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periods - 15 yr old won't use towels

(126 Posts)
Tidyyourroom Wed 20-Apr-11 16:34:04

My sister has told me that her 15 year old (who started her periods about 18 months ago) flatly refuses to use sanitary towels, and instead makes pads from toilet paper. She then insists on flushing it down the toilet, which on two occasions has resulted in her having to call a plumber.
My sister has talked repeatedly to her about this, supplied her with every type/brand of towel on the market, but my niece just says they are all uncomfortable, and continues to use toilet paper. She assures her Mum that she is using towels, takes them out of the packets, and hides them all over her room. This results in her underwear becoming soiled, which she also hides all over her bedroom.
I have offered to talk to my niece, but her Mum feels that her daughters' trust in her will be destroyed if she finds out that her mother has told me. My sister is in despair about this, and I would appreciate any advice/comments. Thank you.

Butterflywgs Sat 29-Jun-13 02:05:01

I am almost tearing up that I wasn't alone in finding the whole period thing a bit weird as a young teen. I hadn't quite got the hang of knowing when I was about to come on and once left an embarrassing sofa stain because I had failed to realise, which my mother dearest told me off for and must have informed dad (separated) as products were VERY OBVIOUSLY placed next time I visited him. I was MORTIFIED. Mother did a lot of other emotionally abusive things.

skandi1 Mon 15-Oct-12 12:15:48

She is probably worried that everyone can see she is wearing one in vpl type way and it looks like it wriggles when she walks. (that is what is feels like).

She may also not know how to dispose of them and may be worried about how to get them into the toilet without other seeing.

Towels are don't exactly fit snugly into the palm of your hand and you will not be allowed to take your school bag out of class if you need a change during a double lesson.

I think tampons are a good idea. Or at least let her try out a few different brands and let her choose her own type of sanitary products.

I was forced by my mother to wear massive huge thick towels which you really could see through clothing and she was tightfisted and would only give me one extra for a whole day at school so
I would end up smelling too as well as soiling my clothing. Never really gotten over that. Every 28 days I was a laughing stock as school. sad. It was awful. I left home for uni at 18 and my first purchase (before even beer or fags) was tampons.

Let her choose. Give her the money to buy what she wants to use.

Disappointedbuyer Mon 15-Oct-12 11:42:27

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

exexpat Mon 15-Oct-12 11:33:58


(rather suspect last poster has resurrected it just to advertise period pants - will report)

castle251 Mon 15-Oct-12 11:30:32

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tb Sat 05-May-12 04:51:21

DD started her periods when she was 12, and is now 14. She is a weekly boarder at school.

Way before they started she had a couple of packs of towels of various types, and there were loads of tampons around anyway.

For quite a while she seemed to find her periods hard to deal with and would come home at weekends with blood-soaked knickers with the sodden st still in place. Used to be torn between wanting to give her a cuddle or a bollocking over her lack of respect for (normally) dh who sorts out the washing.

For about the last 6-9 months this problem has gone away, and she seems to have very few 'accidents'.

Perhaps, it's just a question of her 'growing in' to her periods. DD was really keen to have them, and is now green with envy because I don't any more - even though she doesn't want to have hot flushes either. grin

Emmielu Sun 22-Jan-12 19:54:21

I fully understand the towels. They are horrible. Very uncomfortable & for me they made me feel dirty or like I don't wash down there properly. I remember going through hundreds of them purely cause once I felt like they were getting too clammy I used wet wipes then changed it again. It really was a hassle. I'd suggest tampons as most girls when I was a teen (I'm now 20) used tampons.

suzi2 Sun 09-Oct-11 21:46:52

I hate the feeling of pads - that sweaty plasticky feeling. Eurgh. I'd make sure she's 100% comfortable with the ins and outs of periods - why it's happening, how to use towels, how to dispose of them - and make sure there's no embarrassment there. And if it's the towels that are the problem, then tell her about tampax. I started buying tampax in secret with my pocket money as my mum was against me using them (from a TSS point of view). Once she realised I was doing this, she was happy for me to use them. Teenagers are weird and periods make them weirder!

KatieJ75 Fri 06-May-11 14:12:17

In our swimming club we certainly have 10-year olds using tampons with no trouble at all. A little KY jelly can be used if there is any difficulty, but at 15 that is not likely to be a problem.
I cannot imagine any 15-yr old not using tampons or a menstrual cup, which (cups) are becoming more popular.

A1980 Sun 24-Apr-11 16:45:41

Re the soiled underwear point, the age old trick which I still use it to wear black underwear. Red and brown stains don't show up on black. Embarassment gone!

I only black pants when I'm due, during and for a few days after my period as if there is any leakage it wont show up. It saves ruining pants all the time at it stains pale coloured pants so badly.

FriedEggyAndSlippery Sun 24-Apr-11 07:15:43

My mum got me to record mine from the start, and I still do (using an iPhone app) - I figured everyone did this!

But I don't think she's really talked to her mum about it so maybe the idea hasn't come up. I will suggest that, and the pantyliners idea (she does have some at our house but I don't think she's used them either)

I gave her one of those tins that came with bodyform packs, with a couple of STs and PLs in (and the same to her sister who hasn't started menstruating, so she didn't feel singled out) - bless her she keeps it in her school bag but she's never used anything from it I don't think. I'm imagining that if she came on at school she would be too embarrassed to go and sort it out

BertieBotts Sat 23-Apr-11 22:32:39

Friedeggy, if she gets caught out a lot, would it be worth buying her some pantyliners which she can use for a few days before she comes on, or every day between periods if she wants to. Would it also be worth getting her a little diary with calendar in the front so she can mark the days of her periods on there and see whether a pattern is developing, to allow her to be more prepared? If you go onto the Always website they might have the little cardboard ones to order, that they put into the sanitary towel sample packs they give to the girls at school.

Although TBH I've never been good at tracking mine really. It's much easier when I'm on the pill and I know I'm about to come on because of where I am in the pack.

hellymelly Sat 23-Apr-11 21:38:54

I hate towels too,although I do use them,mainly because I have lightish periods and that dragging feeling when you have to pull out a tampon...ughhhhh.I find the organic ones less irritating -Natracare. I did sometimes use tissue as a teenager,mainly because I didn't talk to my Mum about anything,or she to me,and she didn't buy me any sanitary stuff so I had to sort it out myself. I tried tampons and failed,as the only small ones then were lillets and I couldn't get the hang of them-I was very happy when tampax brought out the slender ones as they were much easier to use.I also used to try and wash pants in secret and dry them on the radiator.I hope my dds don't feel like this.I would ahve felt better if my Mum and other older women /girls around me had been more open and straightforward,sometimes being too tentative about something can make it seem more of a big deal,also it is a confusing time emotionally,one minute you want to be a woman,the next you want to stay a girl,it is hard. I'd forgotten how hard until reading this thread.

thisisyesterday Sat 23-Apr-11 21:07:59

friedeggs... i would tell her to just chuck them straight in the wash!

i have had frequent leaks as my periods tend to be quite heavy and i've never had a stain that hasn't come out in the wash tbh and i never rinse/soak them....

mathanxiety Sat 23-Apr-11 20:23:49

How about some stain remover spray in the bathroom too, or tell her it's fine to just toss her stained knickers in the bin? She could keep a stash of new or clean knickers in the bathroom too.

Do you have some spare wall above the loo where you could hang a cabinet -- something from Ikea for instance, where all sorts of useful items could be kept?

PenguinArmy Sat 23-Apr-11 20:23:27

I find most of them too horrible an plastic to wear. I now use the biodegradable ones that are from chlorine etc. From whole food/organic type shops.

deemented Sat 23-Apr-11 20:18:13

Well you can do either or, i suppose.

You could buy a nappy wetbag from somewhere such as Weenotions or The Nappy Garden, or a cheaper option and what i'd be inclined to do, is to buy a net bag, and put that inside a waterproof toiletry bag. Then she could put the pants inside the net bag and that could then be lifted out and put straight in the wash without the need for handling. You could also get a small toiletry bag if that's more convienient, and could be handy for her for school - i got one in wilkinsons for 79p and it has a waterproof layer in it - i can fit two nappies in it so it could be a good size for her, perhaps?

SummerRain Sat 23-Apr-11 19:05:36

I've always hated towels too... they stick to my legs and bum, and sweat and smell horrible. (have to say though, I did use them.... the thought of only having a wad of tissue to protect me in school or work would have terrified me! But then I've always been heavy)

My mother bought me tampons when i was 13 and I used them until I had the dcs. Since the dcs they don't feel right though and I switched to the mooncup which is way better.

I certainly don't think 15 is too young for tampons.

FriedEggyAndSlippery Sat 23-Apr-11 18:57:21

Fab idea deemented thank you. Where do I get something like that please? Do you mean the bag itself goes straight in the wash without needing to open it? I've seen netting ones like that but that wouldn't help with the water dripping out.

It'd have to be hung in the bathroom though - as I said above, our house is tiny so my DSCs don't have their own room. We've agreed that when we move to a 3 bed we will still put our 2 in together and have the 3rd room as theirs. Won't be able to afford to move for a while though they are fine with things as they are though, they quite like the sofa bed (goodness knows why I hate the damn thing!)

deemented Sat 23-Apr-11 17:39:33

FriedEggy - wwhat about getting her a zippable wetbag to hang in the bathroom or to put in her bedroom? That way she can rinse her pants through and put them in there to then be put in a wash? You'd see if it needed emptying and it could be quite discreet?

FriedEggyAndSlippery Sat 23-Apr-11 17:15:20

I have followed advice on this thread and bought a new much nicer bin (pedal type) that will fit right next to the loo. We are going to have a sort out in there too, make it generally a bit nicer.

I don't think it'll solve everything in my DSD's case, the anxiety is deeper than just the actual STs, but maybe it'll make a bit of difference if it's not so cluttered.

I figured it'd also be a way of bringing it up without mentioning the stained knickers - I could show her the new nicer bathroom and where everything is/goes and gently remind her that nobody's going to be looking at what she is using, washing or throwing away.

I am still unsure what to suggest if it happens again though. There's no way she would bring them downstairs and stick a wash on because that would draw attention to it. So - rinse and leave them over the bath as I do, or just bung them straight in the laundry...?

HowsTheSerenity Sat 23-Apr-11 02:27:16

I got my period at age nine and my mum tried to get me to wear pads but they just revolted me so I started wearing tampons secretly.

Maybe you could buy her a book as about periods etc.. EveryGirl was a good one. I had one called Period when I was younger.

My mum told me to take my stained undies into the shower with me and wash them out there (so no one could see) and then throw them straight into the washing machine ready for the next wash.

But I would make an appt for for her to see the nurse at the GP's. Might be easier to talk to a stranger.

ravenAK Sat 23-Apr-11 01:43:53

A1980, that's grim sad.

Wrt OP - maybe the niece does actually find loo roll pleasanter, though. If I were her mum, I think I'd provide tampons (as OP says she's already tried various brands of towel), & then just say: 'OK, use whatever you like - it's your period. But PLEASE bag up anything that needs binning, & chuck it in the outside bin, OK? & if you've got pants that need washing, just put a wash on.'

Your average modern washer will cope admirably with the occasional pair of stained knickers, & so long as nothing's festering in the bedroom, it's nobody's business but your 15 year old niece's.

If that doesn't work, OK, it's obviously more of an issue. But I'd definitely start by backing right off...

mathanxiety Sat 23-Apr-11 01:20:05

A1980 I agree that there is more to this than meets the eye (and how horrible for you).

Maybe the mother is hung up on the sexual maturity aspect of menstruation. It seems to me that she is in denial here and hasn't given the DD 'permission' to grow up and become a woman. Her belief that 15 is too young for tampons signals a problem accepting that her baby is now growing up rapidly, imo.

A DD needs to have the support of her mum in getting on with her life and dealing with menarche. She needs autonomy to choose what she wants for her own body during her period, and she needs to know that she can articulate her needs wrt menstruation. This DD seems struck dumb and unwilling to even mention the subject. There is something seriously amiss in the mother daughter relationship here but the primary problem lies in the way the mother views the female body, sexual maturity and menstruation. imo.

A1980 Sat 23-Apr-11 01:00:51

Aw. Thank you for your kind messages.

I'm ok now. But it was literally one of the most miserable times of my life. But when she got hers at 17 that was fine. She was happy to talk about it and she was able to get used ot it in a normal setting.

At the time I wished she would die of her anorexia. A bit extreme but I was a child under enormous strain.

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