Heavy periods: how to manage the flow?

Menstruation is a natural phenomenon that lasts between 2 and 7 days, depending on the woman. The amount of blood lost during menstruation therefore varies from woman to woman. How about you? Are your periods so heavy that they handicap you in your daily life?

What is a heavy period?

The amount of blood lost can often be difficult to assess. Menstruation can be abundant both in terms of quantity and duration. In general, a woman is considered to be suffering fromhypermenorrhea when her periods last more than 7 days and/or when the quantity of blood lost exceeds 80ml per cycle. Menstrual disorders, in particular menorrhagia, can be a real burden for women who suffer from them, as they require them to change their sanitary protection every two hours, which can quickly become a mental burden and a daily burden. Some women with heavy flow also have their periods every 3 weeks rather than every month.

The difference with haemorrhagic periods

Having "heavy periods" is more of a descriptive term on the part of the woman. Haemorrhagic periods and menorrhagia, on the other hand, are medical terms used to describe menstruation in which the volume of blood lost exceeds 80 ml per cycle, whether or not over a longer period. They may conceal gynaecological pathology or disorders. In general, any serious symptom such as malaise or severe pelvic pain accompanied by menstrual bleeding should be reported to the emergency room.

How do I know if my periods are heavy?

If you're not sure whether your periods are normal, heavy, or even bleeding, there's a way to calculate the abundance of your flow: the Higham test.

Calculate your Higham score

The Higham test allows you to calculate the amount of blood you're losing.
It's very simple: just start by noting the number of sanitary pads you use per day, from the first day of your period onwards. This will give you a number of points for each day, which you then have to add up to get your total score, which will be your Higham score. A score of over 100 points means losses of more than 80 ml, indicating that you're suffering from very heavy periods.

For more information, please consult your doctor, midwife or gynecologist.

What causes heavy periods?

Heavy periods can be caused by a number of factors. It's important to identify the cause, so you can receive appropriate treatment:

  • pathologies of the uterus or reproductive sphere: uterine polyps, fibroids, endometrial cancer, adenomyosis or endometriosis, cysts, tumors...
  • General illnesses such as coagulation, liver or thyroid problems.
  • Medical causes: anticoagulant drugs, insertion of a copper coil, etc.
  • Functional or idiopathic menorrhagia: once all the above causes have been ruled out.

Is heavy menstruation a cause for concern?

If you're suffering from heavy periods, it's important to consult a healthcare professional so that he or she can diagnose the cause of your bleeding. It's also important to check that the bleeding isn't actually related to your period, as in the case of pregnancy, for example. Bleeding outside the men strual period is called metrorrhagia.
When you suffer from heavy menstrual flow, you run the risk of developinganemia. The body doesn't have enough time to replenish its blood reserves, which can lead to a lack ofhemoglobin in the blood. Last but not least,hypermenorrhea has a mental, emotional and physical impact, as well as a professional and social impact.

Our solutions and tips for treating heavy periods

Fortunately, there are solutions to help you cope better with heavy periods.

The first thing is to make sure you get enough iron. Indeed, when you suffer from heavy menstrual flow, you're more prone to iron anemia. Iron can be found, for example, in lentils, spinach, meat, etc. If your diet is not sufficient to supply you with iron, you can ask a health professional to supplement you with iron.

Heavy periods can also be the result of a magnesium or vitamin deficiency. For magnesium, don't deprive yourself of dark chocolate!

Nettles can also help to reduce heavy blood loss, as can cold compresses, which help to reduce the volume of blood vessels.

To make your cycles more comfortable, you can use menstrual briefs made from Elia organic cotton, breathable and safe for your intimate area, they can be worn throughout your period and beyond, without irritation.

FAQ about heavy periods

Why are my periods so heavy?

Heavy periods have many causes. They may be due to a gynaecological disease such as adenomyosis, to coagulation disorders, or to hormonal imbalance, for example. Contact your health professional for more information.

Is it normal to lose a lot of blood during my period?

Blood flow during menstruation varies from person to person. Some will have very little blood and a very short period, while others will have abundant periods in terms of quantity and duration. To find out exactly how much volume is lost and whether this is pathological, you can perform the Higham test.

How to stop heavy periods?

In the case of idiopathic menorrhagia, certain tips can help you cope better with heavy periods, such as eating foods containing iron, magnesium, etc. Otherwise, you need to treat the problem at its root cause if it's another underlying condition.

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