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Heavy Bleeding

Having a heavy period may be normal for you, but if they are affecting your daily life then treatment can help. 

Normal blood loss during your period is 30-40mL.  Heavy bleeding is classed as changing menstrual products more than every 2 hours or needing to use 2 products together. More than 80ml blood lost each period (about 5 tablespoons!) along with passing of large clots “(greater than 2.5cm) is also classed as heavy bleeding.  

Excessive heavy menstrual blood loss that occurs regularly and interferes with your quality of life is termed menorrhagia. Menorrhagia can occur alone or in combination with other symptoms such as painful cramps.

Primary menorrhagia is the term used if you have always had heavy periods.

Secondary menorrhagia is the term used if you have had several years of normal blood loss and suddenly develop heavy periods which interfere with the quality of life.

2/3 of women with heavy bleeding develop iron deficient anaemia making you feel tired and lethargic.

What phase of your menstrual cycle do you experience heavy bleeding?

Heavy bleeding occurs during the early follicular phase when menstruation occurs.

Early Follicular Phase

Causes of heavy bleeding

In almost half of the women with menorrhagia no cause is found and the diagnosis is ‘dysfunctional uterine bleeding’.  In the other 50% of women with menorrhagia, causes can be differentiated into womb and ovary pathologies or systemic diseases.

Heavy bleeding can also be caused by prostaglandins, although these have an important role in the body, are natural and necessary sometimes your body can have excessive amounts as is the case with painful or heavy periods.

How to manage heavy bleeding

If you are struggling with heavy bleeding it would be useful to speak to your GP as they can refer or offer potential management strategies. 

Consider foods you are eating with a focus on reducing inflammation through anti-inflammatory foods such as fruit and veg.

For primary menorrhagia hormonal intrauterine device (first line for 6 cycles to assess impact), tranexamic acid, ibuprofen or oral contraceptive pill may be advised.

Period products – check out period pants and menstrual cups.

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