You already know that no two periods are the same. So if you’re struggling with long or heavy periods, you’re probably confused about what’s normal and what’s not. You might even be scared that something serious could be going on.
At Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville, we understand the fear and frustration long, heavy periods bring. Our team of caring, experienced providers are here to help. Dr. Daniel McDyer and Dr. J. Suhrer work together to assist women in Jacksonville, Florida, who are struggling with long, heavy periods.
We’ve curated this guide to help you understand long periods, heavy flow, what’s normal, and what’s not. Read on to learn more.
What is a normal period?
Menstruation, or your period, comes each month as your body prepares for the possibility of conception. When a woman doesn’t conceive, the body sheds the uterine lining. The first day of bleeding marks the beginning of a new menstrual cycle.
On average, normal periods last as few as three days or as long as seven and normal menstrual cycles range from 21-35 days. With so much variety in what’s normal for periods, it’s important to note that “normal” is best defined as what is normal for you.
If your “normal” involves heavy or long periods, however, it could be time to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Other indicators that something may not be right include severe pain, bleeding in between periods, thinking you may be pregnant, or feeling sick after using tampons (toxic shock syndrome).
How long is too long?
Periods that last longer than a week are considered long periods. If you’re experiencing long periods, it’s important to talk to your doctor at Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville, since long periods can be caused by a wide range of conditions including:
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Injury or infection
- Changes in hormones or ovulation
- Certain medications (e.g., contraceptives, blood thinners)
- Endometriosis or adenomyosis
- Uterine fibroids or polyps
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Certain cancers
Dr. McDyer or Dr. Suhrer will discuss your medical history and conduct a physical exam and may order lab work or an ultrasound to discover the root cause of your long periods.
How heavy is too heavy?
During a normal period, women lose between 5 mL and 80 mL of blood. Losing more than 80 mL of blood during a period is considered heavy menstrual bleeding, or menorrhagia.
If you’re like most women, however, it’s hard to know if you’re bleeding falls in the normal range. After all, tampons and pads don’t come with graduated milliliter marks. To help understand what’s normal and what’s not, here are a few things to look for that may indicate your period is heavier than normal:
- You need to change your pad or tampon every hour or every few hours in a row
- You can’t get through the night without changing your tampon or pad
- Your flow is so heavy you can’t do activities that are part of your everyday routine
- You have multiple large clots (about the size of a grape or bigger)
- Your periods make you so tired you feel out of breath or without any energy
- You get a feeling of deep or heavy pain in your tummy or lower back
Without treatment, heavy bleeding can cause additional health problems, like anemia, low red blood count, or iron deficiency. These conditions can cause fatigue and interfere with your ability to concentrate, exercise, and enjoy your day-to-day activities.
Like long periods, heavy periods can be caused by a number of underlying conditions. To ensure you get the right treatment for your heavy period, it’s important to talk to Dr. McDyer or Dr. Suhrer so they can determine the underlying cause.
Ready to learn more about what’s normal and what’s not?
Are you struggling with long periods or a heavy flow? Let the experienced and caring specialists at Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville help. Contact the office today to schedule a consultation or send us a message online now.