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Find the answers to frequently asked questions about heavy mentrual bleeding.
The period (also called menstruation) is only one part of a remarkable process controlled by hormones within the menstrual cycleiThe menstrual cycle is a natural process governed by female hormones. During this regular cycle an egg is released by the ovaries and the womb is prepared for the implantation of the embryo if the egg is fertilized. Each month, the womb prepares for pregnancy by growing the lining of the uterus cycleiThe uterus or womb, is a female organ located in the pelvis: its lower end opens into the vagina while the upper end is connected to the fallopian tubes. Through the menstrual cycle, in response to hormones, the uterus undergoes changes that can lead to either a period or a pregnancy. In case of pregnancy, it is within the uterus that the fetus develops. - if no pregnancy happens, the lining is shed via the vagina, resulting in the period.
Periods should not cause anemia – therefore, if blood loss is so abundant that it causes anemia, this is a sign of heavy menstrual bleeding. Anemia is a condition in which you don't have enough red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body's tissues which can make you feel tired and weak. Symptoms for anemia include tiredness, shortness of breath and dizziness. You should speak to your doctor for advice and to discuss treatment options. Learn more about HMB and anemia here.
Menorrhagia is a medical term for heavy menstrual bleeding, defined by heavy or prolonged bleeding with abundant blood loss during menstruation causing a negative impact on a woman’s physical, emotional and social quality of life. HMB affects one in three women; however, there are multiple treatment options available, so you don’t need to put up with it.
Learn more about menorrhagia here
You should not be reluctant to talk to your doctor about your period. It’s normal to have questions about it, and if you feel that your period has a negative impact on your quality of life you should discuss this with your doctor – they will be able to help! Make sure you prepare for your visit to the doctors to get the most from your appointment.
Heavy menstrual bleeding, or menorrhagia, is a medical condition defined by abundant or prolonged blood loss during menstruation that has a negative impact on a woman’s physical, emotional and social quality of life. Heavy menstrual bleeding affects one in three women at any time of their reproductive life; however, there are multiple treatment options available, so you don’t need to put up with it. Find out more about heavy menstrual bleeding here.
A period will vary from woman to woman. However, a good indication that blood loss is excessive is if you experience any of the following:
- Using an unusually high number of tampons or pads, i.e. changing your tampon or pad every 2 hours or less, for consecutive hours
- A regular tampon holds about 5ml, so average blood loss (30-40ml) would soak 6-8 tampons. If you soak 16 or more tampons on a menstrual cycleiThe menstrual cycle is a natural process governed by female hormones. During this regular cycle an egg is released by the ovaries and the womb is prepared for the implantation of the embryo if the egg is fertilized, this is considered heavy menstrual bleeding
- Needing to use double protection, i.e. tampons and pads together, or else you will leak onto your clothes
- Experiencing flooding (heavy bleeding) through your clothes
- Needing to get up during the night to change pads or tampons, or using double protection at night to make sure you don’t leak through to the bed sheets
Not sure if you are suffering with heavy periods? Take our quiz
Heavy periods (also known as heavy menstrual bleeding or menorrhagia) can be due to a number of reasons, related to uterine structural changes or not. Most of the time there is no uterine condition and heavy periods are due to a hormonal imbalanceiA hormonal imbalance is a malfunction of one or more hormones in the body. Each hormone has a different effect on the body, and all hormonal imbalances are different. A hormonal imbalance affecting the hormones produced by the ovaries, is a common cause of heavy menstrual bleeding.. However, in some cases, there might be an underlying uterine condition, most commonly fibroids. If you are suffering with heavy periods, it is important to speak with your doctor to establish a proper diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options for you.
Find out more about the causes of heavy periods here
Periods are a normal part of a woman’s reproductive life. Every woman’s period is different and some will have a heavier flow, but your period shouldn‘t get in the way of your day-to-day life. If your period is so heavy that it is having a significant impact on your life, then you should speak to your doctor about it. Not sure? Why not complete our quiz to find out if you might be experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding.
Iron is a major component of red blood cells, so when you lose blood through menstruation, you also loose iron. Iron is necessary to build up healthy red cells. Due to abundant blood loss, heavy periods can cause iron deficiency, which can lead to the inability to build up new red cells, leading to anemia. Anemia is a condition in which you don't have enough red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body's tissues which can make you feel tired and weak. Speak to your doctor within your next visit and check out further information on anemia and iron deficiency here.
Heavy menstrual bleeding is a recognized medical condition and there are multiple treatment options available to you. Your doctor will be able to discuss these with you and to recommend the most appropriate one regarding your medical history and specific situation. In case the first treatment doesn’t work, there are other options available – you should discuss this with your doctor – who will be able to help.