Your Period Decides To Ghost You For A While
While its true that you can sometimes randomly miss a period for reasons like stress, you shouldnt just ignore a long-term missing period. Missing at least three menstrual cycles in a row qualifies as amenorrhea, the Mayo Clinic explains, and its usually very much worth bringing up to your doctor.
If your period randomly disappears and you have even the smallest chance of being pregnant, first and foremost, you should find out if you are, Alyssa Dweck, M.D., a gynecologist in Westchester, New York, and assistant clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, tells SELF. Sometimes people miss the obvious, she notes.
If youre not pregnant, talking to a doctor can help you make sure theres not another health issue going on, like PCOS. . Here are a few other things that could be making you miss your period:
Signs And Symptoms Of Heavy Periods:
Diagnosing heavy periods isnt always easy and women can often have the odd heavy one and then return to normal again. Below we outline some signs to look out for. If these are occurring more often than not, then it might suggest that your periods are heavy.
How much blood you lose:
The amount of blood loss per period is the obvious indicator of how heavy your period is. Periods are considered heavy if you lose more than 60 80ml per period . However, unless you have a tablespoon handy this might be hard to measure. Generally, if you are having to change your pad or tampon every hour for several consecutive hours then this is classed as a heavy period.
Flooding is a heavy surge of blood loss that often results in you soaking through your period product and onto your clothes or bedding. This shouldnt happen for an extended period of time or you can become anaemic very quickly. Frequent flooding suggests you have heavy periods.
Note make sure you are choosing the right period products for you. If the shape or size is wrong, you could leak as a consequence and confuse this for flooding.
Changing your period product during the night:
Generally having to get up during the night to change your period products can suggest you have a heavy flow.
During the night gravity means blood loss should be even slower, although flooding is more likely to occur when you stand up after a nights sleep if your periods are particularly heavy.
Length of your period:
A Period Thats Heavy On The First Day
Many women experience heavier bleeding on the first day of a period and lighter bleeding on the last days. A heavy flow that might get in the way of your normal activities is unusual.
Birth control changes
If you recently stopped using hormonal birth control, your periods may be very heavy in the first days as your cycle adjusts to the hormone changes.
Like birth control, medications you take may interfere with your cycle and lead to heavy bleeding on the first day of your period.
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What Is The Normal Menstrual Flow
In a randomly selected group of premenopausal women, the most common amount of menstrual flow was about two tablespoons in a whole period . However the amount of flow was highly variableit ranged from a spot to over two cups in one period! Women who are taller, have had children and are in . That means it is normal to soak one to seven normal-sized pads or tampons in a whole period.
What Is A Normal Menstrual Flow
The usual length of menstrual bleeding is 4 to 6 days. The most common amount of menstrual flow measured in a whole period is around two tablespoons , the equivalent of soaking around one to seven normal-sized pads or tampons over the course of one period. However, the amount of flow is highly variable, often depending on a persons stature, if theyve had children and age.
In most cases, the duration of a cycle will be the same during ones lifetime. However, it may be influenced by a number of factors such as significant weight changes, dieting, changes in exercise routines, travel, or other disruptions in your daily life.
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Does A Heavy Period Mean You Are More Fertile
There doesnt appear to be any link between the heaviness of your periods and your fertility level. However, many underlying causes of heavy bleeding can lead to an inability to get pregnant: issues like a hormone imbalance, uterine polyps or fibroids, endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease, so the reverse is actually more likely to be true. If you have any other symptoms besides a heavy period, it may be worth asking for further investigation if you are concerned.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Heavy Period
Heavy periods fall on a spectrum. For some women, it can simply be defined as having a heavier flow than usual, causing you to soak through pads or tampons at a more rapid pace. Menorrhagia, on the other hand, is a serious diagnosis and can result in significant blood loss. Per the Mayo Clinic, some signs to watch out for include:
- Soaking through one or more sanitary pads or tampons every hour for several consecutive hours
- Needing to use double sanitary protection to control your menstrual flow
- Needing to wake up to change sanitary protection during the night
- Bleeding for longer than a week
- Passing blood clots larger than a quarter
- Restricting daily activities due to heavy menstrual flow
- Symptoms of anemia, such as tiredness, fatigue or shortness of breath
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Why Period Leaks Are More Common At Night
Theres definitely an art to stopping period leaks at night, and heres why:
When youre asleep, naturally, youre not checking and changing your period products as often. Usually throughout the day, youd be able to put a stop to any leaks before they happen, but this is impossible when youre catching some ZZZs.
Its easier to avoid leaks in the day time because gravity does its job and catches period blood on your pad, tampon or whatever products youre using. But when youre asleep, blood can fall to the side or at least not where you want it to fall, causing leaks.
This, combined with shuffling around from one position to another when youre sleeping, means your pants are likely to move or bunch, which is a recipe for disaster if youre trying to prevent period leaks.
Do you have any tips to stop period leaks? Let us know in the comments!
It May Be Due To Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
PCOS is a condition where the ovaries produce an abnormally large amount of androgens, which are male sex hormones. Some women with PCOS will have small fluid-filled sacs, or cysts, form in the ovaries. These hormonal changes can prevent a woman from ovulating normally, which can lead to a host of unpleasant symptoms, including acne or oily skin, weight gain, and excess body hair. Other symptom of PCOS are irregular and missed periods. When women do get their period, it may be heavier or lighter than average. Talk with your doctor if youre experiencing these symptoms.
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Uterine Polyps Or Fibroids
In some cases, uterine polyps become cancerous, so it is important to see a doctor. Treatment for uterine polyps may involve:
- watchful waiting to assess whether they pose a risk of becoming malignant
- hormone therapy
- surgical options, such as a hysteroscopic polypectomy
Fibroids are noncancerous growths in or around the uterine lining. According to the , people may not always experience symptoms. In those who do, the symptoms can be hard to live with and may include:
- heavy bleeding
- a feeling of fullness in the abdomen
- frequent urination
Treatment options typically include medications, such as birth control, or surgery to remove the fibroids.
Why Is My Period Heavier At Night
Why do you need extra protection against period leaks at night? The obvious reason is that youve been sleeping for several hours, which is longer than you would ordinarily go without changing your pad or tampon. Furthermore, blood flows differently while youre lying down than when youre upright.
Gravity will cause your menstrual fluid to fall to one side of your underpants if you lie down for several hours. Additionally, if you move around a lot while sleeping, your knickers may bunch up and leak. This is where leak proof period panties such as Kotex comes to the rescue. These period panties have a broader front and back for maximum comfort and protection throughout the night. However, we all know that periods can come at inopportune times, and nighttime leaks are the last thing on your mind.
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You Bleed Through A Pad Or Tampon In An Hour Or Less Your Period Lasts Longer Than Seven Days Or Both
The medical term for an exceedingly heavy or long period is menorrhagia. Menorrhagia affects more than 10 million American women each year, or about one in five, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
These are basically periods that would fit right into a scary movie, but some people dont even realize this kind of bleeding isnt normal. One of the biggest problems is someone being so used to heavy bleeding that she underplays the amount, Lauren Streicher, M.D., an associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, tells SELF. Shell come in and say her periods arent too bad, then say she has to change her tampon every hour.
One huge sign you may be dealing with menorrhagia: Passing period clots larger than a quarter, according to the CDC. While thats technically a good sign that your bodys clotting mechanism is trying to prevent you from losing too much blood, it also indicates that youre still passing much more blood than you should, as SELF previously reported. Even if your clots arent that big, soaking through a tampon or pad in an hour or less is a tip-off that your bleeding is too heavy and intense. Bleeding for more than seven days is another period problem that points at menorrhagia, the CDC notes.
It Could Be A Sign Of Pregnancy
While one of the clear signs of pregnancy is missing your period, it turns out that some women continue to experience bleeding or a light version of their period when theyre pregnant, says fertility expert Janet Choi, M.D., medical director at CCRM in New York. In fact, shes had patients whove been struggling to get pregnant go out drinking after a light version of their period shows uponly to later learn that they really are pregnant.
Unusually light periods or spotting could also indicate an ectopic pregnancy , which can be very dangerous. When in doubt, take a pregnancy test.
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Why Is My Period Heavy At Night
First off, how much blood is considered to be heavier than normal? If you need to change your tampon or pad less than two hours or you pass blood clots the size of a quarter or larger, that is heavy bleeding. If you are experiencing this, its important to visit the doctor. Once there, they will ask questions such as:
- How often are you experiencing a heavy period at night?
- How is it affecting your everyday life?
- Are you experiencing any other symptoms like pelvic pain at night?
- Is your heavy period waking you up in the middle of the night?
- How long has this issue been going on?
These questions can help the doctor understand if your heavy period at night could be caused by hormonal imbalance, bleeding issue, genetic condition, or an underlying uterine disease like uterine fibroids.
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Uterine fibroids are small, non-cancerous growths inside the uterus. And while they may sound scary, theyre actually much more common than youd think. One study from the Birmingham Womens Hospital found that 70 percent of women will have at least one before the time they reach 50and one of the main symptoms of uterine fibroids is heavy bleeding, sometimes with blood clots or bleeding in between periods. It can be an issue that in some cases can incapacitate a woman for a couple of times a year, says Wysocki. And anything that incapacitates a woman from carrying out her regular functioning should be looked into. Sometimes the solution can be simple as going on birth control, getting an IUD, or taking another form of non-contraceptive medication.
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According to the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Foundation, up to 10 percent of women have PCOS and approximately 50 percent of those women dont even realize they have it. Women with PCOS can get a cluster of cysts on their ovaries that could lead to heavier periods. According to Wysocki, ovulation, which is irregular for women with PCOS, triggers the conditions for the lining of the uterus to shed. If that trigger is absent, the uterine lining continues to thicken and later causes much bloodier periods.
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Check If You Have Heavy Periods
You may have heavy periods if you:
- need to change your pad or tampon every 1 to 2 hours, or empty your menstrual cup more often than is recommended
- need to use 2 types of sanitary product together, such as a pad and a tampon
- have periods lasting more than 7 days
- pass blood clots larger than about 2.5cm
- bleed through to your clothes or bedding
- avoid daily activities, like exercise, or take time off work because of your periods
- feel tired or short of breath a lot
Very Heavy Menstrual Flow
When periods are very heavy or you are experiencing flooding or passing big clots you have what doctors call menorrhagia. The purpose of this article is to define normal and very heavy menstrual bleeding, to explain what causes heavy flow, and to show what you yourself can do in dealing with heavy flow.
This, and the article called Managing MenorrhagiaEffective Medical Treatments for your doctor or health care provider, are to help you avoid surgeries for heavy flow (
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