This post has been sponsored by Hologic.
Too forward? None of my business? Eww, gross? If any of those are your response to the title of this post, then I apologize. However, I’m giving you fair warning that this post is all about periods—mine, yours, my grandma’s. Why? Because it’s time to unleash the truth about what we’re going through each month.
Most women experience a period every month, but a lot of us—1 in 5, in fact, suffer from heavy periods that dramatically affect our health, confidence, and quality of life.1
What is AUB?
The medical term for heavy periods is abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) – yup, it is a legitimate medical condition that can be treated. It not only keeps women from living their lives to the fullest, but also impacts their health and wellbeing by causing nausea, cramping and in some cases, anemia.1 So if you’re changing your pad or tampon every hour, notice you are passing clots the size of a quarter or larger, or have to get up and change your pad in the middle of the night, then you may be experiencing AUB.1
It’s definitely a struggle to make the most of your day when it feels like your body is being drained of its life source. For me, there are at least 2 days a month when I can barely leave the house. Between the excessive trips to the bathroom and debilitating cramps, venturing away from my couch and heating pad is a miserable experience. The rest of my cycle, while lighter in flow, is still quite painful.
The most important takeaway, heavy periods are not normal, and most importantly they can be treated. Like many women, I’m guilty of feeling like I “just have to live with it,” but we should all feel empowered to talk to our doctor about treatment options.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heavy menstrual bleeding. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/blooddisorders/ women/menorrhagia.html. Accessed April 07, 2017
A heavy flow is totally normal.
While common, heavy periods do not have to be any woman’s version of normal, and could be indicative of a treatable gynecological condition, like AUB. So, if your period is so heavy that you’re doubling up on hygiene products or missing work or time with friends and family, you should talk to your doctor about your options.
Birth control / IUD are the only ways to regulate your period.
False. Hormones are only one method for managing your period. For women experiencing heavy or painful periods and who are done childbearing, they can explore minimally invasive options like endometrial ablation, which removes the lining of the uterus to control or eliminate menstrual bleeding.1 For women whose bleeding is caused by fibroids, they can explore hysteroscopic myomectomy, a minimally invasive way to remove fibroids and polyps.1 Be sure to ask your doctor about the options available to you.
Women should lose a lot of blood during their period .
Nope. The average amount of blood loss should actually be 2-3 tablespoons.1 Anything more than that should provoke a visit to your OBGYN as you may be experiencing AUB. A simpler way to understand how much you should bleed – if you are changing your pad/tampon every hour, that is too much.
Some women have periods that last 14 days.
True. A recent survey showed that on average, women with AUB experience their period and period symptoms for 14 days a month.2 Can we please agree that having your period for 2 weeks straight is ridiculous? Bleeding for half of the month is certainly not the way to live your best life.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heavy menstrual bleeding. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/blooddisorders/women/menorrhagia.html. Accessed July 05, 2017.
- Hologic, Inc. Data on File; AUB Patient Journey Research, conducted January 2017. Survey of 1,003 women who self-identified as currently or recently experiencing heavy bleeding with need to change feminine hygiene product every hour or more.
Let’s Change the Cycle!
Being our own advocate is the first step to taking control of your heavy periods, and Change the Cycle is a platform dedicated to helping women with heavy periods make connections and find solutions. If you are experiencing heavy periods, talk to your doctor, and be insistent if necessary. Visit Change the Cycle and take their symptom checker quiz, view potential treatment options, and download the doctor discussion guide.
It’s time for the days of suffering in silence to come to an end. Your quality of life should not be determined by an angry womb.
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Hologic, Inc. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Hologic.