long. I would explain that if she ever wants to go swimming or for dancing she could wear this and explain to here she needs to still wear pads because she is young but to wear a tampon for dancing or swimming is fine. I would let her.

When my daughter wanted to go swimming and was on her period, I bought her the slimmest tampons and explained to her that I would help her out if she needed to - and also gave her the directions that come with the tampons. I would just give her that option - esp since she is in dance..Good luck!!

H. ~ wow, that is something that I will have to think about in 12 more years! :-) However, i have found an alternative to tampons... They are called Insteads. (I buy them at CVS) They are AWESOME, and do not have the risk of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) I have never had a leak... Hope that helps... Does Tampons have an age requirement?

Best of luck...

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Tampons are the only thing I used from day one because I was a competitive swimmer. NO big deal. She will thank you, because she will feel way more comfortable. the American girl book taking care of you or something like that . My 10 y/o daughter reads it all the time, it talks about hair and nails and shaving, brushing your teeth etc...and has a good description of insertion of tampons for girls. Good luck

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My personal opinion of pads is that they are uncomfortable and gross. I think you should give her the choice. if she is old enough to have the period, she should know all of her options. i am surprised there is even a question of whether she should know about them. when she finds out there was another option, she might be upset that you kept it from her. if she is uncomfortable with using them, that should be her choice. what's the difference? she may seem like a little girl to you, but big girl things are happening to her and she should be well informed of how to handle it, and learning about her body.

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Tampons! Why make her go through the hassle of pads!

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My only daughter started her first period this year on Halloween. She is 12 (13 at the end of next month) We had already discussed the options of pads or tampons, so she knew her choices. I had her use pads for the first couple of days to see how heavy she flowed and so I could verify it was ok at this age to use tampons. I talked to our family doctor on Monday when I was in and he said it is perfectly fine for her to use the tampons. He felt the biggest struggle would be getting her to agree. Well, she was asking about them from day one. I told her monday evening that the dr said it was ok for her, and she immediately wanted to try one.

I went in her bedroom with her, opened a tampon, and explained how to use it. I did draw a diagram so she understood clearly where to put it. (Had to explain that you do not urinate and flow from the same opening) She got it on the first try and her only comment was that it felt weird having it in there. No problems so far, and that was a Kotex regular absorbency.

I recommend explaining it to her and letting her choose. Get some of the smaller sized ones for her to start with. If she is ok with them, then you may want to try the heavier absorbency for extended dance sessions and such.

In my doctor's words, "it is hard to swim and play basketbell with a mattress between your legs." I hope everything goes well, whatever you decide to do. Good Luck!!

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Hi H.,
I would let her know about tampons. My daughter started her very first period the morning of an all-day gymnastics meet. I showed her all about tampons right of the get go that morning, because I just didn't see any other way and she never had a problem. At least give her the choice. I hope it all works out!

The rule for us was that we couldn't wear tampons until we were at least 15. And then only OB until older. (with a smaller body of a preteen/ young teen the applicators may be too big...)
But none of us were in dance class and didn't have to worry about the form fitting clothes your daughter will have to.

Personally I would say pads... Shes really young for tampons and may not be emotionally ready for them. How much does she actually know about her body... Does she realize that things go "up" there? And are you comfortable with the idea of possibly having to "show" her if she can't quite understand the directions?

They do make very absorbant thin pads(active types). Classes and such only last a short amount of time...

Really the best thing to do would be to talk to her and ask HER what SHE is comfortable with... explain all the health issues about leaving them in too long and all that... And ask what SHE is ok with.

i was 11 when i started mine, and i think i was 12 when i first used a tampon.....of course she should at least know her options. i mean, she's entered into this new world and should know all the in's and out's of it. try not to tell her about these things as if they're taboo to talk about or scary in any way. try to help her understand she's entered into womanhood, it's a happy (yet sometimes uncomfortable) time and she should be proud! i knew a girl that started hers when she was 9, so there are worse scenarios! explain to her how a tampon works, show her one. i think kotex has a special gift pack you can get for girls who first started or are going to start their period. i remember my mom got me one and it had a little book explaining how the female organs work and came with pads and maybe tampons, i don't remember. maybe you can look online for something like that.

i hope you find a good doctor for her and get the help you're looking for!

you certainly should tell her about tampons. if she has heavy flow.. she might need a tampon and a pad at the same time. the first year of so of periods is bad.. then it seems liek the hormones smooth out and it gets better.

there is not much the the OB/gyn can do for her.. they like to put girls on teh pill as that does make periods lighter.

Tampons for sure! I started my period at 11 and my mom (who only wore tampons) let me try them during that first period. That's all I've ever used with no problems. Read thru the directions with her and suggest putting a little bit of KY on the tip of the tampon, it will help her inset it until she gets used to the process.

As the mother of a swimmer, I can tell you that they make special "teen" tampons that are ideal for younger athletes. I would absolutely offer this to your daughter, if I was in your place. They are safe, and in my opinion, the best options for an athlete with a heavier flow. A few things: talk to her about how it might feel, choose a plastic applicator (more comfortable) as opposed to a cardboard one (my daughters had issues with them "gliding" in), and make sure she knows to change the tampon often (Toxic Shock).
Hope this helps-

I started my period at age 12 and have never used anything but a tampon. I say give her that option.

tampons are a must..I used them starting very young b/c I played sports and there was no problem.

H. ~ wow, that is something that I will have to think about in 12 more years! :-) However, i have found an alternative to tampons... They are called Insteads. (I buy them at CVS) They are AWESOME, and do not have the risk of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) I have never had a leak... Hope that helps... Does Tampons have an age requirement?

Best of luck...

The best pad is Alway Infinity! These will also be less noticeable under her work out clothes, at least that is my experience at the gym. These are soooo expensive, but they are very thin, very comfortable, very flexible and so worth it, if you are a heavy bleeder. These things don't leak! They have wings and you can get coupons (and then wait for them to be on sale, double help). Maybe she can use these for sports and the more bulky kind for at home etc, to cut down on the cost.

Get the "American Girl" book about taking care of your body. It goes over everything from tampons to shaving. Have her read the part about tampons and then go over it with her.

Whatever you decide, make sure that she knows about toxic shock and changes the tampons often. Teens can be cruel and I think I would let her use tampons.

PADS! Let her discover tampons on her own when she is ready!

If she's having pretty regular periods, tampons should be fine. BUT I would recommend the brand sold at Better Health or Whole Foods. They don't have any harmful chemicals. Start the whole lifelong process on a healthy and positive note.
NatraCare is the brand. Or something close to that. And they have over night pad, pantyliners. Y'know, maybe use tampons for dance and then during the night use a pad. There's something to be said for pads: you don't tend to forget them! Tampons can be forgotten and left in too long.

hi there,
i heard your not supposed to wear tampons for your first year or two but i remember at that age ( i was even younger) how awful it was to wear a pad and when i started to wear tampons it was like a miracle HEEH
anyway i'd still ask the gyno! do you live near clinton twp bc i have a great (physicans asst) who i love!!! but i trust her completely!

Not shure about the tampons but I have a very heavy flow to and do not like the balk I ride horses and am very active The always infinity are great. Good luck!

I recall using tampons when I first started. I preferred them over pads as it reminded me of a diaper. Still does!
Just be sure you instruct her on how to change and make sure it's often. She may have to as I would recommend using the smaller size for her. You can also use an overnight pad for bedtime to help her feel better. (the Always Overnight with wings is really good - especially if you get the wipes, then she doesn't feel overly self-conscious about odor (you can purchase the wipes separately. If she's bleeding through the smaller size, then have her add a liner for extra protection... she can use the wipes in the daytime to assist with odor - if any is present.).

I think on how you explain it depends on how much of a mini sex ed talk you want to tell her. I'd say if she's on her cycle - it is worth telling her about things. If you have a book or even use a diagram on the website - you can show her where the tampon will be sitting in her body and where she will be inserting it by referencing the picture on the screen or in the book. Be honest with her to her questions. I feel the more open and honest you are, it sets a better foundation for when she is older and if she encounters any female issues.

But it's odd she's experiencing a cycle so often. Does she have any other symptoms with this?

I as well used tampons due to the sport i played, and i was twelve when i started. I think maybe you should ask her, and see what she thinks.

Age has nothing to do with it. Tampons don't make you anymore grown up than getting your period does. Pads made me hate my period when I was young. It was so freeing to use tampons! No worry, no fuss. Make it her choice. Have her read the instructions that come with the tampon box and explain exactly how to use them. A tampon should not be uncomfortable if it's inserted properly.

My neices are 12 and 14. They use tampons because they are very active in sports. Remember, it will be better for her to use a tampon during dance than to have blood leak through her leotard for all to see.

Good luck! I am dreading the pre teen years! I hope all goes smoothly for you!

EDIT* I just read through all of the responses and I must say...the people adamantly against tampons are doing a disservice to their daughters. Tampons are not wrong for girls! Ladies, don't hold back information from your daughters about their bodies. Your daughters are going to find out from their friends about tampons and secretly wonder how to use them and they will be afraid to ask you.

H.; i was a teen and my mom refused to let me use tampons, once i did use them from my sister, i loved them, and would not do without them, they are more comfortable, and cant feel them unless in wrong, so if you are willing to direct her in a way to use them and she wants to i would, the only thing i caution is change them often, i would change them every hour cause i flowed heavy, and i also use a pad with them, cause i would get caught without a pad and forget they were in, being young does that, and fill up and bleed through, especially since i was a heavy bleeder too, i would wear a panty liner with them, so i would talk to her, and ask her , she may not want to do that, you do get a bit messy at times, so im sure if you are a mom who can do that, go for it, i wish i had more direction, i could not get them in right and did not know they were painful, or should not be painful, and that means in wrong, be there for her, as i know you will, and continue to be a good mom, D. s

I started my periods when I was 11 years old and my mom gave me all my options right there and then. The thought of walking around all day with a pad on to soak up the "blood" was disgusting to me. I immediately chose tampons, they had slender ones for younger users. I am so glad my mom gave me the choice. I never had any problems with them from my very first period. There is always instructions in the box for you to look at with her, and don't forget to remind her to change it regularly because of TSS (which is very rare but dangerous).
I imagine this must be very difficult for you because it seems such a grown up thing but just lay out her options and let her choose, then help her with her decision.
Good luck :0)

I used tampons from my very first period at age twelve up until I had my son and bought a Diva Cup. The tampon boxes have instructions in them, start there. I remember being 14 or 15 explaining how to use a tampon to an older friend (19) who hadn't ever been told. I made my hand into a fist and inserted the tampon.

I was in gymnastics at that age. I typically wore pads most days of my period. I would wear shorts over the spandex to conceal the bulky pad. However, on competition/meet days it was, of course, necessary to wear a tampon. My mom and I read the literature in the tampon box together and she talked to me about about how it was for her to put in a tampon. She had been a lifeguard as a teenager and knew I could do it. After school, the first day a tampon was needed, I was able to successfully put one in because my mom had prepped me.

They make smaller size tampons for early teen/pre teen. Those should work well. Don't attach tampon use to some stigma about sex. If she is old enough to have a period, she's old enough to use a tampon.

WOW - I honestly can't believe you are even asking a question like this. I would NEVER tell my 12-year old about tampons. She is going to have to deal with wearing pads. Have her wear shorts over her dance outfit just during that time. She'll be fine. My daughter is 10 and once she starts she will only know about pads. I do feel for you and am not looking forward to this stage in my daughter's life at all! Good luck!!!

Hi H.,
I did not wear my first tampon till after my first child was born and I was going swimming in florida... But that was 22 years ago. I now have a daughter. They have teen tampons, a box actually with like 2 or 3 sizes for teens. And the pads are so thin these days and should hold quite a bit for a dance class. But I think she is to young, I would wait till summer. :)

I like the always maxi that are in th eorange wrapper they are medium flow they have wings and they are thin but long. I would explain that if she ever wants to go swimming or for dancing she could wear this and explain to here she needs to still wear pads because she is young but to wear a tampon for dancing or swimming is fine. I would let her.

I say give her the option. I started wearing tampons at age 12, almost 13 because we had moved to the lake. My mom and older sister taught me how. I never had an issue with the use of them. Good luck!

I have been dealing with this exact issue with my eleven year old who started menstruating in March. She was diagnosed with anovulatory bleeding (she also had a period about every two weeks, very heavy flow and bad cramping). I took her to the adolescent Gynecology Clinic at UM. They explained that some young women do not ovulate for the first 1-2 years of menstruation which causes very erratic and heavy periods. Here are some things that have helped: as soon as she begins her period we give her Aleve every eight hours. This reduces the number of days of her period and the heavy flow, it also helps with cramps. They also put her on progesterone for the first ten days of the month. We only did this for one month (because we thought there was a chance she was getting an allergic reaction). She was on progesterone for 6 days and since that time she only has one period a month. For heavy flow my daughter says that the Always Infinity pads are the best. I learned about them from my own sister who swears by them. My daughter participates in competitive cheer and also wears tight clothes for tumbling, etc. We have tried tampons on tow separate occasions (just because I wanted to give her the option). She is definitely not ready for that yet. She had her first competition a few weeks ago when she was on her period and th Always Infinity pads worked well. They are very thin and are super absorbant. I wish you the best. I hope this information is helpful. Just remember the two A's (Aleve and Always). Good Luck!

When my daughter wanted to go swimming and was on her period, I bought her the slimmest tampons and explained to her that I would help her out if she needed to - and also gave her the directions that come with the tampons. I would just give her that option - esp since she is in dance..Good luck!!

Hi H.

I had the same thing happen to me when I was 12. I hated it. My parents took me to our family doctor and all they could do was put me on the pill to help regulate my periods. I did that for awhile but ended up just waiting for it to fix it's self. I also used tampons at age 12. I stated my period when I was 10. Hope this helps.


Hi H.,
My name is A., Im 43, mother of 3 girls. 15,12,7. Speaking for myself. I started at that age. I was into track,gymnastics,basketball and cheerleading. I did use Tampons,(super) I understand it is to hard to wear a bulky pad when your running,jumping flipping. My oldest 15, not as active wore a pad till just this last year. I let her know of the responsability of changing it so she doesnt get sick. If she would have been more active younger I would have said yes. My 12yr old on the cuff of starting, is Very active. I probly will let her if she asks. Its not like when I was younger when outfits weren't so tight and abvious. I would really wait till you see the Dr. though to make sure with the double periods that there's not an underlining problem. Hope this hhelps good luck!

A. S.

Hi, H.--

She is not too young for tampons, and they are the way to go for dance. I started when I was 11, and took ballet for 15 years. Pads are impossible with dance, particularly since teenagers usually don't wear underwear with their leotards and tights. For a young girl, other than during dance, swimming, or similar activities, I would supplement the tampons with pads, at least until she gets used to her flow. Good luck--


I have wore both and from my experience I wish I had used tampons from the beginning. I hated the pad and having it pressed against me while on my period. It also felt like I was wearing a diaper. I don't know where some people get the idea of she is too young and you have to wait the first two years. Ask her doctor when you take her in so that you are comfortable with making this decision with your daughter. My step daughter both used pads at first cause they were unsure of sticking something inside of them, but now they use them and they are 16 and 14. It all depends on when they are ready and what they are comfortable using, everyone is different. My advice is to talk to her doc and talk to her about all her options and the different types of pads etc. My step daughter hated the ones with wings. If you use tampons and because she has a heavy flow I would suggest the use of panty liners for extra protection during dance class.

I've used tampons with a pantyliner ever since my first period. I was 14, not 12 but I don't think that should matter. As long as she is mature enough to insert them and knows when to replace them... I can remember reading the directions from the box and checking out the pictures. Have her take a look at the directions...she'll be fine! It's really not complicated. I've always found pads to be really messy and gross. Tampons are much more discreet. Good luck!

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