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What you should know about heavy periods

There’s menstruation, and then there’s menorrhagia, which is defined by having substantial blood loss in every monthly cycle.

What you should know about heavy periods is....

A third of menstruators have them

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 periods pads can really help make you feel protected and secure when you're bleeding heavily.

You can blame your hormones

As we’ve said, heavy periods are not always a sign that something is wrong. Your fluctuating hormones are the main culprit for heavy periods — *eye roll* — when you first start having periods and again, years later, when they come to an end as you approach menopause.

Your IUD could be the culprit

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.

It could be nothing. But, rather get it checked out 

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. 

PCOS and endometriosis can cause heavy bleeding

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 products for heavy periods

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.

That's why we have developed our Super Plus Range and Maxi Night Pad to suit your needs. 

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Frequently Asked Question: Periods

Can I have sex when I'm on my period?

Yes you can. In rare instances, you can still get pregnant. You should also bear in mind that you can still catch a sexually transmitted disease when on your period

Will I smell when I’m on my period?

You might notice a slight odour when you're on your period. Tampons can help with this because they're worn inside your body. If you prefer to use pads, make sure to change them regularly if you notice a strong odour.

How will the contraceptive pill affect my periods?

Some brands of contraceptive pills can reduce your flow or shorten the length of your period. Your doctor or nurse will discuss this with you during your consultation.

My periods are really heavy, which products should I use?

You’ve got a few options available. Lil-lets Super Plus tampons have the highest absorbency in our range and are great for heavy periods. If you prefer to use an applicator tampon, our super tampons are a really good choice for medium to heavy flow. If you use pads, we suggest using our Night Maxi Pad, which is the highest absorbency pad within our range

What can I do to relieve my period pain?

Although you may not feel like doing it at the time, stretching or gentle exercise will ease this discomfort. Healthy eating is also known to help relieve any period pain. Alternatively, treat yourself to a relaxing bath or cuddle up on the sofa with a hot water bottle. If none of these help, your local pharmacy can give you guidance on suitable pain relief.

How long does a period last?

This can vary from 2 to 5 days and could be up to 10.

Is it okay to have a bath or shower when I have my period?

Yes, it's important to keep yourself clean during your period and hot water can help soothe cramps too!

What do you find is the most effective way to deal with menstrual cramps?

Menstrual cramps vary from menstruator to menstruator. For some, period cramps are little to no pain, whereas for others, it can be a truly excruciating experience. Thus dealing with period cramps can vary. We recommend exploring to opt for home treatments instead of relying heavily on over-the-counter medicine. These two options can assist with cramps:

• Getting regular exercise can help with blood flow and may reduce cramping.
• Put a heating pad or a hot water bottle on your belly, or taking a warm bath. The heat improves blood flow and may ease the pain.

However, if pain does persist, it is recommended to chat to your doctor or gynae

Can I wash my hair during my period?

You totally can! We've often been fed a lot of misinformation. That's not the case - you can take care of yourself (including washing your hair, why not throw in a face mask?), exercise if you're up to it, be around your loved ones and work as normal. Besides the pain and discomfort which accompanies some people's periods, you can continue on as normal.

Is it okay to swim when you're on your period?

Swimming during your period isn't a problem. However, you will want to use a tampon when swimming so you don't bleed on your swimsuit. Pads won't work and will just fill with water. The tampon won't fall out if it is inserted correctly. Go and make a splash!

Have more questions on periods?

Got a question you’ve been too embarrassed to ask? Wondering if what you are experiencing every month is normal?

Join our Lil-Lets Talk community for empowering conversations for people with periods.

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