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Managing your period

Managing your period

Everyone experiences their periods differently. Some people can always tell when their period is coming, other people have very few if any signs at all. There are some general rules for managing your period and making sure you can go about your day-to-day life with as little disruption as possible. 

This page has advice for managing your period and how to handle some of the symptoms you might experience.

The days leading up to your period…

To ease pre-menstrual symptoms, it’s a good idea to be as healthy as possible by:

  • Avoiding alcohol and cigarettes
  • Drinking lots of water
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet with lots of vegetables
  • Eating small meals every 2-3 hours to maintain blood sugar levels
  • Avoiding drinks with lots of caffeine in them, such as tea, coffee and soft drinks
  • Reducing the amount of sweet foods and drinks you consume.

During your period…

There are a range of period products to help you manage your bleeding in a way that works for you and lets you do the things you would usually do. Check out our page on Period Products to help you decide which one is best for you.

Lots of people suffer from cramps in the lower belly and/or lower back during the first few days of their period. This is due to chemicals in the body called prostaglandins causing small contractions in the uterus to help expel the period blood.

To ease the pain from cramps, try:

  • Using a heat pad, such as a wheat bag or hot water bottle
  • Doing gentle exercises
  • Taking pain relief medication like ibuprofen, paracetamol or aspirin
  • Avoiding alcohol and cigarettes
  • Doing relaxation techniques

You could also talk to a nurse or doctor about what types of contraception might help your period pain. Some contraceptives such as the pill and the hormonal IUD can stop you from having your period altogether, which is a great option if you have particularly heavy bleeding and/or painful cramps.

If the pain you experience is causing you to miss school or work, talk to your doctor or get an appointment with Family Planning.

HINT: It is a good idea to note down the first day of your period each time you get it, so that you know the length of your menstrual cycle (the first day of one period to the first day of the next period) and when to expect your period.


Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.