Sexual Health

Living with periods

Often the novelty of starting periods soon wears off, especially if women have heavy periods, pain, mood swings, night sweats, feeling bloated and/or sleeping problems

Sometimes symptoms are severe and last for several years. One young woman we talked to noticed that her symptoms became particularly strong when she felt stressed

Some women said that their periods made them feel reassured that their bodies were 'working properly' but were pleased if they started using a contraceptive method that made their periods lighter

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The combined pill is a method of contraception (something that prevents a woman from getting pregnant) makes periods more regular and usually lighter and less painful too. Painkillers, such as the anti-imflammatory drugs mefenamic acid or ibuprofen, are also useful if period pain is a problem.

One young woman we spoke to was put on the contraceptive pill to treat her period problems her GP said that she needed to go back for further information and instructions if she wanted to start relying on it to prevent pregnancy. Another did not know that girls can get pregnant even if they don't have a period every month.

Some women have regular periods, every four weeks or so, with no significant discomfort or mood swings. They usually consider themselves lucky, although some compare themselves with their friends and worry that light, regular periods may be unusual.

Last updated January 2016.

Last reviewed January 2016.

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