While the majority of women suffer from days during their periods where their flow is heavy, and the cramps are almost unbearable, the number that suffers from heavy periods is much lower. Menorrhagia is a medical condition that is a lot more severe than even the worst periods for many ladies. With it often being an underlying problem for other, more serious medical issues, it is important to get checked out if you think you are suffering from heavy periods.
To decipher what consists of a heavy period it is important first to establish what a ‘normal’ period consists of. Research into periods and how much an individual will bleed has shown that there are massive variations even within the normal range. With the average period releasing between 10ml – 35ml of blood in the entire period, it is easy to see why someone might think they were suffering from medical, heavy periods compared to other people.
Medically speaking, to be considered as suffering from a heavy period there should be blood loss of over 80ml which equates to around 16 soaked sanitary towels during the entire period. With each towel retaining around 5ml or a teaspoon of blood, this is a lot to be losing over 5-6 days which is the average length of a period.
In reality, if you are suffering from anemia then you could suffer from menorrhagia even if you aren’t producing this much blood while on your period. As around 1/3 people suffer from anemia, you might want to get checked out if you are completely soaking around 9-12 pads during your period.
The cause of menorrhagia has yet to be discovered however it is more common in teens and during perimenopause. These are both periods of life where estrogen tends to be higher, and progesterone is lower. As estrogen makes the endometrium thicker (and therefore more likely to shed) while progesterone acts to make it thinner, it is thought this would explain the heavy periods during these times however research hasn’t shown any conclusive evidence either way.
If you are suffering from menorrhagia, then you will want to find methods to deal with it. The best way of coping with heavy periods are:
Take Ibuprofen as it will reduce your flow by up to 30% as well as helping with cramping.
Drink more water and salt since without enough of these in your body you can become dizzy quickly. Salty soups and stocks are a good way of getting salt in your body naturally, and you will need to drink around 1-1.5 extra liters of water.
Take iron to replace the iron you lose through the blood.
Although heavy periods can be terrible, and you might dread that time of the month, there are things that both you and your doctor can do to help you deal with them. If you feel you might be suffering from menorrhagia, contact your doctor immediately so that together you can make a plan of action.