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Managing the challenges of disability during puberty

A person in a wheelchair with a pair of Modibodi undies on her lap

Women and people with cycles that have a disability can face barriers to adequate healthcare that aren’t commonly talked about. That’s why My Plan Manager has partnered with Modibodi (pictured) the original period and leak proof underwear, to lift the lid on this topic and start a conversation that more young people, mothers and carers can lean into.  

This article describes a personal experience that may not be right for everyone reading it. If anything in this article stands out for you, be sure to seek your own advice and do your own research.

Disability presents differently for everyone, but here’s why cycles can be difficult for girls or people with varying abilities that are going through puberty:  

Certain physical disabilities can impact a person’s fine motor skills and mobility, which makes using sanitary products physically difficult or outside their capabilities.

Certain psychosocial disabilities can impact a person’s ability to take care of themselves.

And certain disabilities can present sensory issues that makes wearing sanitary products physically uncomfortable and even distressing, like it is for Jane’s* 12-year-old daughter, Amy*.

Amy has a chromosome variation disorder called Triple X syndrome, AKA Trisomy X or 47XXX.

Triple X can lead to a wide range of symptoms. For Amy it causes erratic moods and behaviour, physical sensory issues, an eating disorder, growth and muscle tone issues, and language and speech delays.

Jane explains that Amy’s sensory issues make wearing disposable pads very uncomfortable like “a surfboard in her underwear”.

“No matter what type of pad we tried, Amy would pull them out,” said Jane.

Next they tried Modibodi – a reusable and sustainable leak-proof brand of undies that replace disposable pads, and can cut back a user’s environmental footprint.

Jane said that Modibodi is a great alternative to disposable pads that can make a period easier to manage.

“It keeps you covered for the entire day and there’s a lot less changing compared to pads,” said Jane.”

“It caused less sensitivity than disposable pads because the coverage is built in, and unlike a pad Amy couldn’t pull it out.”

As Triple X syndrome can impact the regularity and heaviness of a cycle too, Jane followed her doctor’s advice and purchased Ponstan – an over-the-counter medication that’s designed to reduce flow.

Unfortunately, Amy’s continuing issues with sensitivity meant that she couldn’t tolerate even a small adaptation to her clothing.

“Unlike the average person that would forget they were wearing Modibodi undies, even the slightest adaption to what Amy wears can cause her discomfort because of Triple X,” said Jane.

“After trying every known option in the market, we found that wearing sanitary products just wasn’t feasible for Amy.”

Does this mean that Modibodi can’t work for you or someone you care for? Not at all!  

Modibodi’s entire day or night leak-proof coverage cuts down time spent on changing – no more mid-morning bathroom stops or waking up at midnight. This can benefit everybody using Modibodi products.

It’s essentially coverage built into undies, which is one less thing to have to wear.

Modibodi have just launched an adaptive range that’s put on from the side. This can make it easier for people that may experience varying abilities.

Amy explained that Modibodi was the next logical step in her daughter’s journey before she turned to a medical solution.

“Eventually Amy’s doctor recommended the contraceptive pill to stop her cycle,” said Jane.

“The problem with this was, taking a physical pill at the same time each day became a struggle very quickly.”

Jane’s last resort was the Marina IUD (intrauterine device) to completely stop her daughter’s cycle without having to take the pill.

After careful consideration and advice from her family gynaecologist, Amy had an IUD under general anaesthetic.

“This has changed her life and we are now in control of her periods and it allows her to be a teen without all the sensory issues,” said Heidi.

If you or someone you care for struggles to manage periods, Modibodi is an excellent alternative to disposable pads that you may want to consider.

How to access Modibodi products in the NDIS

The great news is, you can access Modibodi products in the NDIS when you have a ‘core supports’ or ‘consumables budget’ added to an NDIS plan. A core supports budget is not automatically added in and needs to be discussed at the time of a plan review. It’s not difficult but it can take time which is why it’s a good idea to start planning this early. 

My Plan Manager recommends having an open discussion with a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) about adding this budget and options for the future.

For more information, please contact My Plan Manager.

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My Plan Manager: NDIS Plan Management