Periods: managing their impact

Date Published: 
Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Cathy Stephenson discusses periods and young people: how to minimise their impact.



00:51 Onset of periods
02:40 What do you need to find out about?
06:58 Sexual health
08:54 Quantifying blood loss
11:30 Pain
13:39 Family history
15:15 Impact on life
19:05 Red flags
22:15 Heavy menstrual bleeding
24:58 Next steps
30:07 Combined oral contraception
31:18 take-home messages.


Take-home messages

  • Don’t underestimate the impact that awful periods can have.
  • A thorough history will give you most of the information you – imaging is not usually required.
  • Young people who identify as trans or nonbinary often have severe distress associated with their periods, known as period dysphoria.
  • Don’t forget to enquire about sex and contraceptive needs.
  • Mirena intra-uterine systems can be hugely effective at reducing heavy bleeding and pain.





Cathy Stephenson
General Practitioner & Senior Clinical Lecturer

Cathy is a GP at Mauri Ora Student Health Service, Victoria University of Wellington, and a busy mum of three teenage children. Passionate about empowering young people to be the best they can be, her special areas of interest include sexual health, sexual assault, contraception, mental health and well-being, gender-affirming healthcare, and improving health for vulnerable communities.

She is a Senior Clinical Lecturer at Otago University on Sexual Violence and Partner Violence, and for years worked for MEDSAC and as a forensic medical examiner at Wellington’s sexual assault service.

Cathy is a health columnist, writing weekly columns for Stuff until 2020, and now authoring a Youth Health column for New Zealand Doctor.

More recently Cathy taken on the role of  Clinical Lead Southern at the RNZCGP. Most of her learning around youth health and wellbeing has come from conversations around the family dinner table with the wonderful young people in her life!

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This presentation is intended for qualified health practitioners professional development and should not be relied upon for any other purpose. Any opinions offered are those of the presenter or other speaker and do not necessarily represent the views of Goodfellow Unit.