heavy-periodsWomen often describe heavy periods as a major disruptor in all areas of their lives. From work, to dating, to the beach and exercising – a heavy flow can feel really unmanageable. Women complain of constantly worrying about embarrassing leaks or accidents, ruining underwear and favorite outfits, stressing about simply leaving the house or doing normal activities, and the fatigue that comes with excessive blood loss.

Here are some other physical signs of a heavy period:

1. Your period consistently lasts more than 7 days.
2. You’re changing tampons or pads more than every 2 hours each day
3. You need a pad and tampon to control your menstrual flow.
4. You have to change your pads or tampons during the night.
5. You have a menstrual flow with blood clots the size of a quarter or larger.
6. You experience tiredness, you lack energy, or you are short of breath, or you’ve been diagnosed with anemia.

The causes of heavy periods and the related conditions to heavy periods fall into three categories:

1. Hormonal imbalances
2. Uterine problems or conditions
3. Other illnesses diseases or medications

If your period lasts longer than seven days and you’re losing more than 80 ml of blood per cycle, or you’re soaking more than 16 regular tampons or pads per cycle, then this is a sign of a heavier than average flow (menorrhagia). Other signs are flooding (like I described above) and clots that are the size of a quarter or bigger.

80 milliliters equals about 5.5 tablespoons or 2.7 liquid ounces, or 16 soaked regular pads or tampons.

It’s really important for you to determine what is normal for you. All these numbers are merely statistics based on the experiences of a small group of women, and don’t necessarily represent your body’s norm.