About half of young women are not taking medication correctly to combat period pain they deem "normal", Western Sydney University researchers have found.
The survey asked 5,000 Australian women aged 14 to 25 how they learned about periods and treated the pain and symptoms that came with them.
Almost three quarters of women thought pain during their period was perfectly normal.
Researchers found half the women surveyed were taking less than the recommended dosage of ibuprofen or paracetamol and taking it after the pain started.
Eighty per cent of respondents said their pain still bothered them after taking medication.
Of the group surveyed, 5 per cent had a diagnosis of endometriosis — a debilitating and often misdiagnosed disease where endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus — but just over half had heard of it.
Lead researcher Mike Armour said while pain was common, pain so severe that it interferes with your daily life should be further investigated by a doctor.
"Most of the time there's something that can be done to reduce its impact, so I think it's really important for young women to know you can do something," Dr Armour said.
"You don't just need to put up with it, it's not just part of being a woman."
The survey also found while about 40 per cent of women missed a university lecture or a day at school during the three-month period, they could also be disadvantaged when did attend.
"When they are at school around 80 per cent say that at least some of the time their concentration is really negatively affected due to their period," Dr Armour said.
"So they might be there but they're not really able to perform at their normal capacity."
The researchers have used the survey data to build an online resource called 'Menstruation Matters' to teach young women about what is and isn’t normal for periods, and if they should go to the doctor about problematic symptoms.
It is being trialled for three months by 100 young women, and their feedback will be used to improve the resource before it goes out to the public in 2019.
For 24-year-old Samantha Filippi, the attitude of "it's just part of being a woman" saw her pain go untreated for years.
She was diagnosed with endometriosis three years ago.
But she had been dealing with extreme pain and missing days of work and school — numerous times a month — since she was 16 years old, including crucial time at school in Years 11 and 12.
"I experienced prolonged periods, extremely painful periods, hours up in bed and with a heat pack on, taking pain killers trying to ease that pain, it was like a stabbing pain that would last a long time," she said.
"My very first employer, they were saying 'I've got a business to run, you've got to sort it out'. I was only 17 … you don't know what to say."
Co-founder of health promotion charity EndoActive Syl Freedman said young women needed to be taught about what normal and abnormal symptoms of periods were, preferably before they start menstruating.
"What's missing from the education we're giving girls about their periods is we're not talking about pain … we need to have education that's telling girls it's not normal to have pain that's so severe that it can't be treated with over-the-counter painkillers, or it's keeping you home from school or work or uni," she said.
"If you don't know what's normal and what's not normal, how are you supposed to push for further investigation when things are starting to go wrong."
The survey, which was sponsored by a sanitary products company, found many young women were using the internet to find out if their pain and symptoms are normal or not — and Ms Filippi said she was no different.
In fact, when she was first diagnosed, she was told to Google the condition.
"I've learnt you have to be a real advocate for yourself, especially with this there's limited knowledge out there, not many people know about it," Ms Filippi said.