“So, how are your periods? Heavy?”
This is my first question to women who come in reporting feeling tired whose blood tests reveal iron deficiency. The problem is many women don’t even realize their periods are crazy heavy. Not until they come to me complaining of tiredness and discover such terrible iron deficiency they’re having palpitations, feeling cold, having headaches and feeling terrible bone weariness.
A period should be between 10 and 60mls over the entire length of the period. That’s a maximum of 4 tablespoons! You shouldn’t have to change a tampon or pad due to saturation more than every 3 hours, you should never have a clot bigger than a 10c coin and periods should only last for 5-7 days. Not more.
So here are some things I wished these women knew.
If you suffer from heavy periods & are very tired, there is a likelihood you are iron deficient. Image: iStock.
1. It’s not normal to have to change a tampon every hour or two.
It’s not normal to worry about leaking through onto your clothes or sheets at nighttime. Despite the fact that heavy periods affects up to 20% of women at any time, it’s not just something women have to grin and bear. You should be chatting to your doctor about it.
2. Lots of things can cause heavy periods.
From problems with blood clotting to hormonal issues, problems in the uterus like fibroids (benign tumours, polyps and a condition called adenomyosis where endometriosis grows through the uterus itself), through to medications and even some herbal treatments.
Watch Dr Mansberg demonstrate how much blood the typical woman loses during a period. (Post continues after video.)
3. Despite this, in up to 80% of women with heavy bleeding, there’s no ‘problem’ found that could be causing it.
It’s just that some women have higher levels of certain chemicals that cause inflammation in the endometrium, like prostaglandins.
It’s not normal to have to change a tampon every hour or two. Image: iStock.
4. Regardless of the cause, you don’t have to put up with super heavy periods.
There are plenty of simple treatments out there that can ensure your periods are lighter and more manageable. And you don’t have to go on the pill or have a hysterectomy. These days treatments are quicker, cheaper and easier to handle than ever. Chat to your doctor for more information!
What are some ways you cope with heavy periods?