With a healthy menstrual cycle, your bleed should last 3-7 days and involve around 6-10 pads or 10-20 tampons. If your period is much longer or much lighter than that, it’s a red flag that something is going on.
A person is considered to have a heavy period when:
- They lose more than 80ml blood per cycle, which is more than 16 tampons/pads
- Period lasts 8 days or longer
- You experience flooding (a sudden gush when you stand up) or need change your products every 2hrs or during the night
Heavy periods are most common during teenage and perimenopause years, as well as the first few cycles postpartum, as you have irregular ovulation and therefore sporadic progesterone production. This causes oestrogen levels to be higher in relation to progesterone.
What are the most common causes of heavy periods?
- Hormonal imbalances – as I’ve just mentioned high oestrogen is the main culprit and so working on your diet, stress levels as well as liver detoxification is very important when you have high oestrogen. Another hormonal imbalance which can impact heavy periods is also low thyroid function or hypothyroidism so definitely ask your doctor to run a full thyroid panel blood test. You can learn more here about your thyroid health.
- There are uterine conditions which cause heavy periods – endometriosis, uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, uterine polyps, as well as miscarriage/ectopic pregnancy
- Other factors which can cause heavy periods include – some birth control like copper IUD (Paragard) and progestin only birth control (depo-provera injection and nexplanon implant), as well as bleeding disorders which is a very common cause of heavy bleeding but little talked about. If you’ve always, always had heavy periods, experienced excess bleeding after childbirth, when you cut yourself or have dental work there is a lot of blood, these things could indicate you may have a bleeding disorder that impairs the way blood clots (most common is Von Willebrand disease).
You can book your free 20-minute chat HERE if you need more support with your heavy periods or any hormonal issues.