Do you suffer from heavy periods? Are you confused about what constitutes heavy menstruation and what “normal” periods are? You’re not alone. Many women who deal with heavy or irregular bleeding suffer because it can be hard to know what’s normal and what’s not.
At Progressive Women’s Health in Friendswood, Texas, Asia Mohsin, MD, and our caring team understand the frustration heavy periods can bring. One of our specialties is diagnosing and treating irregular bleeding, including heavy menstruation.
If you’re wondering what you can do about heavy menstruation, read on to find out about the options available to you.
What does a normal period look like?
You menstruate or get your period each month when your body prepares for the chance that you might get pregnant. If you don’t conceive, your body sheds the lining of your uterus, giving you a period. The first day of your period is the first day of each new menstrual cycle.
There is quite a bit of variation in what constitutes a normal period, but, on average, a normal period lasts 3-7 days and a typical menstrual cycle ranges from 21-35 days. Because there’s so much variation in normal periods, doctors usually say that what’s normal for you is “normal.”
If your “normal” involves heavy bleeding, however, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Other signs that something may be wrong include severe pain, bleeding in between periods, or feeling sick after using tampons, which could be a symptom of toxic shock syndrome.
What constitutes heavy menstruation?
During an average period, women typically shed between 5 mL and 80 mL of blood. The loss of more than 80 mL of blood during your entire period is considered menorrhagia, or heavy menstruation.
Since tampons and pads don’t come with graduated milliliter marks, however, most of us can’t easily measure the volume of blood lost during our periods. This can make it hard to know if your bleeding is in the normal range or not.
Here are some signs that can indicate your period is heavier than normal:
- You need to change your pad or tampon every hour or every few hours in a row
- You can’t get through the night without changing your tampon or pad
- Your flow is so heavy that you can’t do activities that are part of your everyday routine
- You have multiple large clots (about the size of a grape or bigger)
- Your periods make you so tired that you feel out of breath or without any energy
- You get a feeling of deep or heavy pain in your tummy or lower back
Heavy menstruation is more than an inconvenience. If left untreated, it can cause additional health problems, such as anemia, low red blood count, and iron deficiency. These health problems can cause fatigue and wreak havoc on your ability to concentrate, exercise, and enjoy your daily routine.
What treatment options exist for heavy menstruation?
To ensure you get the appropriate treatment for your heavy period, it’s important to talk to Dr. Mohsin. Many conditions can cause heavy menstruation, and identifying the underlying cause is the key to solving the problem.
Dr. Mohsin will work to find the right solution for you. By conducting a physical exam, evaluating your medical and lifestyle history, and ordering any helpful labs and imaging, she can help put an end to your heavy bleeding — even if heavy periods are your “normal.”
Some treatment options include:
- Oral contraceptives
- Hormonal IUD
- Endometrial ablation
- Removing uterine or ovarian cysts
- Hormone replacement therapy
If you need help with heavy periods, book an appointment online or over the phone with Progressive Women’s Health today. And if you’re concerned about visiting the office during the COVID-19 pandemic, take advantage of our TELEMEDICINE appointments and meet with us from the comfort of your own home.