Dads: How to talk about periods

It's an awkward topic for men to discuss, but when you're a father, you need to be comfortable talking with your daughter about their menstrual health. Here's how. 

Alyssa Dweck, MS, MD, FACOG, is a top gynaecologist in New York and expert on behalf of Organyc, a feminine care products brand. Here are her top tips for discussing periods with your daughter. 

Dad and daughter laugh and eat ice cream

Why is it important for fathers to discuss periods and safe hygiene with their daughters?

These days education and communication about menstruation and associated habits are less taboo than ever; menstruation is a physiologic process after all half of the population menstruates at some point and the other half knows someone who does.

While young women have been accustomed perhaps to speaking privately to their mums, sisters or female friends regarding menstrual health and hygiene, it’s now more of an open conversation both in-person and online.

Men and boys need to be part of this conversation. Some men are single parents, some young women have two dads and all boys should be educated about the girls and women in their lives in this regard.

dad and daughter talk in park with dog

When is the right time to talk to your daughter about periods?

Ideally, this conversation should take place in direct, education and nonjudgmental comfortable tone prior to first menses. The anticipation of menarche (first menses) can be daunting and often shocking since it’s often unexpected so preparation on what to expect is key.

Since the internet may have misinformation mixed in with accurate information, sharing facts, experiences and tips regarding menses is best done in advance.

dad and daughter sat talking at piano

What advice would you give to fathers who feel awkward or embarrassed about approaching the conversation? And how can they make sure it's cringe-free for their daughters?

Have a direct conversation with open lines of communication. Normalise the conversation and ask open-ended questions.

Dads can educate themselves first about menarche and menstruation.

sanitary towel unwrapped on pink background

How can dads prepare for the conversation? What do they need to know?

Be sympathetic and empathetic and nonjudgmental keeping in mind that cramps can be physically uncomfortable, PMS may present as moodiness and that first time menstruates may be frightened and embarrassed.

Become familiar with various menstrual hygiene products and keep in mind that there are many options and choices ie: pads vs tampons, applicators vs applicator free, products aimed at different flows, and that many young (and not so young) women might prefer organic brands for comfort, health and wellness and environmental concern.

I am pleased to be working with the Organyc brand which is made with all 100 per cent certified organic cotton and clinically shown to manage irritation for those sensitive when compared to synthetic products.

dad and daughtrer

What are the most important things to communicate?

Menstruation is normal and its ideal for young girls at an early age to become educated and empowered. Millennial-aged women and younger are engaged in the importance of using products that are proven to be safe as well as being better for the environment. This is a positive!

Menstruation is just one of many sensitive conversations to be held through the years… use the opportunity to open the door for others yet to come.

 

Read more: How to have an eco-friendly period

Read more: Fighting period poverty

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