Have you been experiencing heavier/more painful periods for several months in a row?
Maybe you’ve had them for years and you’re wondering if anything can be done. While not life threatening or dangerous, heavy periods (otherwise known as menorrhagia) can devastate your life by causing you to miss work or social events.
It’s often hard to know what counts as a normal or heavy period. You might be reluctant to see a doctor or not be convinced that anything can help. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you figure things out.
What Defines a “Heavy Period”?
The average amount of blood lost during a period is about 30-40 millilitres. Even women who have heavier periods usually lose less than 80 millilitres. If you’re losing more than this, you’re losing a lot more than normal and it’s probably time to see a specialist.
Remember that only about 36% of menstrual fluid is blood. If you’re using a menstrual cup to measure the total amount of your menstrual fluid, as much as 180ml could be considered ‘normal’.
But if you’re unsure how much blood you’re losing and have long and painful periods, there’s a good chance you’re losing more than normal.
Here are some signs of a heavier than normal period:
- Soaking through a pad or tampon in less than two hours
- Needing to wear more than one pad for coverage
- Needing to get up during the night to change a pad
- Periods lasting more than 7 days
- Blood clots larger than a 20-cent coin
- Periods that are restrictive to your lifestyle
- Constant pain in the lower part of your abdomen
- Being tired or lacking energy.
- Bleeding through clothes or bedding
- Tampons or pads by themselves are not enough, and need to be used together.
- It’s painful to go to the bathroom
See your doctor immediately if…
- You have a fever or feel dizzy
- You have severe pain
- You find yourself using considerably more tampons than normal, for consecutive periods.
- You’re spotting all the time.
Do these symptoms sound familiar? If so, you should know there’s options to help.
Some women live with heavy periods all their lives and are just fine. But if they’re hijacking your life for seven days out of every month, it’s smart to seek a diagnosis.
What can I do to stop my heavy periods?
There are many treatment options available, and they don’t necessarily have to include hormone treatment or surgery.
- Dietary changes: Eat foods rich vitamin C and iron, and avoid foods with processed sugar, trans-fats, and starchy carbs. This can help replace nutrients you lose and might help regulate your hormones.
- Over-the-counter medication: Ibuprofen and aspirin can reduce pain, and may help lighten periods.
- Hormonal birth control: The pill, patches, IUDs, and hormonal birth control can help regulate your periods.
- Hormone treatments: The progesterone in progesterone tablets inhibits the growth of the lining of the womb before menstruation. This results in less bleeding.
- Endometrial ablation: If non-surgical treatments prove ineffective, procedures like NovaSure® or Thermablate EAS™ might be an option. Endometrial ablation works by removing the uterus’s lining and is performed without making any incisions in your skin. Learn more about endometrial ablation.
How does diagnosis work?
Diagnosing menorrhagia is a relatively simple process. It starts with a routine pelvic exam, which you can call us about right now on 07 3054 4687. Again, you can probably live with heavy periods for the rest of your life, but why would you want to when a solution might just be a few days away?
If you’re tired of the pain and the inconvenience of heavy periods, we can help. Don’t wait until you’re in pain again. Pick up the phone and call us.