Go with the flow: your period explained
From spotting to clots, here are some answers to a few common questions about ‘flow’...
Is it normal for flow to change colour?
Yes. The colour can change from time to time. Menstrual blood that’s passed to the outside shortly after leaving the uterus is brighter red than the blood that takes longer to reach the outside. So you shouldn’t worry if your period blood isn’t always bright red.
How much blood will I lose during my period and how fast does it flow?
Well, the average is about two ounces, or four tablespoons. This could range from less than one ounce to a few ounces. Some girls think that the blood gushes out of them during their period. In reality, the rate is like a slowly dripping faucet, one drop at a time.
Do heavy flow periods mean there’s something wrong?
Not necessarily. Some girls always have a heavy period—that's a normal period for them. Heavy periods could happen when an IUD (intra-uterine device) is used, or if a woman stops using birth control pills. Heavy periods are also common the year or so after childbirth and in older women as they approach menopause.
Why do some girls have spotting between periods?
Spotting refers to light bleeding for a day or two in the middle of the menstruation cycle. It’s believed to be because the woman has a temporary drop of oestrogen that happens during ovulation. Spotting in the middle of the menstruation cycle (mid-cycle spotting) is mostly normal, but if you are in any way concerned, do go to see your doctor.
What are clots and why do girls get them?
Menstrual blood can ‘clot’ in the uterus and these clots dissolve before passing to the vagina. But for some women, the clots pass through the cervical opening to the vagina without dissolving. If you wear a tampon, the clots will either adhere to or be absorbed by the tampon and removed when you take the tampon out.