What is a 'normal' period?
Periods differ for all women, which can make it difficult to know what a ‘normal’ period is. The average blood loss of a ‘normal’ period is around 30-40ml per cycle. If you need to change tampons every 2 hours and/or need more than 8 regular tampons per period it might need some attention.
What is called a heavy period?
Sometimes periods can become very heavy and impact your everyday life, from not being able to get up in the morning or the constant fear of leaking. If a period is too heavy, it can interfere with your work life, social plans, or daily activities.
If you are worried about your periods, or your menstruation is interrupting your daily routine, speak to your doctor. Your doctor will analyze the situation, help you to manage your periods effectively with an appropriate treatment.
Your period may be heavy if you:
- Soak through 1 or more pads or tampons every hour for several hours in a row
- Need to wear more than 1 pad at a time to control your bleeding
- Need to change pads or tampons during the night
- Have periods with blood clots that are the size of a quarter or larger
- Have periods that last more than 7 days
- Have a heavy flow that keeps you from doing the things that you would normally do
- Have constant pain in the lower part of the stomach during your period
- Feel tired, lack energy, or experience shortness of breath
The normal menstrual cycle is based on a balanced and complex system of hormones. The hormones oestrogen and progesterone regulate the build-up of the lining of the uterus (also called endometrium) which is shed during menstruation. When the hormone system is not functioning properly and the hormones are imbalanced, the endometrium can grow excessively and result in a heavier menstrual blood loss.
What causes heavy periods?
Heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) can be due to several causes. Most of the time HMB is simply due to a hormonal imbalance, but in some cases, there might be a disease of the uterus causing heavy bleeding. It is important to talk to your doctor if your period is concerning you. Your doctor will diagnose what causes your heavy bleeding and, depending on the cause, find the most suitable treatment for you.
Can your periods cause anemia?
The blood lost through heavy periods can lead to anemia, a condition where red blood cells are low. This can make you feel weak, tired, or quickly out of breath. A simple blood test will confirm if you're anaemic.