Periods on their own can be tough, but when you have an ultra heavy flow that you might not know how to manage, things could get messy. If you think you might have a heavy flow, or know you have a heavy flow and want to learn how to manage it, keep reading for our take on heavy periods, from what causes them, to how to deal with leaks and more.
Do I Have A Heavy Flow?
On average, people on their periods will lose anywhere from 30-50 ml of blood during their monthly cycle – this is considered a “normal” flow. A person who suffers from a heavy menstrual flow, otherwise known as menorrhagia, typically loses more than 80 ml per cycle.
Each regular-sized pad or tampon can hold up to about 5 ml of blood. If you have a heavy period, you could be soaking through more than 16 regular tampons or pads per cycle.
The best way to figure out if you have a heavy period is to count the number of tampons or pads that are either full or have leaked through by the time you remove them. If the number is 12 or more, this may indicate you suffer from a heavy period. Additionally, if you find your flow is super heavy for more than five days of your cycle, you could be suffering from menorrhagia.
While every period is different, here are some key signs that could indicate you are dealing with a heavy period:
- Your tampon or pad is completely full and needs to be changed every 1-2 hours for five or more days of your cycle
- You always need to use added protection to prevent excess leakage (i.e. pads, panty liners or period panties)
- You always experience period clotting, or your clots are wider than 1 inch in diameter.
- You can’t partake in your day-to-day activities because of your period
- You’re feeling extremely weak or tired throughout your entire period
If you experience one or more of the above symptoms on a regular basis, then you might be one of the many, many people out there who have a heavy period. If you’re only experiencing some of these symptoms sometimes, or are still unsure whether or not your period is heavy, remember that your period is almost always heavier within the first three days of your cycle. The severity in your period flow can also change from month to month depending on lifestyle changes, eating habits, and hormonal factors.
What Causes Heavy Periods?
A lot of the time, a heavy period can just be an inconvenience as opposed to a serious medical issue. However, if you’re experiencing some of the symptoms listed above or any of the ones listed in our blog post about extreme period symptoms, you should consult a physician. Even if it’s nothing, reaching out to a professional can offer peace of mind.
There are many reasons that don’t require medical intervention that could explain why your period is heavy. During puberty, your hormone levels are still balancing out (they’re new to this whole maturity thing!) and this can cause an imbalance of your progesterone and estrogen levels, which leads to excessive menstrual bleeding.
How Do I Manage A Heavy Menstrual Flow?
For some, having a heavy period flow is just a natural way of life and has nothing to do with an underlying medical issue. If you’re one of the many people out there dealing with a heavy flow, know that there are plenty of ways to deal with heavy bleeding on your period. Read on for a list.
Heavy periods can be uncomfortable, embarrassing, and a little smelly. But with period panties, they can also be super manageable.
Women throughout history have used wood, wool, and even papyrus to manage heavy periods. Today, we use period underwear. When used alongside a tampon or pad, they can help manage excessive menstrual bleeding and prevent leaking. You can walk, run and dance in your Leakproof Underwear Bikini and trust that they will keep you leak-free and feeling fresh.
Our period panties are made of an anti-odor fabric that keeps leaks and smells locked in. They can absorb up to 12 teaspoons of blood, and can be worn alone on lighter days of your cycle. However, if you’ve got the heavy flow, consider rocking our Leakproof Bikini alongside a pad or tampon for extra protection.
Another way to manage heavy period flows is with birth control. While birth control is a contraceptive, that is far from its only use. Many doctors prescribe birth control to people who want to regulate their menstrual flow and reduce its severity. Speak to your doctor about this if you’re curious.
Using a menstrual cup instead of a pad or tampon could also be a good solution to heavy period flow. Most menstrual cups can hold up to three times more fluid than a super tampon, plus they’re better for the environment. And, of course, for extra protection, pair your cup with a pair of our Leakproof Period Underwear. Not only does it generate less waste, it’ll keep you feeling dry, fresh, and worry-free.
When it comes to heavy menstrual bleeding, you should also pay close attention to your diet. Often, we’re told to stay away from caffeine and super-salty, high-fat food while we’re on our period. Not only can this kind of stuff make your period cramps and bloating worse, it can actually make your flow heavier. Swap out that bag of chips for a bag of carrots instead —seriously, vitamin A has been proven to decrease menstrual flow. Check out this blog post for more on food to eat during your period.
If none of these DIY fixes are helping you cope with your heavy flow: Call your doctor. It’s important to know your body and take charge of your health, and calling in a professional when you’re feeling unsure about a heavy period or need an extra hand is the best thing you can do. If necessary, there are surgical fixes available for excessive menstrual bleeding, as well as medications you can take if at-home methods aren’t cutting it. Remember: Safety first.
Disclaimer: The blog writers at Kt by Knix are not medical professionals, and give this advice based on their own research and experience. If you have further questions or concerns, speak to a trusted medical professional.