In a world where discussions about menstruation are often shrouded in stigma, a significant number of women unknowingly grapple with a condition that goes unnoticed – heavy menstrual bleeding or menorrhagia. Approximately one in four women experiences this clinical concern, marked by abnormally heavy or prolonged periods. While the topic may be uncomfortable, understanding the signs, consequences, and seeking timely help is crucial for women’s overall health.

Defining Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

In a standard menstrual cycle, a woman loses about 70ml to 80ml of fluid, equivalent to two double espressos, with half of it being blood. However, for those with menorrhagia, the loss can range from 160ml to 400ml, nearly a pint of liquid. Recognizing the symptoms is vital, including:

  1. Bleeding through pads or tampons every one to two hours.
  2. A period lasting more than seven days.
  3. Passing blood clots larger than 1 inch, approximately the size of a 10p coin.

The Unseen Dangers of Heavy Periods

While many women dismiss the severity of their menstrual flow, heavy bleeding can be indicative of underlying issues such as fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic infections, or bleeding disorders. Even a recently fitted intrauterine device (IUD) might temporarily trigger excessive bleeding. Disturbingly, two-thirds of women with menorrhagia face the risk of long-term iron deficiency anaemia.

Regular heavy bleeding depletes red blood cells, vital for transporting oxygen throughout the body. The resulting anaemia, often undetected, can lead to symptoms affecting daily life, including fatigue, irritability, dizziness, confusion, depression, headaches, brain fog, increased heart rate, and even weight loss.

Taking Control: Seeking Help for Heavy Periods

If you suspect you may be experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding, it’s crucial to consult your doctor promptly. Diagnosis might take several months, so early intervention is key. Armed with information, such as tracking blood loss using menstrual cups or noting sanitary item usage, can aid in diagnosis. Keeping a menstrual diary or using tracker apps can also assist, along with understanding any familial predisposition to the condition.

Doctors may prescribe medications like the contraceptive pill or tranexamic acid to manage heavy bleeding. In cases where an underlying issue like fibroids is identified, surgical options may be explored. For those grappling with anaemia, careful symptom tracking is essential, and iron supplements or a diet rich in iron-containing foods may be recommended.

The Urgent Need for Openness and Education

Despite the prevalence of heavy menstrual bleeding, many women endure unnecessary suffering due to delayed diagnosis and inadequate treatment. This condition significantly impacts personal life, education, sports participation, and work. The development of anaemia exacerbates the physical and mental toll, emphasizing the urgent need for open conversations about women’s health.

Education plays a pivotal role, not only in encouraging dialogue about normalizing periods but also in ensuring healthcare providers are well-versed in identifying signs and symptoms of menorrhagia. An open discussion and increased awareness are essential steps toward empowering women to seek timely intervention and treatment, preventing prolonged suffering and potential long-term health consequences.

In breaking the silence surrounding heavy menstrual bleeding, we pave the way for a healthier and more informed future for women’s reproductive health. It’s time to shed light on the hidden struggle and work collectively towards fostering an environment where every woman feels empowered to discuss and address her menstrual health without fear or shame.

Karla Ishak

As a dedicated Journalist at Clanfield Post, Karla Ishak injects passion into every story she covers. Known for her keen eye for human-interest narratives, Karla has a talent for weaving together compelling tales that resonate with our diverse audience. Through her lens, the news transforms into relatable stories that bridge the gap between events and the human experience.