In April, LOLA launched our First Period Kit. It’s filled with everything a girl needs for her first period including tampons, pads, and liners made with organic cotton. We also included a carrying pouch and stickers for cycle tracking. As we developed the kit, we talked to teens, parents, doctors, and teachers and a common thread became clear: many girls don’t feel prepared for their first period. Through April, we’re tackling some of the most requested first period topics on The Broadcast. Want more first period tips? Check out our e-book: LOLA’s personal, honest, real-life guide to your first period, co-written with leading pediatrician, Dr. Lisa Stern.
So you’ve mastered how to insert a tampon and have mostly figured out the right position for your pad. Still, you can’t help imagining the worst: period leaks. Maybe you waited too long to change your tampon or you underestimated how heavy your flow was going to be that day. It can be tricky, especially in the beginning, to know which products will be best for your flow.
The truth is leaks happen to everyone at some point. Everyone. Like pick a female celebrity and she knows what’s it like to discover a spot on her favorite pair of jeans. Leaks are never fun, but with some tips and tricks, leaks can also end up being no big deal.
The first line of defense against leaks? Doing your best to prevent them from happening. Check every couple of hours to see how your pad is holding up to your flow. If the pad is nearly full and you’re about to go into a two hour movie, change it to make sure you won’t overflow. You know how your mom would tell you to go when you can? She was right. Make a pit stop when you have the chance to set your mind at ease.
Plus, when you first get your period, your flow is often irregular. Until you know which are your heaviest days and what “heavy” means for you, think about using a pad with more absorbency, just in case. Or if you’re wearing a tampon, use a pantyliner as well to catch any extra blood. Many a pair of panties has been saved by doubling up.
OK, so it happened. You went to the bathroom or, ugh, stood up from your seat and got a tap on the shoulder from your best friend that you’ve got a leak. How can you get the stain out?
First, plain old water can often help. Run a steady stream through the stain to get out any that’s still fresh. Next step, water’s best friend: soap. If a stain is new enough, soap can usually get out most of the stain. If it’s been a few hours, still start with soap and water, but then as soon as possible, bring in the stain fighters. A detergent that has some enzyme cleaner (basically products that do non-toxic disinfecting) or a bleach for whites or color-safe bleach for colors are good places to start.
If you want to go all-natural with your stain removal, try hydrogen peroxide or lemon juice on those stains that aren’t coming out. You can also make up a paste of aspirin (crush up a few tablets and mix with water) or a paste of baking soda (mix up as much as you need for the stain with some water). Apply the paste to the spot and let it sit for at least 30 minutes or overnight before you toss it in the laundry as you normally would.
Prepare for it
You’ve experienced your first leak and made it through! Now, take some steps before your next period to be prepared.
Start carrying extra product. You thought your period was coming on the 6th and here it is the 5th, but if you’ve stashed away a spare pad, you have nothing to worry about. The next time you re-up on your feminine products, put a tampon, pad, and pantyliner in the bags you most frequently carry. That way whether you’re in class or hanging out with your squad, you can rest easy that you’re prepared for whatever may come.
In the end, there’s no shame even if you do leak. Menstruating is a natural and normal part of women’s lives, which means leaks often are too. If a leak happens, do what you can to make it better and then forget about it. You’ve got more important things to think about.