Early menstrual cycles may be erratic and unpredictable in terms of duration, flow, and the amount of time between cycles. However, over time, most girls' cycles will become more regular and take on a familiar and predictable pattern.
As their menstrual cycle regulates, young women will find it easier to predict how heavy their period will be on certain days, and what level of absorbency they will require to last them 2-4 hours, or overnight. Each girl's menstrual pattern will be slightly different, varying in timing and rate of flow. Some girls may need to get up in the middle of the night to change their pad or tampon, while other will not. Some girls will find that they experience break-through bleeding or "spotting" between their full periods while others will not. Still other girls will experience significant vaginal discharge between periods that may stain underclothing and create an odor if not otherwise managed. Girls may find that it is helpful for them to wear a "panty liner' when spotting or other discharges are likely. Panty liners, which are very thin, light pads, are designed to protect underclothing and can be changed often to prevent odor.
Many feminine hygiene companies will send youth promotional starter kits containing samples of their products. These kits often include good, basic instructions about menstruation and suggestions for managing menstrual flow in a healthy and sanitary manner. Seeking out these kits can be a good way to help girls try many different products without wasting money buying entire packages which might not get used up if determined to be undesirable.
Proper Disposal of Pads and Tampons
No matter the form of feminine hygiene products girls choose, it's important that they learn to properly dispose of their sanitary supplies. Menstrual pads, pad wrappers, paper backing, tampon applicators, and tampon wrappers should never be flushed down the toilet, as they can cause major clogs and sewer back-ups, requiring expensive plumbing work to correct.
The instructions in most boxes of tampons indicate they may be flushed down the toilet. However, this is not always the case; Some septic systems simply cannot handle tampons. To be on the safe side, it is best to wrap used pads, tampons, applicators and associated paper in the wrapper from the fresh pad or tampon just applied, wrap that in further tissue paper if desired, and then toss the result in the trash. Many public restrooms provide specialized trash receptacles in the toilet stall just for disposing of used feminine hygiene products. Girls who are throwing away used hygiene products at home may need to empty their trash into an outside receptacle more frequently during their periods to prevent odors in the bathroom.