Help! My periods are really heavy!
It’s no joke. A heavy period can be really heavy going. If you’re already using the highest absorbency pads or tampons, and need to change every hour or so, then your periods can be defined as heavy.
Why do I have heavy periods?
• Your natural flow might just be heavy
• Use of the birth control method called an IUD or coil (intra-uterine device)
• Hormonal imbalance—when you have too little or no progesterone
• It could be growths that sometimes occur in the uterus called Fibroids or polyps
• Thyroid problems can affect your period flow—your thyroid is a gland in the neck that helps control many body functions
• Endometriosis—a condition where cells from the lining of the uterus travel and grow in other parts of the body
• Cigarette smoking
• Childbirth—many women have heavy flow during the first year or so after childbirth.
You don’t need to get treatment for all these conditions. If you’re concerned at all, it’s worth having a chat with your GP.
When should I go to the doctor?
If you normally have a heavy period, and you feel fine, then you don’t need to worry. It’s a good idea to go and see your doctor if…
• You feel tired all the time.
Very heavy periods could cause anaemia, which is where you don’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen around your body. Without enough red blood cells, you can feel physically drained all the time. If this is the case, ask your doctor to test for anaemia.
• You experience "flooding"
Flooding is when super absorbency pads or tampons leak within one hour.
• Your periods get heavy and change in consistency
If no medical reasons are found for heavy flow, the doctor might give you oral contraceptives, or something called cyclical progesterone therapy to regulate your period. Progesterone is the other important female hormone—like oestrogen.