Why Is My Period So Heavy? And What Can I do?
If you're like a large majority of people with periods, your flow can be a really heavy experience. It's common for some of us to feel bloated and cranky or to have cramps that make it difficult to get out of bed. And then there's the blood. A bloody lot of it!
Some periods are so heavy that they leave you feeling sore in the lower back or with killer menstrual cramps. But what causes these heavier periods? And why do some people have them while others don't?
What Can Cause A Heavy Period?
Each person’s period is different, and most often, it follows the pattern of being heaviest on the first one to three days and then gradually lightens. However, a heavy flow that gets in the way of your normal activities is something to note to your doctor or gynaecologist.
Our bodies are sensitive to change, and if you experience any major bodily changes, a miscarriage or surgery, for example, it’s natural that you might experience a heavier period.
Below you’ll find the most common culprits for a heavy flow:
- Growths in the uterus
- Prescription medication
- Starting birth control
- Hormone problems
- Thyroid problems
- Certain IUDs
- Thyroid problems
- Rare cases of cancer
How Heavy Is Too Heavy For A Period?
On average, women lose an average of 30 to 40 millilitres of blood each cycle. So, like 6 to 8 teaspoons. Someone with a heavy period flow can potentially lose up to 80 millilitres - almost double that of the average person.
Of course, measuring your blood to determine whether your period is too heavy is impractical. So, the best way to determine if your period is too heavy is to speak to your doctor.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists considers the following to be symptoms of heavy bleeding.
- A period that lasts for more than seven days
- Tampons and pads soaking through every hour for several hours in a row
- Blood clots in periods that are as big as a quarter
- Needing to change pads or tampons throughout the night
When Should I Be Concerned About A Heavy Period?
Menorrhagia is a medical term used to describe abnormally heavy or long menstrual periods. However, just because you have a heavy period doesn’t mean you are suffering from menorrhagia, as it is rather uncommon. Instead, it’s characterised by needing to change your pad or tampon every hour for at least a day, changing of tampons throughout the night and the need to wear two pads in order to control blood flow.
If every period you experience puts you over the edge, is heavy, painful and unmanageable, you may have an underlying health issue that needs addressing. So, please reach out to a medical professional and start the conversation, because you deserve so much better hun.
How Can I Stop Heavy Periods?
There methods that you can turn to as a way to manage your flow, like treatments ranging from hormonal therapy to simple diet changes:
- Hormonal therapy: Hormone treatments can be used to treat heavy periods that are caused by a hormonal imbalance. It’s usually a fast-acting treatment and can also be a means of easing pain and discomfort.
- Birth control: Birth controls, such as the pill and IUDs, aren’t just used as a contraceptive; rather, they can be used to treat heavy periods and manage pain. And for some of us, coming off them can also have the same effects!
- CBD oil: CBD is an excellent way to manage the nasty period cramps and mood swings that come with a heavy flow. The active ingredient of CBD has been proven to have pain and inflammation reducing properties.