Proof that Blogs are respected sources of advice and information from Tampax

Many bloggers and brands know this already but a new survey from Tampax recently proved that bloggers are a popular choice for young women looking for information and advice.

The survey, commissioned to celebrate the launch of Tampax Compak Pearl (the first new brand-new product launch from Tampax in just over a decade) revealed that bloggers and vloggers are higher up the list than nurses when it comes to young women looking for advice about their bodies.

Mum is still top of the list for 50% of girls looking for advice about periods while 27% would feel more comfortable asking their friends. 9% would turn to bloggers and vloggers while only 7% would ask the school nurse.

I've not really had "the talk" with my daughters (aged 9 and 14) but instead have always spoken openly about my periods, pregnancies and subsequent menopause in front of them and my sons. And they all certainly know about the hormonal aspects of both menstruation and menopause- to call me moody is understatement of the year and I constantly have to apologise for my frequent hormone-induced rants!

I asked my teenaged daughter who she would turn to from the list - she laughed and pointed out that I am both Mum and blogger so it was difficult to say. She admitted she wouldn't ask the school nurse though!

I always teased my husband that since we agreed before we had children that he would have the talk with the boys while I spoke to the girls I came out better off as we only had two girls compared to our five boys.

But we found a policy of openness and honestly answering direct questions as they arose avoided the need for a sit-down serious talk. To be fair when you are one of 7 it's hard not to know about the birds and bees - only the youngest has not experienced Mummy pregnant and I'm fairly sure the older ones have helped educate the younger ones.

Our top tip for those of you wondering when to talk to your children about puberty and safe sex, we decided when our older boys started going alone to parties at around 13/14 to start a safe condom supply. We told them they would be in a particular drawer and they would be replenished.

We spoke about disease as well as contraception and so far so good - no teenage pregnancies or STD's as far as we know! (They are 19 and 20 now so sort themselves out)

As for sanitary products we took the same approach. I bought a selection of products suitable for teenaged girls and popped them into my daughter's top drawer along with a helpful leaflet. I told her what I'd done, warned her that her first period might take her by surprise and asked if she had any questions then answered her queries.

It was the perfect time to give her some information about what changes she could expect in her body and, soon after, help her when she wanted to start shaving her armpits. Oddly it was a lovely experience as we chatted like women together instead of mum and child.

You could sweeten the news about the imminent start of menstruation by making up a lovely goodie pack for your daughter with things like nail varnish, a face pack, makeup bag and hot water bottle along with a selection of sanitary products.

Tampax and GP DR Radha Modgil have put together a helpful guide for mums who are worried about how they could broach sensitive subjects with their children. Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions:

1.       When is the best time to talk to my daughter about periods?
It’s a great idea to split up this conversation into little chunks over time rather than having ‘the big chat,’ which can make some girls feel uncomfortable. Periods tend to start about 2.5 years after breast development begins and 1 year after their growth spurt. These signs can be useful in knowing roughly when you should start to think about talking to them about periods so that they are ready. This time will vary from person to person. The average age to start your period is 12 years old, but it can vary from 8 to 16 years old, so the best advice is to know your daughter as an individual. The really important thing is to let her know you are there and easy to chat to, without judgement or worry.

2.       How would you recommend I bring up the topic with her? Do you have any tips for parents who feel embarrassed about broaching the topic with their daughters?
It is understandable that some parents feel worried about how or when to talk to their daughter. Remember why you want to talk to her. You want her to be prepared so she isn’t confused or scared, and doesn’t feel alone. This should help you in getting over any worries or embarrassment. If you feel embarrassed she is likely to feel the same, or worse! Get yourself some information that you can share with her to help the chat, you could use a book or a website. Pick a quiet time when you are alone and approach the subject sensitively. Tell her that you want to chat, even though she might feel embarrassed because you care and you want to empower her.  Offer the option of talking things through or give her the choice of reading the leaflet in private if she feels more comfortable - and respect her decision. Put the offer to her of you buying her some pads to have in case she needs them. Leave it with her and check back with her in a few days. The most important thing is to let her know that you are always there for her to chat to no matter what it is about.

3.       What will happen when she gets her first period?
She may get breast tenderness just before she starts her period and get slightly more emotional. When her period starts she may feel some lower tummy cramps. Emotionally she may feel confused, shocked and vulnerable. It is really important to support her at this time. Give her emotional support and explain what these changes are and that they’re something to celebrate and not be afraid of.  Make sure you give her some pads and help her with how to use them, and talk about tampons as another option for the future. Make a date to take her out and do something nice together.

4.       How long will it take before her periods become regular?
This can vary but normally periods do become regular about a year or just over a year after she starts. If they continue to be irregular after this, or are very irregular, then it is a good idea to see her GP.

5.       Will she experience PMS when she starts her period?
She may do. It is difficult to know who will be affected by the changes in hormone levels, by how much or when. It is great to let her know about possible PMS symptoms and that she can help herself by exercising, eating well, sleeping well and dealing with stress in a healthy way. Let her know you understand and that if she ever feels emotional, sad or anxious you are there for her. If the symptoms become too much, then you can go with her to see the GP, who can help.

6.       How can I help her deal with any symptoms she experiences?
You can talk to her about what they might be before she starts, so she is prepared and not taken by surprise. Let her know if her periods are painful then to talk to you as you can help with simple pain relief or a hot water bottle. Let her know about possibly feeling more emotional, getting more spots and her breasts becoming tender just before her period. Reassure her that you understand and that you can feel this way too, or that you used to. Above all make sure she knows that if she has any feelings which are difficult for her, or any changes she is worried about, you can help or she can see the GP about it, so as to not suffer in silence.

7.        How do I know what menstruation/sanitary products are right for her?
Only she can find this out but you can give her some options and chat about sanitary pads, liners and tampons. Buying her some samples she can look at and try will be helpful.  Talking about comfort, convenience, the level of protection and discreetness is helpful, but ask her what she would find useful for her individual day to day life, and activities.

It will also depend on how heavy her flow is. She may want higher absorbency, or longerproducts, at the start of her period and then lighter absorbency products or liners towards the end. The key is to try different options and see what she feels best fits her needs.

8.       I haven’t brought sanitary products for a while, is there anything new that I should be considering?

There have been some great advances in tampons and pads over the last few years, there are now a lot more options out there, meaning there will be something that fits her needs perfectly. One of the big advances in sanitary pads is that now you can get really absorbent pads that are very thin (normally called “Ultra” pads) , compared to the old style thick pads. They have smart technology that means they can absorb lots of fluid without needing lots of material. There are also new tampons that are designed to expand to fit a girl’s inner shape, meaning she is really protected and comfortable.

Try visiting the femcare aisle in your local store and to familiarise yourself with the products that are available so you are well informed when it comes to suggesting the right fit for her. 

9.       I want to give my daughter a kit to keep with her so she always feels prepared, even if she starts when she’s alone or at school – what should this include?
It could include a couple of sanitary pads and a change of knickers, just in case, as well as an un-perfumed wet wipe packet. Maybe buy her a small pretty or funky toiletry bag to keep these in or something discreet.

10.   What other important information does my daughter need to know about periods?
It is really important to let her know that periods are to be celebrated as a normal part of growing up that they don’t need to limit what she does or when she does it, and that she definitely shouldn’t be embarrassed. Let her know that you are there to empower her to make her own decisions about what she wants to use for her periods but that you are always there for support and help if she needs it.

11.   I don’t want my daughter to miss out on anything when she gets her period, how can I encourage her to keep active and social? 
Firstly, make sure she has the products she needs to feel protected, so she can confidently participate. Let her know that some sanitary towels and tampons are small enough to carry with her everywhere, and that if she has the right products and the right level of protection then she shouldn’t feel limited by her period at all. Secondly, even though socialising and keeping active might be the last things she feels like doing when she has her period, try to reassure her that they may help her feel better. Exercise could help her feel more positive, or even relieve any PMS she is experiencing. Tampons will also allow her to swim during her period, so nothing is out of bounds! You can set your own example by doing anything and everything when you have your period, and share this with her. Finally, let her know that if she’s uncomfortable then you can help her with simple pain relief, though definitely suggest a hot water bottle as a first port of call.

12.   What tips can I give my daughter for inserting a tampon?
Let her know that it is easier to insert a tampon when she is relaxed. Sometimes it can help to breathe in and out, and then insert the tampon.  It is easier with one leg on the toilet seat or bath edge. Help her feel comfortable knowing which bits of her body are which and where to insert the tampon by showing her the leaflet which comes in the tampon pack. Ithas a helpful diagram that she can look at in private too. Always let her know you are there to ask if she needs anything.

13.   Do you have any recommendations for other sources of information for me?
There are lots of helpful resources out there, such as :

Disclaimer: We were sent a pack of the new Tampax Compak Pearl and some girly goodies as a thank you for sharing news of the new product.