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Ballet Talk for Dancers

That time of the month


BeachMom

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My daughter is 13, and started her period this past summer.  It has been a nightmare for her.  Until a month ago, she was bleeding more than she wasn’t.  She is seeing a gynecologist who has started her on birth control pills.  Hopefully, after another few months, the doctor will find one that helps regulate and lighten her cycle.  In the meantime, I would love to hear some advice if anyone has any.  After many tears, she started using tampons, because I made her.  I didn’t see how she could dance without wearing underwear and not use tampons.  We finally crossed that bridge, and she is now adept at using them.  However, her flow is very heavy, and she will sometimes bleed through a super plus tampon in an hour.  During these times, she needs to wear a pad with a tampon.  Some of her classes allow a skirt or spandex shorts, and in these classes, in addition to the tampon, she will wear nice, high cut underwear with a pad, or she will wear period underwear.  However, we know that in some situations, such as summer intensive auditions, she can’t wear them.  She has tried to wear pads stuck to her tights but the pads roll.  She is too young for a menstrual cup.  Has anyone had any luck with a certain brand of pad that doesn’t roll with tights, or a certain brand of tights  that accommodates wearing a pad?  Or any other ideas?  

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I don't have any great advice. But I just wanted to say I'm sorry because that is a lot of stress for a 13 year old, and for you as a mom trying to make it better for her! On her first day or two my daughter is also very heavy so it's been a challenge. Does your daughter have to wear a uniform leotard? We've been really debating ordering the period swimwear for class. We've found several companies that have period swimwear that is solid black and looks just like a regular leotard. 

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My heart goes out to your daughter.  I have suffered similar problems, together with debilitating pain, since I was about her age.  

I was lucky enough, as a kid, to not have a uniform leo--as long as it was black, anything went.  I had luck hiding underwear under leos with lower-cut leglines.  Never did find a pad that would stay put when attached to tights; I think it's the movement.  I made some underwear I could attach a pad to by cutting up a pair of old tights, which worked fairly well, and was easy to hide.  I also occasionally would wear two pairs of tights.  I also found that certain brands of sport tampon were superior to others.  They all seem to be shaped a little differently, and once I found one that suited me personally, some of the extra leaking went away.  Anecdotally, period underwear is the least breathable fabric in existence (it has to be; it's stopping leaks), so if she is using that as an option for longer than a class or two, I would suggest she have a second pair to change into, for comfort's sake as well as hygiene.  

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As a teacher and school owner, I think there is a balance between uniform and practicality.  I would be having a discussion with whoever is in charge that there is an issue, this is how we would suggest it can be best solved, and is that agreeable with you?  We are talking about young teens in class here, there has to be some give and take on both sides.  I would try and match uniform as much as practicable, do all the things like discreet underwear and tampons which you are already doing. Perhaps proactively get her to go and change tampons between barre and centre or between classes.  What else can you do?  I would encourage you not to be afraid to politely speak up and advocate for your child - the dance world needs to continue to recognise the realities of life.

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They do make leotards and tights similar to the period underwear now. We have not tried them as the leos only come in black (last I checked).

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I was also 12 when I started my period (coincidentally in ballet class). It's not easy especially as a dancer, so my heart goes out to her. One thing I was able to do when I was older was use a thong and panty liner (rolls less than just tights, but is not that comfortable so I'm not sure if it'll work for you). Also, there is some underwear with no seams that I wore under lighter colored performance leotards and didn't show - I forget the brand but I believe it was Gilly Hicks or VS Pink. That allowed me to wear pads during 2-3 hour performance sessions. The texture of some Capezio tights or more worn tights holds pads better in my opinion. 

Also, different pads work for different people but Always FlexFoam Ultra Thin is fairly long (sizes 3-5) and doesn't have too much of an outline. The ones without wings do roll but if she's able to wear any kind of underwear it barely shows. 

Good luck! I hope this helps :D

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I hope the birth control pills help.  I had horrible heavy periods starting as teen.  I was not a ballet dancer, but a soccer play that had uniforms with white shorts all the time.   

Always Infinity pads are amazing.  So thing and hold so much.

Thinx has period underwear, tights, and leotards.  They actually have their leotard half off right now.  

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Thank you all so much for your advice.  I am going to check on all of your ideas.  And Miss Persistent, thank you for your thoughts on this.  It’s refreshing to hear a teacher and school owner be understanding with these issues.  Often, I feel like young girls in ballet are supposed to be little robots and we’re supposed to pretend these issues don’t exist.  I appreciate all of you.

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Thinx are great products, and together with a tampon should help a lot. Also consider a cup? They make them in teen sizes and I personally find they leak less, are more comfortable, and last longer. (my dancer is a boy but I also have two daughters! And have dealt with difficult and heavy periods myself through a lot of my life). I am sure you've seen but there are other brands of period-proof clothing/bodywear out there (Ruby Love, Knix, etc.)-- so glad to see these innovative products out there. I hope with the gyn your daughter can also get some relief. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Oops! A well-meaning adult dancer wandered into the parents' forum and I had to hide the post.

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My daughter started her period at 12.5 during her first summer intensive. She had to learn to use tampons quickly. For her heavier days, I found nude dance underwear on Amazon (I think it was a two pack) that she can wear with a pad under her tights and leotard. Unfortunately for her, her class uniform is not black.  She uses Always pads and cuts the wings off. This method seems to be working out the best for her almost 3 years later.

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3 minutes ago, creativegator said:

My daughter started her period at 12.5 during her first summer intensive. She had to learn to use tampons quickly. For her heavier days, I found nude dance underwear on Amazon (I think it was a two pack) that she can wear with a pad under her tights and leotard. Unfortunately for her, her class uniform is not black.  She uses Always pads and cuts the wings off. This method seems to be working out the best for her almost 3 years later.

I'm not sure if we are allowed too hare links but this is what I bought for her: https://www.amazon.com/MOLLDAN-Gymnastics-Underpants-Ballerina-Underwear/dp/B07PLZN1QM/ref=sr_1_6?crid=1X9E0JYJ4IXQK&keywords=dance%2Bunderwear&qid=1643673250&sprefix=dance%2Bunderwear%2Caps%2C135&sr=8-6&th=1&psc=1

Edited by creativegator
typo and clarity
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My DD is older, but she now regularly uses a "cup" and swears by them.  She says they fit her better (although she had to experiment with the sizes at first), last through strenuous performance or rehearsals and don't leak. Good luck to you and your DD.  I know this is a tricky time for young girls.  I'm glad she has you to help her through figuring this stuff out!

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