Heavy periods are common but they can have a big effect on a woman’s everyday life

Heavy periods are common, but they can have a big effect on a woman’s everyday life.They do not always have an underlying cause, but they can result from problems such as fibroids or endometriosis, so it’s important to get your symptoms checked out.

See a GP if:

  • you’re worried about your bleeding
  • your periods have got heavier
  • you’re also having other symptoms, such as period pain or bleeding between your periods

Various treatments are available for heavy periods, including:

  • some types of contraception, like an intrauterine system (IUS) or the combined pill
  • medicines, like tranexamic acid
  • surgery

How much is heavy bleeding?

It’s difficult to define exactly what a heavy period is because it varies from woman to woman. Heavy for 1 woman may be normal for another.

Most women will lose less than 16 teaspoons of blood (80ml) during their period, with the average being around 6 to 8 teaspoons.

Heavy menstrual bleeding is defined as losing 80ml or more in each period, having periods that last longer than 7 days, or both.

But it’s not usually necessary to measure blood loss. Most women have a good idea of how much bleeding is normal for them during their period and can tell when this changes.

A good indication that your periods are heavy is if you:

  • are having to change your sanitary products every hour or 2
  • are passing blood clots larger than 2.5cm (about the size of a 10p coin)
  • are bleeding through to your clothes or bedding
  • need to use 2 types of sanitary product together (for example, tampons and pads)

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