Is having heavy periods normal? How can I tell if my heavy period is abnormal? These are common questions to ask when you’re experiencing a heavy flow.
No one likes worrying about whether or not they’re going to leak through their tampon or have to change their tampon every hour, but for many women with heavier periods and heavy menstrual cycles, it’s just what happens during their cycle every month. In rare cases, bleeding too much during your period can be a cause for concern, so it’s best to check with your doctor to rule out any of those. While there’s no such thing as a ‘normal’ period (everyone’s body is different and will have a different menstrual bleeding experience), you can gauge whether your heavier or longer periods are a cause for concern, or if you’re just built to bleed a little more every month.
Menorrhagia is the official medical name for long or heavy periods. There is also a specific term for heavy or long bleeding between periods: metrorrhagia.
Studies suggest the average person loses around 85 grams of blood per menstrual cycle, which is about two shot glasses worth (six tablespoons), but there’s a wide range since every woman is different. You might be a little taken aback when you bleed through a super absorbency tampon every few hours, but keep in mind that Super tampons are designed to hold 9-12g. If you’re concerned that you’re bleeding through tampons quicker than you think you should, it may be time to see a doctor about your heavy menstrual bleeding.
Having a heavy period isn’t necessarily a bad thing if that’s your body’s baseline. It’s very normal to need super tampons during your heaviest days, and then switching to regular and light as your period comes to an end. Tampax offers the full range of absorbencies from Light to Super Plus to give you ultimate protection on your heaviest days and smooth removal on your lightest.
It’s not typical, but it’s perfectly normal to have a heavy first period. So, if you get your first period and it isn’t super light, don’t panic. If you’re worried about a heavy first period, talk to your mum and maybe think about scheduling an appointment to see your doctor to discuss your concerns.
To find out if you have heavier periods and menorrhagia, ask yourself the following about your period:
If so, you may need to see a doctor to figure out what’s behind your heavy period. Your doctor can help you rule out or investigate any serious potential health concerns or bleeding disorders.
Going on certain forms of hormonal contraceptives may help with your heavy menstrual cycle, as these balance your hormones out more. Your doctor may also recommend iron supplements or other treatments. If you find you’re bleeding through tampons really quickly, just trying a higher absorbency tampon may also help. Tampax offers Super and Super Plus tampons that may be a better fit for your flow.
Every month, the lining of your uterus sheds during your menstrual cycle. This process relies on hormones like oestrogen and progesterone to be balanced and working in tandem in order to make sure every month flows smoothly. Whether it’s due to a hormonal imbalance, or another underlying condition, some people experience heavier periods each month than others. While this can be annoying, it’s rarely bad enough for you to have to worry about blood loss or anything serious.
Ironically, while hormonal contraceptives may help heavy periods, non-hormonal contraceptive methods like the copper IUD might actually make your periods heavier and your cramps more painful.
Going to see a doctor can also rule out uterine fibroids or growths, cancer, bleeding disorders, inflammation, thyroid conditions, or liver or kidney disease. Certain blood-thinning medications may also impact your period and cause a heavier menstrual cycle.
You might be reassured to know that tampons come in industry standard absorbency ranges, with Super and Super Plus and offering the highest absorbency (9-12g, and 12-15g, respectively). You’re likely already doing this, but go for the most heavy-duty tampon you can find and change it as often as needed for your flow. You may find that you need to start off with Super Plus absorbency for a few days, and then eventually go down to Super, and then Regular as your period ends. If you use tampons, adding a pad or pantyliner for extra protection never hurts, and the peace of mind knowing there’s an extra barrier between you and your underwear, should you bleed through your tampon, is worth it.
If you notice your heavy period matches the symptoms above, it’s not a bad idea to go get it checked out. If you ever feel physically weak from the loss of blood, then it’s definitely time to call your doctor or visit your local urgent care clinic, as blood loss from your period is pretty rare, and therefore something you’ll need to have looked at as soon as possible.