A Complete Period Guide for Fathers
Periods and puberty- it is felt that these subjects are better handled by the mother. But it’s time to break the taboo! This taboo causes a feeling of shame for many young girls who do not have mothers or female counterparts in the family to talk about periods.
Plus, they may get misinformation from the internet or their friends.
As a father, you can play a positive part in period talks with your daughter and eliminate any misconceptions she may have about periods. You can help her realise that the puberty changes are completely natural, and make her feel confident, strong, in control, and empowered. Empowered to take on all the positives and negatives that come with the menstrual cycle each month.
However, first, you must educate yourself thoroughly about menstruation. So today, we present a period guide for fathers to help support their daughters in one of the most crucial milestones of life.
Why Should Fathers Talk About Periods With Their Daughters?
Fathers usually refrain from talking about periods and menstrual hygiene with their daughters because they believe that it’s just not their role but only of mothers. However, that’s not true.
Participating in these discussions will strengthen the bond with your daughters and teach your son to break the taboos around menstruation.
Menstruation is a natural process and a significant milestone in your daughter’s life. But your daughter’s body also goes through many changes at this time. It can catch your child off guard and make her have a fear of periods or feel awkward about her body.
This is where you can help her traverse this phase with ease. Be calm and talk with love, care, and complete understanding. Approach the subject on the first pubertal sign you see in your daughter, such as adult-type body odor, pubic and underarm hair or an outbreak of a pimple. This gives you sufficient time to acquaint yourself with the knowledge as well as instil it in your daughter before the actual periods start.
Menstruation Awareness for Fathers’ Before Getting into Any Discussions
- Stay away from any taboos and stereotypes around menstruation
- Talk about facts.
- Educate yourself on the topic before you start talking.
- Treat the topic with urgency and never procrastinate when your daughter wants to talk about it.
- Use simple language your daughter can understand.
Guide for Dads to Understand the Menstrual Cycle
Periods or menstruation is a monthly cycle where the uterus sheds its inner lining. This cycle is a part of the female reproductive system and prepares the body for pregnancy.
According to research by Cleveland Clinic, a menstrual cycle can range from 21-35 days, and the menstrual blood flows up for 4-7 days. The complete cycle is driven by hormones or chemical messengers in the body.
At the onset of menses, the pituitary gland (in the brain) and ovaries (part of the female reproductive system) release hormones that cause thickening of the inner lining of the uterus. This happens so that if pregnancy would occur, an egg can implant in this lining. Hormones also cause ovaries to release an egg that moves down the fallopian tubes and waits for the sperm.
Without egg fertilization by the sperm, pregnancy is not initiated and the uterus lining breaks and sheds. This is the ‘period’ or ‘menses’.
At what age menstruation begins?
Your daughter may start menstruating anytime between 10-16 years of age. During periods she may experience symptoms like mood changes, bloating, abdominal cramps, backache, breast tenderness, headache, food cravings, acne, and trouble going to sleep.
All this period pain can be handled with natural remedies and/or period products, which we’ll talk about later in the post.
As a father, you can prepare your daughter for these symptoms in advance so that she doesn’t get frightened or feel unnatural about what is happening with her body. You can also support her in choosing the right period products for alleviating these symptoms
Understanding Different Period Products
You should also be aware of the different period products available in the market, such as sanitary pads, tampons, menstrual cups, menstrual underwear, and others. It’s always advisable to keep more than one sanitary option so that your daughter can choose what feels comfortable for her.
Some girls may not be comfortable using tampons unless they have had a few regular cycles of their menses. However, if your daughter shows an interest in learning how to use a tampon in the initial phase, don’t thwart her confidence and guide her to watch age-appropriate video tutorials.
Also, learn about the various period apps to track your periods and help your daughter download the right one on her smartphone. These apps will help her track the beginning and end of her menstrual cycle, and also take detailed notes of any prominent symptoms she experiences during her periods.
Detailed notes of these symptoms may be helpful to share with a healthcare provider in case you need to consult the doctor for any abnormalities in her periods.
Handling Period Pain – How Can Fathers Help?
Period pain is a normal discomfort that begins a few hours before the menstrual bleeding and may continue for a day or two.
How to Relieve Period Pain?
- Give a hot water bottle massage to the lower abdomen of your daughter. Repeat it as required.
- Encourage your daughter to eat healthy and do regular exercises like yoga and meditation during her periods.
- Offer her herbal tea like ginger water, chamomile tea, fennel water, etc.
- Stock up on NSAIDs like Ibuprofen, diclofenac, etc.
Though all the above methods may relieve menstrual pain, but may not act instantly. For instant relief in period pain, it’s advisable to use a compact period pain relieving device such as Welme’s.
Based on TENS technology (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation), it is a non-invasive and economical way to eliminate the root cause of period pain, which is the overproduction of prostaglandins in the uterus lining. This device reduces the need for painkillers and improves the life quality of your daughter.
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Breaking taboos and promoting essential menstrual education for fathers is a crucial step towards a more inclusive and taboo-free society. By empowering fathers with knowledge and empathy about menstruation, we can dismantle deeply ingrained stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding this natural bodily process.
When fathers actively discuss menstrual health with their daughters, it strengthens their relationship, trust and support. This can significantly boost a young girl’s self-confidence and self-worth. Also, when dads are proactive in imparting knowledge about menstruation, and arranging menstrual products for their daughters thereby promoting healthier lives for their daughters as well as the broader community.
Fathers have considerable influence in countering societal misconceptions and gender prejudices related to menstruation. They possess the ability to question established norms and set the stage for a more egalitarian society where menstruation is not shrouded in shame but accepted as a natural biological process.
Let’s motivate our fathers to initiate these vital discussions, and dismantle existing societal hurdles related to this subject matter; thus paving the way for a future where periods are embraced as an intrinsic part of human existence. Unitedly we can strive towards creating an empathetic world that welcomes menstruation with compassion, comprehension, and acceptance rather than apprehension or embarrassment.