A new survey by Tampax® shows that myths about tampons still worry Irish women aged 21-24, especially when it comes to inserting tampons, pain and uncertainty about which tampon they should use.
Dublin females were revealed to be far more comfortable using tampons while women from Connaught are the least comfortable with tampon use. The survey also found that half of all young Irish women believe that tampons cause pain and are difficult to insert. While, 85% believe that tampons are not suitable for young women. These findings suggest that there is a need for greater awareness about tampon use among the rest of Ireland, which is why Tampax® have teamed up with Dr Siobhan Collins, a GP in Morehampton Clinic, Dublin who specialises in women’s health to devise a ‘Get the Facts, Ditch the Fiction’ education campaign.
Dr Collins provides the facts to young women so they can make informed choices about tampons and get the comfort, confidence and protection they need during each period. MummyPages were delighted to get the opportunity to speak to Dr Collins to get advice for mums with teenage daughters about every aspect of menstruation including; what the best tampons for teenagers are, when to begin using tampons and how best to deal with pms, cramps and painful periods. 
It’s important that young girls get the facts when it comes to using tampons:
  • Tampons can’t get lost, there’s simply no place for them to go.
  • Tampons can be worn at night
  • Tampon insertion isn’t difficult and shouldn’t be painful
  • Tampons are suitable for young girls
Menstruation is different for every girl and Dr Collins advised us, that on average young girls will get their first period between the ages of eleven and thirteen. However, it can vary anywhere between the ages of eight and sixteen. Before mums speak to their daughter’s about menstruation it’s important that they inform themselves adequately so that they’re comfortable discussing it. Mums should discuss puberty and the changes that will occur in a girl’s body including breast development. Menstruation generally occurs about two years after the breasts have begun to develop.
We asked Dr Siobhan about precocious puberty and whether mums should be concerned if an eight year old girl begins menstruation. She advised us that; "It’s not any cause for worry and that girls who are taller and heavier may start earlier. Also if their mum or granny started early then this is also a factor.  These days with better nutrition the average age that girls being menstruation has also reduced and it’s not unusual for a girl in fourth class to get her period."
We also wanted to know if tampons are suitable for a girl of eight or nine to use and Dr Collins advised while they can certainly be used, it’s best for girls to get used to getting their
periods first and then when perhaps start secondary school they might want to use them for P.E., swimming or playing sports.
When using tampons it’s important that girls are using a tampon that is suitable for their flow, they can select from light, medium or heavy. Using a tampon with the wrong absorbency level can cause a tampon to be more difficult to remove. For young girls, Tampax pearl® is the best option and it’s important that they read the instructions so they are comfortable when using them. It might also be a good idea if you have young daughters to get them to to log on to www.beinggirl.ie which is a wonderful resource for young girls and will answer any questions they might have about periods, puberty, tampons and hopefully help dispel any myths about periods and tampon use!
Dr Siobhan also advised that it’s important that when it comes to using tampons for the first time that they are inserted during the first or second day of the period when the flow is at its heaviest and not outside this timeframe.
She spoke to us about irregular periods, and how they are perfectly normal for tweens and teenagers. She advised: “It takes 2-3 years for a girl’s cycle to regulate”. During this time it isn’t uncommon for periods to stop for 6 months, after 2-3 years things will settle down and periods will become more regular.
We also wanted to know what the best way of dealing with cramps and painful periods is and weren’t surprised to discover that the old reliable methods really are the best; hot water bottles, a warm bath and if needed over the counter pain killers should all do the trick! 
When it comes to dealing with pms, Doctor Siobhan advised us that the best way to beat the symptoms is to keep up regular exercise as it’s the best way of releasing energy. Mums also need to be understanding about teenage mood swings as girls of this are just getting used to hormones and the occasional slamming of doors and rolling of eyes is to be expected!
Acne and spots is another issue for many young girls, especially around that time of the month. Doctor Collins advised that good diet and drinking plenty of water are the best ways to reduce the chances of them appearing around the time of their periods. Also, girls may find that a certain food may trigger an outbreak. Cravings for chocolate are common around this time but it’s important for girls to try and resist these cravings!
If any mums are concerned that their daughters periods aren’t normal, Dr Collins advised that the things to watch out for which would indicate an abnormal period would be a heavy bleed in a young girl or a period that lasts for a few weeks. Also, if periods have stopped and there has been a weight fluctuation, such as dramatic weight loss,it may be a good idea to make an appointment to visit her G.P. to make sure there is nothing wrong. 
To 'Get the Facts, Ditch the Fiction' about tampons, log into www.beinggirl.ie