There’s menstruation, and then there’s menorrhagia, which is defined by having substantial blood loss in every monthly cycle.
Don't think that you're alone if you have heavy bleeding during your period. Many people feel both physically and emotionally affected by heavy periods, but the good news is that it's very unlikely to be anything more serious. Plus, wearing super absorbent tampons and heavy period pads can really help make you feel protected and secure when you're bleeding heavily. Read on for tips on how to deal with heavy periods.
As we’ve said, heavy periods are not always a sign that something is wrong. Your fluctuating hormones are the main culprit for heavy and irregular periods — *eye roll* — when you first start having periods and again, years later, when they come to an end as you approach menopause.
The coil (the intrauterine contraceptive device or IUD) could well be the reason that you’re experiencing heavy periods, especially if you’ve been consistently bleeding more since you had it inserted. Although, confusingly, research has also shown that an IUD, containing the hormone ‘levonorgestrel’, can actually benefit some people who suffer from heavy bleeding during periods as well.
A heavy period could just be a natural part of your bodily makeup, just like longer than normal toes, or a beauty spot. And while the period lottery may not have been in your favour, this time, it’s more than likely that your larger than life menstrual cycle is nothing to be concerned about. Saying that, if you notice your periods are heavier than usual or they’re disrupting your daily life (to the point where you’re missing work or school every month), it may be a good idea to discuss this with your doctor. They might ask you to keep a menstrual diary (use a diary or your phone’s notes app) where you'll need to write down how long your periods last, how often you change your protection, any changes to your flow, and the impact it’s having on your daily routine.
For peace of mind, it might be worth doing some investigation into the underlying causes of your heavy periods. Fibroids and polyps in the uterus can sometimes cause heavy periods, while endometriosis and PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) can also be the reason behind them. Chat to your gynae or local clinic staff about an ultrasound or blood tests that could rule out these conditions.
The best way to handle heavy bleeding during periods is to ensure you wear super absorbent tampons and heavy period pads. These will offer the protection and security you need to make sure your menstrual cycle doesn’t get in the way of your life.