What do I do if my period flow is way too heavy?

What do I do if my period flow is way too heavy?

Our expert: Dr. Sherry Ross

Sheryl A. Ross, M.D., “Dr. Sherry,” is an award-winning OBGYN, our go-to for pregnancy, postpartum, menopause and beyond. She’s practiced for 20+ years, recently won both a Top Ten OB/GYN & Patient’s Choice Award. She also has a line of custom vitamins made specially for women, Dr. Ross D3FY Vitamins.

About a year ago, my flows became really heavy, and I found that tampons weren’t working like they used to. I started using a Diva cup, which has measuring lines on it, and have found that most of my periods produce between 60-100 ml each day for three days. Sometimes I only have two heavy days, but I worry that this is something I need to be concerned about.  I have started taking an iron supplement because I worry about anemia. 

You were absolutely correct in being suspicious that something was not right with the amount of bleeding you have been having with your period.  I am a big believer in being your own health advocate, asking question, getting answers and receiving appropriate medical care.

The Diva cup is a great way to collect and measure the amount of period blood loss.  The average amount of blood loss per period is 30-40ml per cycle (1 Tablespoon is equivalent to 15ml).  If you have chronic loss of more than 80 to 100ml/cycle you may become anemic.  Before having the Diva cup it was impossible for women to know the exact amount of their monthly blood loss.  Doctors would caution women and say if you need to change your “soaked” tampon or Kotex pad every 1-2 hours this was considered excessive.  Another sign that your period was abnormal was if it lasted more than 7 days or came every 20 or less days.

Other normal signs of a healthy period:

  • Average age of getting your period 11-12years
  • Average interval from period to period 28 days
  • Normal interval from one period to the next is 21 to 35 days
  • Length of flow is 4 to7 days
  • Average range of blood loss per period is 30ml to 80ml (2 to 6 Tablespoons)
  • Menstrual or period products used is 3 to 6 pads or tampons per day

So you are completely correct that you are losing an excessive and dangerous amount of blood with each period.  You should make an appointment to see a gynecologist who can do a proper work up and find the cause of these heavy periods.  Taking iron is a great idea but more importantly is finding out the cause. An assessment will include a complete history of your menstrual cycle, blood work checking your hormones (FSH, Estradiol and TSH), and anemia status along with a pelvic ultrasound. You might also need an endometrial biopsy of your uterus.

If you suspect your period is abnormal in any way it is so important to discuss all your concerns with your gynecologist or healthcare provider.

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