We all know that no two bodies are alike - and that’s what makes us each unique and special beings. For some, periods are a short, three day affair that have little to no side effects. For approximately 10 million menstruators in the US alone, they experience a very different kind of period. Symptoms include heavy bleeding, large clot formation, and extended periods.
Many people experience heavy periods (menorrhagia), but the good news is that you don’t have to suffer in silence.
My Period: What Is A Heavy Flow?
Heavy menstrual bleeding is medically defined as losing more than 80ml of menstrual fluid each period, having periods that last longer than a week, or a combination of the two.
Bear in mind that it is difficult to define exactly what a heavy period is as it does vary between menstruators. A heavy period for one person may be normal for another, so it is important to speak with your doctor if the symptoms of your period are impacting your daily life.
If you’re curious about how much menstrual fluid you’re expelling, Zero Cup has a handy measuring scale on the side. Our Small cup has a 20ml capacity, so if you’re disposing of four full cups per period, then you may have menorrhagia. If you use pads or tampons, you’ll notice that you’re soaking through them every hour or two.
Other signs of a heavy period include passing blood clots larger than 2.5cm or having a period last longer than 7 days.
Essentially, if your period is interfering with your daily activities or hindering you from getting a full night of sleep, then you should speak to a healthcare provider.
What Causes A Heavy Period?
In about half of all people with menorrhagia, there is no underlying reason for their heavy periods. For the other 50%, there are some conditions that could be causing or worsening symptoms.
Common causes of heavy periods include:
Hormonal imbalances - the normal balance of estrogen and progesterone during your menstrual cycle regulates the buildup of the lining of the womb, which is then shed during menstruation. Conditions such as PCOS, thyroid problems, obesity, or diabetes can result in hormone imbalances, causing excessive menstrual bleeding.
Uterine fibroids - they are benign, noncancerous growths of the uterus which are often associated with prolonged or heavy menstruation.
Adenomyosis - a condition in which the cells that line the womb grow into the muscular wall. This condition is known to cause painful cramping and heavy bleeding.
IUD - Though a great choice of non-hormonal birth control for many women, one of the side-effects of the copper IUD is a heavy and more painful period. For this reason, it is not recommended for women who already experience heavy periods.
Managing A Heavy Period
Simply head on over to your local healthcare provider and speak to a qualified professional about information about treatments. Fortunately, there are many treatments and options available including oral contraceptives, a hormonal IUD, or antifibrinolytic medication.
The best solution is to remain positive and seek advice from your doctor so that you can take back control of your period. Remember, menorrhagia is common amongst menstruators, so take comfort in the fact you are not alone.
Some menstruators find that their heavy menstrual flow doesn’t require medical treatment, but instead focus on making their period more manageable.
Using a Zero Cup is a great solution to a heavy period, here’s why:
Larger capacity - holds 4x as much as a regular tampon (5ml). Our Small cups hold 20ml of menstrual fluid, whilst a Large cup can contain up to 25ml of flow.
Less visits of the bathroom - Freedom to live life without the fear of needing to go to the loo constantly to check on your pad/tampon.
100% leak free - Your cup can be worn for up to 12 hours of consecutive use, but this is dependent on your flow.
Never be caught out again - One cup is all you need, so no more late night trips to the pharmacy or asking a friend for a spare tampon again!