What is a heavy period?

Heavy periods (otherwise known as Menorrhagia) are defined by having substantial blood loss every single month. If you’re one of the women who have this, then you’re not alone, as 1 in 3 women say they experience this.

It can affect you both physically and emotionally, but the good news is, it's very unlikely to be anything more serious. Saying that, if you notice your periods are heavier than usual or they’re disrupting your daily life, it may be a good idea to discuss this with your doctor.

Your doctor might ask you to keep a menstrual diary where you'll need to jot down how long your periods last, how often you change your protection, any changes to your flow and the impact it’s having on your daily routine.

Signs of a heavy period:

  • You bleed through your clothes or onto your bed
  • You call in sick to school, college or work
  • You bleed for more than 10 days
  • You find you need to change the highest absorbency tampon/pad every two hours
  • You're anaemic – 2 out of every 3 women with heavy periods develop this condition
  • You pass large blood clots


As we’ve said, heavy periods are not always a sign that something is wrong. Your fluctuating hormones are the main culprit for heavy periods when you first start having periods and again, years later, when they come to an end approaching menopause.

  • The coil (the intrauterine contraceptive device or IUD), although confusingly research has shown that an IUD, containing the hormone ‘levonorgestrel’ can actually benefit some women who suffer from heavy periods as well.
  • Fibroids and polyps in the uterus can sometimes cause heavy periods.
  • Endometriosis, sometimes if you suffer from this, you'll also experience heavy periods.