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Heavy periods are something many women experience. If you’re using more sanitary products than usual or experiencing leakage onto your clothes, you may have heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB).
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The prevalence and impacts heavy menstrual bleeding on anemia, fatigue and quality of life in women of reproductive age. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, [online] 35(2). Available at:
When you’re getting ready to have your period every month, the lining of your uterus thickens in preparation for a fertilised egg to implant and develop. If this doesn’t occur, the lining of the uterus is shed as your period.
If you have heavy periods, the amount of blood you lose will be much more substantial. It can be tricky to define how much bleeding is considered heavy as every woman’s cycle can be completely different. A menstrual cycle is considered regular if it occurs every 21-35 days. There are always natural variations from woman to woman.
Different lifestyle factors can cause changes to menstrual cycles too. For instance, increased stress, dietary changes or if you’ve been unwell. These can all cause heavier and more painful periods.
Typically, if you find you’re needing to change your sanitary towel or tampon every two or three hours, you’re passing blood clots, or you’re experiencing blood leakage on your clothes or bedding, it might be a sign you’re experiencing heavy periods.
Any woman can experience heavy periods at any stage of her menstrual life, and there doesn’t need to be an underlying cause. Stress, illness or generally feeling run down can all contribute to changes in your periods.
Menstrual cycles that are irregular can often cause heavy bleeding, and conditions like endometriosis or fibroids can cause heavy, painful periods. Polycystic ovaries can cause irregular cycles and erratic menstrual bleeding. If you think you’re experiencing the signs and symptoms of any of these conditions, it could be a good idea to have a chat with a clinician about it and get yourself checked out.
Heavy periods are common. Most women will experience them at some stage, for a number of reasons. Life changes, stress and illness can all bring about disruption to your menstrual cycle.
It’s believed that the prevalence of diagnosed heavy menstrual bleeding is as much as 37.9% in women of reproductive age. Many more women may experience heavy periods, but haven’t sought help or spoken to a healthcare professional about it. Our clinicians are on hand to answer any questions you have about heavy periods. You just need to log in to your account and send them a message.
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There can be a number of different causes of heavy periods and they can arise from a range of underlying health issues. Endometriosis and fibroids can cause them, as can other conditions such as polycystic ovaries and hypothyroidism. Anaemia (loss of iron) can arise from heavy periods, but it can also cause them too.
Half of the number of women who experience heavy periods find that there is no specific cause. This is then often defined as dysfunctional uterine bleeding. This means that there’s no illness causing the heavy periods. However, the signs, symptoms and side effects are just as valid and unpleasant. It’s still just as important to take good care of your health and speak to a clinician if you’d like some advice on how to look after yourself.
Heavy periods are defined as losing 80ml or more of blood with each cycle, a period that lasts longer than seven days or both of these combined.
Many women lose less than 80ml of blood during their period. 80ml is about 16 teaspoons, and the average blood loss for most women is about six to eight teaspoons.
However, blood loss doesn’t always need to be measured as there are so many variations in women’s periods. You’ll know how much bleeding is normal for you, and you’ll know if it’s suddenly heavier.
Here are some good indications that you’re experiencing heavy periods.
If you’ve noticed one or more of these symptoms and they’ve lasted more than a few months then it’s a good idea to speak to a clinician and get some advice on the best way forward.
They can be really frustrating, painful and distressing, but heavy periods don’t necessarily lead to other health problems in their own right. However, they can indicate other underlying conditions such as anaemia, endometriosis, fibroids and polycystic ovaries.
If your periods have suddenly become heavier, or you generally have queries or questions about them, our clinical team can help.
Most importantly, be kind to yourself. Have that long, warm soak in the bath and treat yourself to your favourite snacks. Self-care is just as important as medical care. We get that.
Medicines That Can Cause Changes in Menstrual Bleeding | Michigan Medicine.
There are a range of treatment options for heavy periods. These include:
When you chat to us about your heavy periods, we’ll take into account your health needs, any other treatments you’re having and any possible underlying causes before we make a decision with you on how to move forward.
There’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach to treating heavy periods, and how you move forward with your treatment will depend on what you respond the best to as well as your other health needs.
For many women, the preferred first port of call for treatment is the intrauterine system. This might not be for everyone, as it’s a method of contraception and can sometimes take up to six further periods before any long term effects are felt.
You can always talk to us about your symptoms and we’ll help find the right treatment for you that fits in with you and your life.
If this is the first time you’ve experienced heavy periods, or they have appeared suddenly then it’s worth seeing a clinician to make sure that there are no other health issues that need to be checked out.
You can then have a chat about treatment options based on your personal circumstances and your lifestyle.
If you have no underlying causes for heavy periods, you can still opt for treatments to make the signs and symptoms more bearable so you can go with the flow and get on with your life, worry free.
Treatment - Heavy periods.
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