From periods to newly growing breasts, from new hair in new places, to new feelings or worries – a lot goes on for girls as they grow into women. That’s why we created a special ‘girls edition’ of ‘Ask Dr Jean’, where girls could anonymously ask the health questions they were too shy or embarrassed to bring up with anyone else. We invited parents to ask health questions about their daughters too.
Here are three of the questions we received, answered by Jean Hailes GP Dr Amanda Newman (pictured below).
What’s normal for pubic hair? I’m 15 and some is darker up the top and less dark lower down. I seem to have more hair than others. Should I remove it?
Pubic hair is a normal part of puberty. Its colour can vary, and may be similar to scalp hair colour. The amount of hair can also vary; there is a strong genetic component to this.
Occasionally there can be lots of pubic hair, extending towards the belly button or down the thighs. There may also be thick dark hairs on the face and perhaps out-of-control acne. If it seems excessive to you, make an appointment to see your GP.
Pubic hair probably has a protective function, but some women remove some or all of the hair for aesthetic reasons – it’s your choice!
Hi, I just got my second ever period (I’m 15) and we had swimming at school so I had to put a tampon in. I didn’t like the feeling of it, but managed to get it all the way in. However, after leaving the cubicle and after about 2 minutes since insertion I began to feel extremely faint and for perhaps 5 seconds I couldn’t see, everything just went black and hearing was also very difficult.
I went back to the bathrooms and took it out and began to feel much better, although very shaken from the incident. I’m wondering what I should do. I’m very scared to put one in again, but love swimming and water sports and don’t want my period to hold me back. Is there anything concerning about this, or something you recommend I could do?
Tampons are a very convenient way to manage your period flow, especially for activities such as swimming. After insertion, you should not able to feel the tampon. To correctly insert a tampon, part your vulval lips and gently push the tampon past the muscular ring at the opening of your vagina – there’s plenty of room inside the vagina for the tampon to go. Perhaps practise at home before the next time you may need to use tampons elsewhere, such as at school or school sports.
Your experience of feeling faint is unlikely to be caused by the tampon. It might be a sign of feeling anxious or hungry, or perhaps even being anaemic.
If it continues to happen, see your GP. Hopefully it’s just a one-off occurrence.
My daughter (13) is struggling greatly with depression and anxiety as she's going through puberty. Is this normal?
We all have times of feeling anxious or depressed. These feelings can be more pronounced at times of hormonal change, such as puberty. However, they should not cause ongoing distress.
Your daughter should still be having plenty of happy, fun times and be engaged with her school and friends.
If she is feeling really low – crying, feeling hopeless, sad, overwhelmed – do something straight away. If she is struggling with these feelings, take her to see a GP, or ask her to speak to an adult she trusts, ASAP.
She may benefit from having some psychological counselling.
The Jean Hailes website has a range of helpful health resources to share with the girls and young women in your life.
Video: All you need to know about periods
This video covers the changes that come with puberty and helps to educate girls about why the period occurs and what they can expect when it does.
Booklet: My period – what’s normal
This resource is aimed at helping young girls understand their periods: what is and isn't normal, and what they can do if they have any questions or concerns.
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