Ask Sofia: How do I know if my period is too heavy?
Over the course of your lifetime, your period will change—and they can get especially heavy early on, after pregnancy or breastfeeding, and even during menopause. However, if your period is starting to feel like it is always heavy, then it’s likely time to see your doctor.
Typically, heavy bleeding is defined by the need to change a tampon or pad after less than two hours or if you pass clots the size of a quarter or larger. If you need to double up on menstrual products, if your periods last more than a week, if you’re bleeding through your clothes, or if your periods continue to impact and disrupt your life, these are also signs that you should make an appointment.
What causes heavy periods? They can be the result of conditions such as fibroids, endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome. Heavy periods can also relate back to hormones and thyroid issues. In addition, they can be sparked by stress and depression or significant life changes. Some medications may also influence the heaviness of your flow. Your doctor can talk about what’s going on, perform blood or other diagnostic tests, and help you get to the bottom of the issue.
“No one wants to have a heavy period every month. They are uncomfortable and inconvenient and can be really frustrating to deal with,” said Dr. Amy Hammers. “We want to make sure the blood loss isn’t causing anemia and help you find the best option for mitigating and managing period pain.”