Are you still a virgin if you use tampons? Is it possible to get pregnant before your first period? There’s so much information – and misinformation! – out there these days that it’s hard to know what’s true and what’s a myth. Here we crack five major period myths for you – no more sneaky Googling!
‘Using a tampon means I’m not a virgin’
The only thing that will make you ‘not a virgin’ is if you have sex. Anyone who tells you that tampon use takes away your virginity, quite simply, is wrong!
You can use a tampon from your first period, but it’s best to start with pads until you get used to how heavy your period is likely to be on certain days; this will help you estimate how often you’d need to change a tampon.
The biggest benefit of tampons is that they allow you to go swimming while you’re on your period. But if you’re not a swimmer, and the thought of tampons freaks you out, then that’s fine! There’s nothing wrong with using pads. It’s all personal choice.
‘Pads can fall out of my underwear’
By the time you get a pad all stuck down onto your underwear and get dressed again, it can feel like it’s already gotten unstuck. Pads are fantastic for sleeping in, and for being able to easily tell when you need to change them, but they can be kind of annoying if they don’t stick down too well!
However, by the time a pad gets to the point where it’s SO unstuck that it’s about to fall out of your undies – trust me, you’ll be aware of it. A liner might sneak away more easily as they’re thinner and smaller, but chances are you’ll be well aware that it’s not sitting where it should be, long before it falls to the ground while you’re walking! So don’t worry – this is just another horror story that may have happened to someone, somewhere, but probably won’t happen to you.
‘If I haven’t had my period by the time I’m 14, there’s something wrong with me’
Everyone gets their periods at different times. There are girls in the world who got their first periods at the age of three, and girls who didn’t start menstruating until they were in their 20s. So if all your friends have their periods and you don’t, it’s okay – you’re not any less of a woman and you still might start yours any day.
If you’re worried about why you haven’t menstruated yet, it’s worth seeing a GP just to make sure everything’s okay. It might be lifestyle factors or just a quirk you’ve inherited from your mum; perhaps late periods run in your family. But it’s worth just checking with a doctor for peace of mind as much as anything; if they find something wrong, then you know and can fix it, and if nothing’s wrong then you can relax!
‘It’s possible to shove a tampon too far into my body’
Tampons are scary, and the thought of something being ‘up there’ all day can be really off-putting until you get used to it. But the horror stories you hear of girls not being able to find their tampons again are just that – horror stories!
U by Kotex has a great explanation on this. The short version is that there just isn’t enough room in your vaginal canal and cervix for a tampon to get lost. And even if the string gets bunched up, you should still be able to reach it with your fingers. Uncomfortable, but not impossible.
‘I can’t get pregnant before my first period’
Sorry—you can! The problem with first periods is that they’re impossible to predict, so if you’re having sex and your first period is only weeks away, you can easily get pregnant.
Generally, though, if you haven’t had your period yet, it’s better not to have sex anyway. Periods are our body’s way of ushering us into womanhood, and until your body is in that adolescent stage, you’re not likely to have all the hormones and responses you need to actually enjoy sex! So what’s the point?
If you’ve heard a rumour and you’re not sure if it’s true, it’s always best to ask a parent, your GP, or a health teacher. While you can often find the answer on the internet, you’ll also stumble across plenty of wrong answers too!
Have you got a period-related question or embarrassing story? Submit it to Ask The Nurse!