Approximately 90% of Australian adolescents who menstruate experience period pain. We aim to explain what menstruation is and provide helpful information. This resource will use the more familiar terms period and period pain rather than the medical terms of menstruation and dysmenorrhea where possible.

Menstruation Explained

Each month many teenagers miss school, work or social or physical activities as a result of period pain. As well as painful periods some people experience mood swings (feeling sad or grumpy), get headaches, bloating or feel really tired. For some, this can be as bad, or even worse, than the period pain itself.
The purpose of this resource is to give you some helpful information on what may happen to your body during your period and when you might want to go and speak to your doctor. There are some suggestions on ‘self-care’ techniques (like yoga stretches) that you can try at home, to help reduce any period related symptoms (like pain, or emotional changes).



Approximately 90% of Australian adolescents who have periods experience period pain.
Period pain affects three quarters of people who have periods.
Dysmenorrhea is the medical term for period pain.
Research shows that 45% of Australian adolescents have had academic performance adversely affected as a result of period pain.


You should gain a better understanding of what is considered a ‘normal’ menstrual cycle and the symptoms you may experience. Thankfully most symptoms can be improved with some self-care techniques like yoga and heat. These will be covered in the self-care section.

A tool developed by our colleagues at the Canberra Endometriosis Centre called the PIPPA Assessment Tool (short for Period ImPact and Pain Assessment), will help you figure out if you have period related symptoms that you should discuss with your doctor.

Most people won’t need to see their doctor, but if you are concerned, even if your PIPPA score is ‘normal’, it’s always advised that you go and speak with your doctor. They are the healthcare expert that can advise what is right for you and for your personal situation.



This material is provided by NICM Health Research Institute for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your primary healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your doctor or healthcare professional. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by NICM Health Research Institute or Western Sydney University. Information contained in this resource is based upon specialist opinion and current evidence available. Source references and citations regarding data, facts and figures are available upon request.