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How to Deal With Your Period

Having a period is a natural part of women’s lives. It can be frustrating and stressful at times, and painful or uncomfortable at others. However, when you are prepared physically and mentally for your period, it can be much easier to deal with. By taking care of your body and managing your symptoms, you can start to cope with your period.

Method One of Three:
Preparing for Your Period

  1. 1
    Reframe your mindset about your period. Many women dread the arrival of their period and think of it as something they have to suffer through. During your menstrual cycle, the actual hormones in your brain change and can affect your mood, but you can also consciously change the way you think about your period.[1] It can be empowering to think of your period as a symbol of your womanhood and as natural part of your life.
    • Your first period, called menarche, is often celebrated as a young girl’s entrance into womanhood.[2] When you realize that your period can be something that is celebrated, you might stop dreading its arrival and cope with it.
  2. 2
    Keep track of your period. Tracking your menstrual cycle will not only give you a heads-up when your period is due, but it can also help you know when you are fertile and can get pregnant.[3] Getting your period unexpectedly can leave you feeling unprepared and stressed. You can keep track of the day your period starts and end with a calendar, in a journal, or with an app for your mobile devices.
    • There are several apps, such as Strawberry Pal or Clue, that can help you track your period and set reminders for when your next cycle is about to start.
    • Remember that during your first year, periods are often unpredictable and come at random. They can also skip. This is completely normal. However, after the first year, your period should begin to follow a more regular pattern and be easier to track.
    • Menstrual cycles vary between women. They can last anywhere from 21 to 35 days, and your period may last two to seven days. Your period may be regular and occur at the same time each month, or it may be irregular.[4]
    • Keeping track of your period is very important when you are sexually active. It helps you to determine when you are the most fertile, which is important to know whether you want to avoid pregnancy or when you want to become pregnant.[5]
  3. 3
    Keep feminine hygiene products with you at all times. Keep an extra tampon, panty liner, or pad in your purse, backpack, and car. This way, if you get your period and you do not have access to other feminine products you are still protected. This is especially important if your periods are irregular and you are not able to accurately predict when your next period will begin.
    • It’s a good idea to keep a few extra feminine hygiene products with you so you can offer one to another woman if she needs one.
  4. 4
    Eat iron-rich foods. During ovulation, which happens 12 to 16 days before your period begins, your body is preparing for a potential pregnancy. Your body releases two different hormones, progesterone and estrogen, which tell your body that it should prepare for pregnancy.[6] Your metabolism speeds up during this time so you’ll need to eat more calories than you usually do. Eat plenty of iron-rich foods to help offset the iron that you’ll lose right before and during your period.[7]
    • Meat, beans, lentils, eggs, and dark leafy greens are all good sources of iron.
    • You should continue to eat iron-rich foods during your period. This can help to relieve some period symptoms, like fatigue and cramping.[8]
    • Vitamin C can improve your body's absorption of iron. Try to eat foods rich in Vitamin C, such as oranges, peppers, and kale, as well.

Method Two of Three:
Minimizing Pain and Discomfort

  1. 1
    Stay hydrated. Many women feel bloated and uncomfortable during their period. You can help offset bloating by drinking lots of fluids. Try to limit the amount of caffeine, alcohol, and sugary drinks that you consume.[9] Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, is a good way to help alleviate bloat.
  2. 2
    Take pain medication. Many women experience some level of pain during their periods. Usually, this pain is related to cramping as the uterine wall contracts. You can take over the counter pain medications, like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin to help manage your pain. These medications can be found at any drug store, and you should follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for dosages.[10]
    • Talk to your physician if over the counter painkillers do not work and you continue to have severe pain during cramps.
  3. 3
    Use heat to soothe cramps. Heat helps to relax the muscles in your abdomen when you have cramps. You can take a heating pad or a hot water bottle and place it over your stomach where the pain is, or take a warm bubble bath or shower.
    • Massaging your lower abdomen in light, circular motions may also help to soothe pain.[11]
  4. 4
    Adjust your diet. During your period, you may find that you are craving different foods. Unfortunately, salty, sugary, and processed foods can make cramping more painful. The foods you eat should be nutritious and give you energy throughout the day. You may be craving a certain treat, like chocolate or ice cream, and it’s okay to give into that craving and have some, as long as it is in moderation.[12]
    • Foods high in potassium, like bananas and leafy greens, can help alleviate bloating naturally.
    • Eat plenty of foods that are rich in calcium, like beans, almonds, and dairy.
  5. 5
    Manage nausea. Many women feel nauseous during their periods, which can be very uncomfortable. Changes in your hormone levels can lead to gastrointestinal distress, or you may feel nauseous as a result of pain from cramps or headaches.[13] While you may have lost your appetite, try to eat bland foods like white rice, apples, and toast, that will settle your stomach. Ginger, either in teas, supplements, or in its root form, is a natural way to relieve nausea as well.
    • Treat your nausea with over the counter medications, especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as naproxen or ibuprofen. These can help period-related nausea by preventing the production of a hormone called prostaglandins, which may be the cause of your nausea.[14]
  6. 6
    Engage in physical activity. Exercise is a great way to naturally manage your pain. When you exercise your body releases mood-boosting endorphins, which can alleviate pain and keep your mind off your period-related discomfort.[15] You may want to do a less strenuous workout than your normal routine if you have pain.
    • Light exercise that warms up your core, like yoga, can also help to minimize bloating.[16]
    • Feel free to skip the gym if you really aren’t feeling up for it. While exercising can help you manage your symptoms, you don’t need to force yourself to exercise.
  7. 7
    Talk to your doctor if your symptoms are unmanageable. While some pain and discomfort are normal during your period, you may need to consult your doctor if your symptoms are unmanageable. You can talk to your primary care physician or your gynecologist about these issues, and they may recommend that you see a specialist. They might be able to prescribe pain medication, make recommendations to change your lifestyle, or suggest you take oral contraceptives.[17]
    • You should see your doctor you are spotting in between periods, you have a very heavy flow, very painful cramps or if your flow lasts more than 10 days.[18]

Method Three of Three:
Caring for Yourself

  1. 1
    Get plenty of rest. During your period, you may feel more tired than you normally do. Pain and discomfort from cramps and bloating can make it more difficult to sleep, while fatigue actually lowers your pain tolerance.[19] Try to sleep at least eight hour during the night and take a nap during the day if you need to.
    • Light exercises, like meditating, practicing yoga, and stretching can help you to sleep better.
    • Your core body temperature rises during your period, making you feel warmer. Feeling warm can make sleeping difficult so keep the temperature in your bedroom between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, or 15.5 to 19 degrees Celsius.[20]
  2. 2
    Wear comfortable clothes. Most women prefer not to wear tight, close-fitting or otherwise uncomfortable clothing while they have their period. You should wear what you feel most comfortable in when you have the opportunity. Women who are bloated might prefer to wear looser tops or pants with an elastic waistband.
  3. 3
    Wear appropriate underwear. During your period, you should wear underwear that you don’t mind getting messy. Even when you use the right feminine hygiene products, you may leak onto your underwear. Some women like to have a few pairs of underwear that they only wear during their periods. You may be more comfortable wearing full coverage bikini briefs, rather than thongs, during your period, especially if you are wearing a pad.
    • Try to get cotton underwear for your period. Not only is it comfortable, but it may be able to reduce your risk of yeast infections.[21]
    • Stains are less noticeable on darker colored underwear.
    • Your underwear should be cotton, which allows the area to breathe and is gentler on the skin.[22]
  4. 4
    Find ways to relax. Periods can add to your stress and be an inconvenience. Give yourself time to unwind after a day out and find quiet space to just gather your thoughts and feelings. Find ways to relax and to take your mind off any pain or discomfort that you may be feeling.
    • Do the things that make you happy. For instance, listen to your favorite songs and artists and have a dance party in your room.
    • Find activities that you find relaxing or soothing, like meditating, writing in a journal, drawing, listening to soothing music, or watching television.
    • Aromatherapy may also help you relax. Try using sage, lavender, or rose essential oils.
  5. 5
    Anticipate mood changes during your period. Hormonal changes can affect your mood during your period. For instance, you may feel sad, anxious, or irritable about situations that normally don’t impact you. Be aware that if you are feeling upset about something, your emotions might be related to your hormones rather than how you truly feel. You may want to avoid making big decisions during this time, or avoid confrontation.
    • You can write down your emotions each day during your period to see if you notice that you feel sadder or more anxious during this time.
    • If you are experiencing extreme mood swings or have any thoughts about harming yourself contact your doctor immediately.[23] You may be suffering from a condition called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, which can significantly impact your mood.
  6. 6
    Change your feminine hygiene product whenever you feel the need. Pads should be changed every three to six hours and tampons should be changed every four to six hours. Never leave a tampon in for longer than eight hours; this increases your risk of developing Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). You can leave a menstrual cup in for more than twelve hours, and this is the most environmentally friendly option. Changing your feminine hygiene product can help you to feel fresh and more confident that you won’t leak.
    • You may need to change your feminine hygiene product more frequently if you have a heavier flow or if it is the first few days of your period.
    • TSS is a serious and life-threatening bacterial infection. If you begin to have a rash that resembles a sunburn, especially on your palms and soles, a high fever, low blood pressure, or begin vomiting contact a medical professional.[24]

Community Q&A

  • Can you just use a pad instead of a liner?
    Answered by Luba Lee, FNP-BC
    • Liners are too thin to use on the heaviest days of your cycle. Pads are usually thicker and better suited for periods than liners are.
    Thanks! 163 12
  • Should you be paranoid about wearing shorts? I am afraid that my period will happen and the blood will leak down.
    Answered by Luba Lee, FNP-BC
    • You should wear something that you feel comfortable in without any worries. If wearing shorts makes you self-conscious during your period, don’t wear them.
    Thanks! 166 14
  • Could I wear two pairs of underwear while sleeping?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • You could, but it might be more comfortable to lay a towel down on the bed to stop any leaks from reaching your sheets/mattress. You could also buy some pads that are designed for night time use -- they are usually thicker and more absorbent for better protection.
    Thanks! 47 0
  • Is it normal to have a period last longer than a week?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Sure. Mine usually lasts around 9 days. If you're young, chances are your period will become lighter as you get older.
    Thanks! 39 0
  • Is it ok for a 12 year old to get her period?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Yes. Anywhere between 9 and 15 is normal to start a period.
    Thanks! 637 43
  • I have gymnastics for an hour and I usually wear short shorts. I'm scared my period will show, what should I do?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Large tampon. Change before and after gym, shouldn't show a thing! Either that, or use a thick pad without the wings.
    Thanks! 31 0
  • How can I sit down and not worry that when I get up it will leak on my seat?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Try to put your pad in an area where the most blood comes out, which is usually the middle. If the pad is placed correctly, you won't have to worry about that.
    Thanks! 373 23
  • I've heard dark chocolate helps with cramps is that true?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Dark chocolate can help with cramps because it helps restore your magnesium levels (which drop while menstruation is happening). It's also a source of joy, which can help to distract you.
    Thanks! 662 46
  • Does taking a shower help?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • It will help you feel more clean and the hot water feels good. Taking a bath is even more relaxing and will help with cramps.
    Thanks! 605 43
  • How do I sit while having a heavy flow?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • You can sit normally. If this does not work for you, you might need a different type of pad/tampon.
    Thanks! 298 19
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  • If you and your friends are talking about period in front of boys, make a word that helps your friends understand it. Like, red pen. "I have my red pen."
    12 Helpful?  0
  • During class, if you need to change your pad, ask the teacher if you could go to the bathroom. And if you don't have any. Just use toilet paper. Or you could just put pads in your shoes/boots.
    9 Helpful?  0
  • If you don't have any products, wrap toilet paper 3 times around your underwear to improvise as a pad or ask the school nurse or a female friend for some. Don't be scared to ask, they will understand.
    5 Helpful?  0
  • If you're worried about leaking onto your sheets while you are sleeping, put a dark-colored towel down. And if you are at a sleepover, you might want to bring a blanket (that you don't mind getting messy) that you can sleep on.
    3 Helpful?  0
  • Also, if taking your bag to the bathroom draws attention, you can sneak a pad in your jacket sleeve, if you have one.
    5 Helpful?  1
  • Find the right absorbency of pads or tampons for you. Every girl is different, and once you have the right one then you will feel more confident and this will help ensure against leaks.
    4 Helpful?  1
  • In the unfortunate event that you stain your underwear, make sure to soak them in cold water. Warm water will lock the stain in.
    6 Helpful?  2
  • Hydrogen peroxide can also be helpful in removing blood from underwear.
    3 Helpful?  0
  • If you are worried about leaking overnight, put a towel down on your bed and put some pads/tampons and a spare pair of pants in/on your bedside table.
    2 Helpful?  0
  • Tampons or pads, you may ask, here are answers. Tampons can help you with sports, but they can cause TSS. Pads protect your underwear, but they can leak and you can't swim without total embarrassment .
    6 Helpful?  3


  • Tampons should not be worn for more than 8 hours. After 8 hours, you are at a higher rate of contracting Toxic Shock Syndrome, which is a potentially fatal condition.
    5 Helpful?  0
  • Read the labels on any medications you take, even over-the-counter ones, especially if you are sensitive to any medications. Always follow the dosing guidelines and do not take pain medications on an empty stomach.
    2 Helpful?  0

Expert Review By:

Family Nurse Practitioner

This version of How to Deal With Your Period was reviewed by Luba Lee, FNP-BC on June 2, 2017.

522 votes - 86%
Co-authors: 249
Views: 1,604,669
Categories: Menstrual Cycles

Reader Success Stories

  • SH

    Sophia Hossain

    Mar 29

    "Thanks to wikiHow. It always helps me!"
    Rated this article:
  • JW

    June Willinster

    Mar 27

    "This article helped me a lot with the pain and discomfort of my period. I recommend this to anyone who is starting or going to start their period."..." more
  • SH

    Samia Hia

    Feb 6

    "Resting is important on your period and you have to stay hydrated."
  • A


    Jan 28

    "Everything helped. I just got my period, and it's really confusing and frustrating, so this article helped a lot."
  • JW

    Janette Woodwake

    Dec 31, 2017

    "I'm on my 3rd period, and every time I get on it I become really stressed. This article made me realize that this is a normal thing that all girls have to go through at some point."..." more
  • A


    Dec 10, 2017

    "Mostly helping with pain!"
  • A


    May 3, 2017

    "These articles are amazing and really help me. I was so stressed out about my period, now I am worry-free. Thanks so much, I am so relieved you had all the answers. They are all so helpful. I like how you can also add tips and questions. "..." more
  • JM

    Janet Morgan

    May 3, 2017

    "I've been waiting for my 11-year-old to start any time, but I feel she should have started already because the signs are there. This helped relieve my anxiety some, and was very informative about when she should start. Thank you!"..." more
  • A


    May 28, 2017

    "I have horrible periods. The maximum amount of pain and discomfort. Terrible mood swings, heavy flow, and painful cramps. Midol makes me naseaus, and ibuprofen doesn't work. This has helped tremendously. Thank you!"..." more
    Rated this article:
  • BE

    Brinn E.

    Oct 23, 2017

    "I had just tried tampons and it kinda hurt, so I looked up what was happening and how to take it out painlessly and found results. Thanks!"..." more
  • A


    Mar 7, 2017

    "All your puberty articles in general are so helpful! How to relieve pain was probably the most helpful. Thank you for your advice!"..." more
  • A


    Feb 17, 2017

    "I like the idea of keeping a journal and noting when your period is due to prepare yourself, which I have started. Thank you."..." more
  • VM

    V. Michland

    Dec 16, 2016

    "This is the most body positive article I have ever read regarding periods. I wish most women's magazines had this tone."..." more
  • JS

    Jayla S.

    Feb 21, 2017

    "I think the part about keeping track helped me. I already knew about it, but I didn't know that there were apps for it."..." more
  • DC

    Danielle Carson

    Apr 21, 2017

    "It was helpful and amazing. This really helped me. Now I don't have to stress out when my period comes around. Thanks!"..." more
  • A


    Sep 23, 2017

    "I never really thought that I would have to consume more iron when on my period, but now I know it is important."
  • A


    May 27, 2017

    "All the steps, from the beginning, helped, especially the diet, staying hydrated, and to take care of yourself."
  • A


    Jul 6, 2017

    "I'm in a lot of pain right now but after I looked these up, I got a bit of hope to feel better."
  • ZB

    Zayda Brennan

    Sep 20, 2017

    "I like that there where so many people my age and now I know it's normal to get it at this age!"
  • A


    Jun 5, 2017

    "The methods on how to reduce pain help a lot. I tried them and I feel so much better. Thanks!"
  • Smile Happy

    May 21, 2017

    "Told me everything that I needed to know. This was very helpful and I plan to use it again."
    Rated this article:
  • A


    Aug 14, 2017

    "It helped me know how to sneak out a pad since we have many girls around which make fun. "
  • A


    Mar 9, 2017

    "This was very interesting because it helped me to better understand things like this. "
  • EC

    Emily Costain

    Jun 3, 2017

    "This has helped a lot. I just got my first period on Thursday, and this is great!"
  • KE

    Kitty Emerson

    Sep 27, 2016

    "Periods are annoying and uncomfortable, but yeah, all this will help :) Thanx."
  • EC

    Elyza Craige

    Jun 11, 2017

    "It's really useful for me. Now, I know what to do. Thanks for this article."
  • A


    Aug 9, 2017

    "Learned that it's OK to swim, also to check with my doctor if I'm anemic."
  • AH

    Abigail Halliday

    Nov 13, 2016

    "I'm on my period, and I wasn't sure what to do. These steps helped me."
  • CP

    Cicilia Path

    Oct 2, 2017

    "I love myself after this article. I'm gonna celebrate my periods."
  • GL

    Grace Lopez

    Aug 24, 2016

    "Thanks for letting me know how to take my mind off of it."
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