When you reach puberty, questions like “when will I get my first period?” become common. However, waiting for your first period can be stressful. You never know when or where it will happen. Given how much time you spend at school each week, there is a good chance it will happen there. Learning how to use a pad and bracing yourself for the situation can help you handle it with ease.
This article will teach you seven tips for surviving your first period at school.
- Go to the toilet as soon as possible.
You could be at school, studying in class, playing on the playground, or having lunch with your friends when you notice sudden dampness, indicating an unexpected period. There is no need to panic. Ask your teacher for permission to use the toilet as soon as you suspect your period has begun. This gives you the privacy you need to assess the situation and find the supplies you’ll need to get through the rest of the day.
You can even approach your teacher if you are comfortable doing so or ask to call your parents, so they can bring your some more supplies to make you feel better.
- Get supplies from your school.
Schools usually stock up on menstrual supplies in case if someone needs them. These supplies are easily accessible in the girls’ restroom and, if your school has one, in the emergency or nurse’s office. Some schools even have small change vending machines that supply pads and other menstrual products. You can also ask other girls at school who you believe are on their period. Don’t be embarrassed. It is absolutely normal to share menstrual hygiene products.
- Using a pad for the first time
If this is your first period, questions like “how to use a pad on my first period?” may arise. You may be nervous, but you can ask a friend or a nurse to help you wear a pad for the first time.
Here are a few basic steps to wear a pad for the first time:
- Go to the bathroom and pull down your skirt or pants and underwear.
- Sit on the toilet and clean your private part with water or wipes to remove excess blood before using a pad.
- Open the packaging carefully around the pad and remove it. You can keep the wrapper to dispose of your used product later.
- Then, peel away the backing paper to reveal the adhesive, and stick your pad to the crotch of your underwear. Make sure it has adhered to your underwear firmly.
- If your pad has wings, remove the backing and fold them around the middle of your underwear. Check that the pad is not too far forward or back. It should be centred so that leaks do not occur at the front or back.
- Pull your clothes up, and you’re ready to go. Remember to change your pad every 3 to 4 hours to avoid leaks, foul odour, and irritation.
- Make a temporary pad out of toilet paper.
If you are not able to find a pad, don’t worry. You can make a temporary pad until you get home or arrange to borrow one from someone.
- Simply fold a long piece of toilet paper into a rectangle.
- Place the toilet paper rectangle into your underwear’s crotch.
- Then, take another long piece of toilet paper and wrap it around the rectangle and your underpants, securing the temporary pad in place.
Remember to check this more often than a traditional pad, but it should suffice in an emergency.
- Wrap a jacket or sweater around your waist if needed.
Although first periods are usually light, there is still a chance of getting some blood on your clothes. If this occurs, simply wrap a long-sleeved shirt, jacket, or sweater around your waist to cover it up. If you don’t have one, you can borrow one from a friend or the school nurse. In an emergency, you can even ask your nurse or teacher to call your parents for a change of clothes.
- Don’t panic.
Your menstrual cycle is regulated by hormones. And, these hormones fluctuate, which can affect your mental health during periods and make you feel lousy or unwell. It can be difficult to deal with, but it is essential to recognise that it is a necessary part of life. It signifies that you are growing and changing. Additionally, panicking during the situation can make it worse. Thus, it is important to stay calm. Remind yourself that this happens to all girls! And if this doesn’t help, talk to your teacher or counsellor to help you deal with the situation.
- Prepare for a next time.
Before your next period arrives, stock up on your pads or other menstrual products, and keep a few spares in your backpack in case you get another at school. You can even keep spare pants or over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen (only if advised) in your backpack in case of a leak or menstrual pain.
Bonus tip: Find out when your period is due.
Your period may be erratic and different from cycle to cycle for the first few years. That is absolutely normal. However, if you regularly monitor your symptoms and cycle, you may notice signs that your period is about to begin. Apps like Kotex’s period calculator can help you track your period dates and symptoms, allowing you to better prepare for the situation.