Normal menstrual flow lasts about 2-4 days. It produces a total blood loss of 30 – 80 ml (about 2 – 8 tablespoons) and occurs normally every 21-28 days. The amount of blood lost should be completely manageable with the typical hygiene products found on today’s drug store shelves. Keep track of the number of pads or tampons used over time so that the amount of bleeding can be determined. If one is getting up to change feminine products every half hour, or so, that is definitely considered abnormal.
Medically, heavy periods (or menorrhagia) are defined as those that involve passage of more than three ounces of blood; in a normal period, about an ounce of blood is expelled. Practically speaking, since most women don't have a way to measure their blood flow, heavy periods are defined as those that require the use of tampons and pads at the same time; involve passing clots; require frequent changing of protection – for instance, every couple of hours; or last longer than seven days. Other symptoms include the need to wake during the night to change protection, fatigue, and anemia in more severe cases.
There are many potential causes of menorrhagia, including:
The treatment you'll receive will depend on the cause of your bleeding and may include:
You may also be prescribed an iron supplement to avoid anemia until your bleeding is controlled.
It is highly recommended to talk to contact your healthcare provider if you have signs of needing to use double sanitary protection or changing during the night, periods that have been heavy or prolonged for 3+ cycles or bleeding that includes large blood clots. Look for patterns and begin journaling when your symptoms started, when they ended and what attempts have been made to help alleviate them. If you are experiencing symptoms of heavy bleeding, please do not delay getting an exam just because you are bleeding. Immediately contact Dr. Tristan Bickman if:
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