Managing Your Periods When You Have Autism

Managing Your Periods When You Have Autism

Posted by Wombilee on May 5th 2024


Getting and managing your periods can be challenging for anyone, whether you are autistic or not. Those with autism are more prone to experience challenges related to sensory sensitivities, regulating their emotions, and routine changes. Many autistic individuals report that their existing sensory sensitivities exacerbate during this time, making them more hypersensitive to noise, smell, and taste, which can cause more hindrances in managing daily life.

Autism and Menstruation

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder beginning before age three and continuing throughout a person's life. Autistic people behave, communicate, and interact with others differently. Although, symptoms may improve over time with intervention and treatment. However, there are particular challenges that autistic people encounter during menstruation. They may become worried about disrupting their routine because people with autism are usually sensitive to routine changes. Moreover, the changes in toiletry routines, using public toilets, and wearing period products can also be a challenge. Autistic individuals encounter executive functioning challenges, including difficulty in remembering to change a sanitary pad or tampon, or emptying a menstrual cup.

Ways to Manage Menstruation When You Have Autism

Despite the challenges, there are many ways in which autistic individuals can manage the difficulties that come with menstruation.

Strategies for self-management

You can benefit significantly by having guidance from people who can help you understand, plan for, and deal with your periods. Every one of us is different, and you may discover that there are strategies for self-management that work best for you.

Below are some suggestions that can be of help:

• It is essential to always carry underwear and period products with you—especially several days or a week before your period is expected to start.

• Always keep spare underwear and period products during your periods when going out, especially at work or school.

• You can use a period tracker to track your cycle and get notified about when your period will begin.

• Set alarms or reminders during your periods to remind you when to change your pad or tampon or empty your menstrual cup.

Moods and Pain

Experiencing mood swings and abdominal pain is a part of periods. According to evidence, autistic people have heavier and more painful periods. Alongside the sensory difficulties, it can be challenging for autistic people to cope with their mood swings and pain. Hence, managing and recognizing the symptoms can be difficult to deal with. You can keep a diary and note down your mood and symptoms. This will help you acknowledge your different mood states along with the signs and help you better track them. Doing this will help you be prepared for your next cycle and know what to expect.

Ask for Help

There's no shame in discussing periods with your close ones or friends. It's a part of the female's anatomy and nothing to be ashamed of. While it's not necessary to be alright with chanting about it out loud, it's crucial that people who do menstruate do not feel embarrassed to discuss it with others. It would be best to have people around you who are comfortable discussing periods and educating you on them.

Education and Preparation

Using explicit and visual material related to menstruation can assist in preparing autistic individuals to understand menstruation better and be prepared about what to expect during a period. Using videos and visible schedules can help such individuals grasp the concept of menstruation more easily.

Routine and Predictability

People with autism thrive most with a consistent and predictable routine. The onset of menstruation can disrupt their routine, which can cause distress and feelings of anxiousness. They can be prepared for periods by introducing the topic before the beginning of one. Establishing a routine for managing periods can help reduce the stress that would otherwise be experienced.

Period Products

Knowledge about different period products and how to use them is a must. Such individuals must know what different period products look like. They must explain in detail how to put a pad on a panty, change a tampon, or insert a menstrual cup.

The sight of blood can be scary and overwhelming, and this is where preparedness comes into the picture. They must be taught about the specifications of each type of product. For example, "A cloth pad can be put on your underwear and absorbs blood for at least 6 hours and needs to be changed often."

Supportive Environment

It is essential to have a supportive group of people around you who can be an unwavering source of guidance and support for autistic people. Whether at school, home or in professional settings, an uplifting circle reduces anxiety and general stress related to periods.

Ways to Support Autistic People During Their Periods

Suppose you have a close friend or family member with autism. In that case, there are numerous ways in which you can help them prepare for their period or be a source of support during their periods. Below are some ways in which you can prepare and support autistic people with menstruation:

• Show them the places or shops where they can buy period products.

• Explain to them in detail how to use different period products.

• Tell them about menstrual hygiene in detail, such as when to change their period product.

• You can help them set reminders for changing used pads or tampons, or emptying their menstrual cup.

• Show and explain to them how to use a period tracker to track the onset of a period.

• Help them find a trustworthy person at school or a workplace they can go to if they start their periods unexpectedly in the setting.


In short, it is necessary to consider that every individual with autism is unique. Their experience with menstruation will differ from each other. It is in the individual's best interest to involve therapists, caregivers, and medical professionals in creating a personalized plan for period management.