My daughter just started her period! What do I do?

My daughter just started her period! What do I do?

Our expert: Dr. Cara Natterson

Our resident expert on all things girls. She’s a board certified pediatrician, author of the best-selling book series The Care and Keeping of You, and travels the country speaking about health and wellness issues to both kids and parents.

My daughter started her period yesterday! She is 10, the same age I was when I started mine. But, I do not remember mine being this heavy, and she described having clots! Is this “normal”? She soaked through a teen pad in 4.5 hours. I am a little worried here.

Can you help or point me in the direction of a book or website that can?

This is 100% normal! The “clots” you see are actually a mix of blood and tissue, the shed lining of the uterus. Sometimes when girls get their first period, it is very light because there isn’t much lining to shed. But other times the lining has been building up for a while and the flow can be significant. Add to this that your periods and your daughter’s periods may not necessarily be the same. Some girls have a much heavier (or lighter) average flow than their moms. Again, totally normal.

It is also not uncommon to soak through pads in just a couple of hours during the first day or two of a cycle, when the flow is heaviest. Teen pads are often thinner than adult pads, lacking the absorbency of the ones adults use. Because all pads are so much less bulky than they used to be, I tend to advise against “teen” directed pads and instead tell girls to use whatever works for them – a “maxi” pad today is so much thinner than it once was that many girls with heavier flows prefer them.

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