Menstruation is part of every woman's life, month after month, from her first period to the menopause, over several decades. Unfortunately, it is not always completely normal. In addition to unpleasant period pains, women often complain of particularly heavy menstrual bleeding. In the following we will explain when you can actually call it heavy menstrual bleeding and what the causes can be.
Heavy menstrual bleeding - the most important facts at a glance
- Normally, you lose about 30 to 70 millilitres of blood during your entire period.
- If you lose more than 80 millilitres of blood, it is really a heavy menstrual period.
- In many cases, heavy menstrual bleeding occurs together with a period that is too long.
- It is estimated that about one woman in ten is affected by excessive bleeding during her period.
- Possible causes of heavy menstrual bleeding include hormonal changes and problems with the uterus.
- In addition to medication and hormonal contraceptives, possible treatments include surgery, depending on the cause.
- In many cases, treatment for heavy periods is not absolutely necessary and should be decided on an individual basis.
- Women with heavy periods can protect themselves in everyday life by wearing Weekiss period underwear in addition to their tampon.
- Heavy periods are not unusual and are no reason to be ashamed of them in any way.
How much blood do you lose during your period?
If you're wondering how many litres of blood you lose when you have your period, we can reassure you. Blood loss is far from even coming close to a litre. In fact, the amount of blood lost during the entire menstrual period is usually just in the range of 30 to 70 millilitres.
If you lose 80 or more millilitres of blood during your period, it is already a heavy menstrual period. This amount is not dangerous at first. However, excessive blood loss can be a nuisance in everyday life. It therefore makes sense to get to the bottom of the cause and do something about it if possible.
How much blood do you lose during your first period?
The first period makes many girls feel insecure. But it is something completely normal and certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Basically, the amount of blood lost during the period is not a question of age.
However, it is not uncommon for the first periods to be quite irregular and to vary both in terms of the amount of blood and its duration.
As long as your periods are within a certain range and you don't have any symptoms, such as severe pain, you don't usually have to worry about this as a young woman. However, if you are unsure, don't hesitate to talk to your mother or gynaecologist about it.
Heavy menstrual bleeding is not uncommon
Heavy menstrual bleeding is quite common. It is estimated that about one in ten women is affected. The technical term for excessive menstrual bleeding is hypermenorrhoea. In many cases, women who are affected also suffer from a condition called menorrhagia, which is bleeding for too long. This is because both problems are often caused by the same thing. Prolonged menstrual bleeding is when the period lasts longer than seven days.
How do you notice an excessively heavy period?
Excessive menstrual bleeding is particularly noticeable when the tampon regularly has to be changed after just one or two hours or the menstrual cup is full after just a few hours. In addition, fatigue, listlessness and weakness as well as lumps in the menstrual blood can also indicate heavy menstrual bleeding.
Possible causes of heavy menstrual bleeding
Heavy menstrual bleeding can have different causes. Some women suffer from them right from the start. In most cases, however, menstrual bleeding only increases over time. This is often the case after childbirth or after inserting a copper IUD. Apart from that, changes in hormone balance, such as those that occur during the menopause, can also contribute to an increase in blood loss during the period.
However, problems with the uterus are often responsible for excessive menstrual bleeding. For example, if your uterus cannot contract properly to expel the lining during your period because of polyps or other benign growths, this can increase menstrual bleeding.
In addition, congenital or acquired adhesions in the area of the uterus are among the possible triggers for excessive bleeding during menstruation. Cervical cancer and uterine cancer are also possible causes. However, they are rarely responsible for excessive menstrual bleeding.
In some cases, excessive bleeding can also be caused by the following medical problems:
- Hormonal disorders
- Kidney disease
- Heart disease
- Thyroid problems
- Liver disease
- Blood clotting disorders
Is excessive menstrual bleeding dangerous?
Excessive blood loss during menstruation can be perceived by affected women as extremely annoying and unpleasant in everyday life. However, there is usually no real danger to your health.
However, iron is inevitably excreted with the blood. Occasionally, heavy menstrual bleeding can lead to iron deficiency and anaemia. This is because iron is an indispensable component of your red blood cells. These in turn are responsible for the transport of oxygen in your body. If you cannot produce enough red blood cells due to iron deficiency, this will result in an insufficient supply of oxygen.
In this case, you will notice symptoms such as pale skin and mucous membranes as well as fatigue and weakness. Severe anaemia can even cause heart palpitations and shortness of breath. In this case, it may be a good idea to take iron supplements that are adapted to your individual needs.
How can excessive menstrual bleeding and its causes be diagnosed?
If you have the impression that your menstrual bleeding is too heavy, you should first try to find out how much blood you actually lose during your period. To do this, make a note of how many tampons or pads you use on each day of your period. If you use a menstrual cup, write down how often you need to empty it.
If you find that you are actually losing too much blood during your period, the next step is to contact your gynaecologist. To get to the bottom of what is causing your periods to be too heavy, the gynaecologist will usually first talk to you about your medical history and then, of course, examine your uterus. To do this, she will palpate you and certainly also do an ultrasound scan.
If this is not enough to make a diagnosis, a hysteroscopy may be necessary. In order to find out whether anaemia has occurred due to excessive blood loss, a blood test can also be carried out to determine the level of hormones relevant to your menstrual cycle and periods.
Treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding
The treatment that can help you if you have heavy menstrual bleeding depends largely on what is causing it. In addition to medicines to reduce the tendency to bleed and suitable painkillers, such as ibuprofen, hormonal contraceptives may also help.
If the symptoms are very severe or if there is a serious health problem, surgery may be necessary to remove polyps, for example. In such an operation, the lining of the uterus or even the entire uterus can be removed. Of course, it is important to remember that pregnancy is no longer possible after the operation, and at least the removal of the entire uterus is a major operation, so it is not carried out lightly.
Do excessive periods need to be treated?
In many cases, treatment for excessive menstruation is not absolutely necessary. As long as it doesn't cause anaemia or underlying illnesses that need treatment, it's perfectly possible to put up with it and not do anything else.
It's best to get advice from your gynaecologist about the advantages and disadvantages of different treatment options. This will help you make the right decision for you.
Is it really menstrual bleeding?
Bleeding that occurs is not always your period. Apart from that, bleeding can also occur during the fertile days after ovulation, for example. In addition to spotting, so-called implantation bleeding can also occur when the egg is fertilised and implants in the uterus.
Compared to a real period, implantation bleeding and spotting are usually much weaker, so you should not notice too much blood loss.
The colour of menstrual bleeding
menstrual bleedingSometimes, in addition to the duration of the days and the amount of blood, the colour of menstrual bleeding can also show abnormalities. In principle, certain changes in colour are completely normal, even in the course of a single period, and are usually no cause for concern.
However, there is no harm in keeping an eye on the colour of your blood and talking to your gynaecologist if you notice any unusual changes, such as a grey colour, which could indicate an infection.
Tips for your daily life with heavy menstrual bleeding
If your periods are too heavy, there are things you can do to make sure they don't affect your daily life too much, even if you don't go to the doctor.
Use double protection
During heavy periods, it can be helpful not to rely on a menstrual cup or tampon alone. Protect yourself with a pad or period underwear from Weekiss. This way, you can feel much safer when you're out and about, and you don't have to worry about an unpleasant accident happening all the time.
Wear dark clothing
Normally, you should be well protected with an additional external sanitary product during your period, even if you have heavy bleeding. However, if you feel uncomfortable, it is best to wear dark clothing during your period. This way you can be sure that nothing is visible if, contrary to expectations, your menstrual products do not offer you sufficient protection.
Go for iron-rich foods
As mentioned earlier, heavy periods can be associated with iron deficiency. To counteract this, you should make sure that you regularly eat iron-rich foods. These include oatmeal, pulses, pistachios and beetroot.
In principle, it is also possible to take iron as a food supplement. However, you should only take iron supplements if you really need it and there are no health reasons, such as haemochromatosis, for not taking it. It is therefore best to seek medical advice in advance to be on the safe side and to avoid future problems caused by an oversupply of iron.
We are of course aware that many women do not feel much like exercising during their period. This is especially true if your periods are heavy. However, a moderate exercise programme can pay off for you in more ways than one. Exercise helps to improve your mood and promotes blood circulation. You can also strengthen your pelvic floor muscles with the right exercises, which can counteract menstrual cramps and contribute to a more relaxed cycle overall.
Love yourself as you are
Every woman is different. This also applies to your cycle and your period. Both can vary. The length of your menstrual cycle can vary from woman to woman, and menstruation can vary in both duration and intensity.
Excessive menstrual bleeding is nothing unusual and nothing to be ashamed of. Remember that you are not alone and that about one in ten women have the same problems as you.
Acceptance is therefore an essential step. Love yourself for who you are. You have every reason to. How heavy your periods are should not matter to you. If you find them annoying or think that there are health problems, you should of course still contact your gynaecologist.
Heavy menstrual bleeding - our conclusion
As you can see, heavy menstrual bleeding can have various causes. It is not possible to say in general terms whether and how these can be treated. However, there are a few things you can do to cope with it in everyday life, so that your heavy periods don't restrict you too much and you can still feel good.
If you want extra security during your period in addition to your tampons or menstrual cup, we recommend that you try period briefs. In our shop you will find a wide range of different models to choose from. We are sure that you will find the right period pants for you and that you will love the first-class quality and comfort.