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When are periods considered heavy?

Updated: Mar 28, 2021

When are periods considered heavy?

Heavy period flow is a common complaint affecting up to one out of four women. Unfortunately, heavy periods can adversely affect the quality of life for many women. Their social activities and social life can be disrupted. Heavy flow confines affected women to their homes because they are feeling tired all the time, needing to change pads often or soiling their clothes.

Many women with heavy periods do not seek treatment because the symptom is a very subjective one — some women with heavy periods do not even think that they are bleeding excessively.

When should you seek help if you suspect your period flow may be excessive? The following are possible clues:

  • Having to change pads or tampons often

  • Having to get up at night to change pads or tampons

  • Needing “double protection” (stacking more than one sanitary napkins) to deal with period flow

  • Experiencing “accidents” (soiling underclothing or clothes) despite sanitary protection

  • Bleeding with blood clots

  • Anaemia (“low-blood”) symptoms - feeling easily tired, dizzy, short of breath

A proper examination may be necessary to investigate possible causes. Treatment will depend on the identified cause. In most cases, iron supplements may be prescribed in order to treat anaemia.

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