Health Center - Reproductive and Pelvic Health

No matter your age, the health of your reproductive and urinary organs—your pelvic organs—is important. If something goes wrong "down there," it affects your overall health and quality of life. Get answers to all of your most pressing questions and put an end to embarrassing symptoms.

Understanding Heavy Monthly Bleeding: The Latest on Lighter Periods

woman with heavy monthly bleedingYou have a period. Your sister has a period. Your friend has a period. But no two periods are created equal.

If your bleeding interferes with your daily activities, soaks through one or more pads or tampons every hour for several hours or causes you to use a tampon and a pad at the same time, you may be one of the millions of women who experience heavy monthly bleeding, also known as menorrhagia.

Living with heavy periods can be very frustrating. Heavy menstrual flow often interferes with daily tasks for several days each month and can make it difficult for you to manage routine activities like running errands, playing sports, working and going to school. It can also lead to anemia and fatigue.

Compounding these issues, nearly 40 percent of women with excessive flow said they feel trapped between experiencing heavy periods and settling for treatment options that are not acceptable to them, according to a recent survey conducted by Mom Central and HealthyWomen.

The survey also showed that heavy monthly bleeding takes a toll on women's emotions, time and pocketbooks:

  • Ninety-two percent of women with heavy monthly bleeding agreed that the condition frustrates them, and more than two-thirds (68 percent) said their periods control them.
  • Almost half of women with heavy periods said they have to change their tampons or pads seven to nine times a day during the day, and 76 percent have to wake up one to three times during the night.
  • Seventy-eight percent of women surveyed said they have had to replace soiled clothing or bedding because of their heavy monthly bleeding.
  • Notably, 18 percent of women with the condition said they have had to miss work due to heavy periods.

Because many women feel uncomfortable discussing their menstrual cycles, they may not recognize what's normal, what's heavy and what's somewhere in between. As a result, millions of women continue to suffer through heavy periods that make a significant impact on daily activities.