It’s difficult to define exactly what a heavy period is because it varies from woman to woman. Heavy for 1 woman may be normal for another.
Most women will lose less than 16 teaspoons of blood (80ml) during their period, with the average being around 6 to 8 teaspoons.
Heavy menstrual bleeding is defined as losing 80ml or more in each period, having periods that last longer than 7 days, or both.
But it’s not usually necessary to measure blood loss. Most women have a good idea of how much bleeding is normal for them during their period and can tell when this changes.
You might have menorrhagia if you:
- Have a menstrual flow that soaks through one or more pads or tampons every hour for several hours in a row.
- Need to double up on pads to control your menstrual flow.
- Need to change pads or tampons during the night.
- Have menstrual periods lasting more than 7 days.
- Have a menstrual flow with blood clots the size of a quarter or larger.
- Have a heavy menstrual flow that keeps you from doing the things you would do normally.
- Have constant pain in the lower part of the stomach during your periods.
- Are tired, lack energy, or are short of breath.
When to see a doctor:
Seek medical help before your next scheduled exam if you experience:
- Vaginal bleeding so heavy it soaks at least one pad or tampon an hour for more than two hours
- Bleeding between periods or irregular vaginal bleeding
- Any vaginal bleeding after menopause