Normal Period vs. Heavy Period

There are no set criteria for determining exactly whether your menstrual period is normal, as every woman is different. However, here's a guide to help you determine when it might be time to chat with your doctor.

Normal Period

  • Your usual blood loss for each period is between 20-60 ml (about 4-12 teaspoons)
  • Bleeding occurs about every 24-31 days
  • Bleeding lasts 4-7 days
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Heavy Period

  • Your bleeding lasts more than 7 days per cycle
  • Bleeding is so severe that a regular sanitary pad or tampon must be changed every 1-2 hours
  • Your period causes restriction of activities, or even stops you from working
  • You experience severe stomach cramping and loose bowel motions
  • You have missed days at work, or an important family or social event due to heavy bleeding

The Impact of Heavy Periods

Physical Effects

The physical effects of heavy menstrual bleeding may include:

  • Periods that last more than 7 days and are bothersome

  • Heavy bleeding that requires doubling up on sanitary protection or changing protection every 1-2 hours

  • Large blood clots

  • Stomach cramps

  • Fatigue or extreme tiredness

  • Anaemia

  • Nausea


Social Effects

Heavy menstrual bleeding is more than just a physical condition; women are often forced to plan their lives around their heavy periods. Research has shown that:

  • More than 60% have had to miss social or athletic events 2

  • About 80% avoid sexual activities 3

  • One-third have been forced to miss work 2


Emotional Effects

Heavy menstrual bleeding can disrupt the lives of women in other ways as well, and can even lead to:

  • Depression

  • Moodiness

  • Anxiety

  • Reduced confidence or self-esteem



Speak to your doctor!

If you can identify with any of these symptoms your doctor can help you to choose the right treatment option for you. Talking with your doctor will bring you one step closer to gaining relief from heavy periods and regaining control of your life. Remember hysterectomy is not necessarily the answer – it is only recommended if less invasive options, such as endometrial ablation, are inappropriate or unsuitable. 1



Bleeding Severity*

Pads

Light
Medium
Heavy

Tampons

Tampon Light Flow
Tampon Medium Flow
Tampon Heavy Flow

* Based on regular sanitary pad or tampon changes as per the manufacturer's recommendations.

1. The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, Heavy Menstrual Bleeding Clinical Care Standards, October 2017. 2. Cooper J, Gimpelson R, Laberge P, et al. A Randomized, Multicenter Trial of Safety and Efficacy of the NovaSure® System in the Treatment of menorrhagia.J Am Assoc Gynecol Laparosc. 2002;9(4):418-428. 3. National Women’s Health Resource Center. Survey of Women Who Experience Heavy Menstrual Bleeding. Hologic data on file; 2005.