Periods on their own aren’t always the most fun, but throw in an hour-long math class and a heavy flow day and you’ve got a recipe for a downright unpleasant day. Sound familiar? Heavy flows sometimes come with the risk of the blood leaving a giant stain on your underwear or pants. Keep reading to find out how to tell if you have a heavy periods and how to prepare for your next period so you won’t leak during heavy period flow days.
How Do I Know If I Have A Heavy Flow?
The average person loses about two to three tablespoons of blood during their period, which should last between two to seven days. A heavy period flow is usually anything more than that. According to the CDC, you can tell if you have a heavy flow if you have to change your pad or tampon after two hours or less, or if you’re passing period clots that are the size of a quarter or larger.
For most menstruating people, the period cycle will start off light, peak with one or two moderate to heavy flow days, and then taper off again to a light flow to end the cycle. Sometimes, a heavy flow is just that– a heavy flow. Other times, it can be a symptom of something else like menorrhagia, the medical term for prolonged or heavy menstrual bleeding. If you think your heavy flow could be a cause for concern, don’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted adult, parent, or medical professional. There’s nothing embarrassing about having a period and taking control of your health– even if you think it might be nothing, you might still want to get a doctor to confirm things for you and give you peace of mind.
How To Prevent A Period Leak
If you’re dealing with a heavier period flow, you might be worried about potential leakage while on your period, especially if you can't run to the bathroom every couple of hours to check on what’s going on. No need to stress! While leaks are natural and definitely happen to every menstruating person at least once, we’ve got you covered with some of our best tips on how to not leak during a heavy period flow.
- Layer up! Consider wearing a pad at the same time as a tampon (feeling unsure about using a tampon? Check out this helpful post to find out how to put a tampon in for the first time to prevent leaks. Our reusable pads are a great choice– and better for the environment.
- Speaking of layers, why not rock a pair of our Leakproof Period Panties?
- Try to wear pads or tampons that are the correct thickness and can hold a larger amount of blood– some people with heavy flows opt for “Super” tampons and overnight pads to help maintain their daytime flows and not leak
- Consider experimenting with a menstrual cup– for most people, these hold more blood than the average pad or tampon, and are more sustainable than disposable tampons
- Consider telling your teacher that you’re on your period when you first arrive in class– they might be willing to let you duck out to use the washroom once or twice during your lesson to make sure you’re not leaking.
- While we’re telling people– tell your friends! Ask them to have your back and check to see if you’re leaking through your clothes, and lean on them to lend you a pad or tampon, or change of clothes, if they have itYou’d do the same for them, right?
- Wear darker-coloured clothing on heavy bleeding days. Even if you leak, it can be hidden better on black pants.
How To Prepare For Your Period: Beyond Pads or Tampons
If you know you have a heavy flow, you may want to be ready for your period whenever it comes. While the first two years of your period can be pretty irregular as your body gets used to the major influx of hormones happening every month. Try these tips to prepare for your period and to make sure getting your period is as stress-free as possible:
- Carry a Period Emergency Kit . (You can make your own or purchase one here.)
- Always stash some extra period supplies in your backpack or locker– a few extra pads or tampons can go a long way.
- Consider keeping a spare change of clothing in your locker too, so you’re always ready in case surprise leaks show up.
- Track your period using a period tracker app to mark when your period comes and goes. Don’t want to use an app? Not a problem– keep it old school with a simple paper calendar and use a symbol of your choice to mark bleeding days. On that note, be sure to track not just your actual period, but symptoms too– over time, you’ll likely notice a pattern and be able to tell when your period is coming.
Got a heavy flow and worried about leaking on your next period? First, consider doubling up on your period protection– match a reusable pad with a tampon, or a menstrual cup with period panties, for extra security during class. Next, tell your friends or a teacher (or both) that you’re on your period and are feeling a bit nervous. Hopefully, they’ll both have your back. Finally, wear dark-coloured clothing on heavy flow days– some leaks may not be preventable, but they can be hidden.
Heavy period flows are usually normal and nothing to worry about– most people experience heavy flow days during their cycle. However, if every period you have is extremely heavy, painful, and full of clots the size of a quarter or larger, it may be time to speak to a trusted adult, parent, the school nurse, or a doctor.
Finally, if you do leak, remember this: It is totally normal to leak when you get your period. It happens to everyone who menstruates. Don’t be embarrassed and feel bad– you’re not alone, it’s possible this won’t be the last time it happens, and it’s completely okay.
To download the guide in Canada, click here.