If your menstrual cup overfloweth, you’re not alone. There’s a pretty wide range of what’s considered a “normal” period — and, yep, that includes having a heavy flow.
Still, it’s no fun when your period feels like a gory horror movie. And a super-heavy flow can occasionally be a sign of a bigger health issue, so it’s definitely worth talking to your doctor. (In other words, don’t just chalk it up to the joys of being a woman!) Here’s what you need to know about having a heavy period.
1. There is such a thing as “too heavy.”
Most of us have at least one heavy day in our cycle, so it can be hard to tell if your heavy period is something to worry about.
Typically, you lose up to 12 teaspoons of blood during your period, which can last anywhere from two days to a full week, says Sherry Ross, MD, an OB/GYN at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA and author of She-ology.
But obviously you’re not going to walk around with teaspoons measuring your flow, so here’s an easy way to gauge it: “Normal blood flow requires 3 to 6 pads or tampons per day,” Dr. Ross says. “Abnormal menstrual bleeding is when you’re changing your pad or tampon every 30 minutes or every hour, for three hours or more.”
2. If your flow is heavy, your gyno should know about it.
Just like wicked cramps or hellish PMS, a super-heavy flow isn’t something you should have to deal with every month. If it’s heavy enough to be stressing you out, then it’s definitely worth mentioning to your doctor.
3. There are a few possible causes of heavy periods.
According to Dr. Ross, the most common culprits are polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or thyroid issues, both of which can mess with your hormones and cause heavier periods. Ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids or polyps could also be to blame. And even weight gain, heavy drinking, certain meds, or stress can disrupt your hormones enough to affect your cycle. Your gyno can help you figure out what’s causing your heavy period and the best way to deal with it.
4. Don’t freak if you spot a clot.
Tiny blood clots in your menstrual blood, while gross to look at, are a pretty normal occurrence, especially if you have a heavy flow. (You’re shedding your uterine lining, and that can be a clumpy ordeal sometimes.) Just keep an eye out for any clot with its own zip code. “Big blood clots, like the size of grapes or apricots, would be an abnormal amount of blood flow,” Dr. Ross says.
5. Birth control can help, but there’s a “but.”
Hormonal birth control options — like the pill, the patch, the ring, or a hormonal IUD — regulate your hormones, which can make your periods a lot lighter. So even if birth control isn’t really on your radar otherwise, it may help alleviate your heavy periods.
But hormonal birth control can cause some unwanted side effects, so you’ll need to decide if the benefits outweigh the risks for you — just one more reason why you should talk to your gyno if your period is heavy.
source : seventeen.com