How much blood loss is “normal”?
The average blood loss during periods depends on a lot of factors - your age, underlying conditions and if you’re on hormonal birth control. Because the range of “normal” blood loss is so broad, some people may experience periods that are lighter or heavier than typical.
If you're not feeling nausea, excessive cramps, or other adverse effects, the quantity of blood loss you're experiencing is probably healthy. However, depending on your age and if you're on hormonal birth control, there is a standard amount of blood loss.
- For adults - AIt's normal for 5 to 80 ml (up to 6 tablespoons) of menstrual fluid to leave your body during the course of your period. You may also notice some lumps or clots in your menstrual fluid during the heaviest days of your monthly cycle.
- For adolescents - Adolescent periods can be as heavy as 80 ml every period, although they are usually shorter. Periods can vary widely in volume, duration, and frequency around the time of menarche, and for a few years following your first period, it's normal for your cycles to be a little erratic.
- For people on hormonal birth control - When using hormonal birth control, many people report lighter bleeding, and some don't bleed at all. The lining of your uterus does not thicken as much while you are on hormonal birth control as it does when you are not on it.
So, how much is less bleeding?
If your monthly blood loss is less than 30 ml, you probably have a light period, but if that isn't your norm, it might indicate an underlying problem.
The following are some of the most prevalent reasons for unusually mild menstruation:
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Thyroid issues
- Heavy exercise
- Excessive stress
- Malnutrition or severe eating disorders
And, what’s considered heavy bleeding?
According to some experts, a heavy period can be as much as 80 ml (5.5 tablespoons) or more in some cases. For many women, heavy bleeding, also known as menorrhagia, is common, and treatment isn't usually required, but if your bleeding becomes a problem in your everyday life and you start to notice other symptoms along with it, it’s best to contact your healthcare provider.
Can you tell how much blood you’re losing during your period?
Before we go into figuring out how much blood you’re losing, it’s important to understand that all of it isn’t blood. During your period, a blend of blood and a variety of other components, such as mucus and uterine tissues, emerges. In reality, according to a 1985 research artcle, just 36% of the monthly flow is blood, with the remainder consisting of other substances.
While it's not always accurate, based on the type of period product you use, you can obtain a decent approximation of your overall blood loss.
- If you use pads, tampons or period underwear - Pads, tampons and period underwear make the measurement of your flow more difficult since they absorb the fluids. You'll need to figure out the item's totally soaked capacity first, and then, as you replace it, keep an eye on how full it is and how often you really change it. Keep track of this data for the next three or four periods so you can calculate your average overall blood loss.
- If you use cups or discs - Menstrual cups or discs make quantifying your blood loss easier since they collect the fluid rather than absorb it, like pads or tampons. Cups usually carry 30 to 60 ml at a time, and some, like the Carmesi Menstrual Cup, even feature volume marks to help you keep track of how much you're bleeding. Because there are no markings on discs, you'll have to check the package or the internet to determine how much space they hold. Keep track of how much fluid is in your cup or disc every time you take it out during your period, and do it for the next three to four cycles to figure out your typical flow.
What can cause heavy bleeding during periods?
If you continuously bleed more than 80 ml of fluid every month, your flow is likely to be heavy, and, while this might simply be your body's natural state, it could also signal one of the following underlying health conditions or pharmaceutical side effects.
- PCOS - PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects how your ovaries function and, weight gain, undesirable hair growth, and irregular periods are all possible side effects.
- Endometriosis - Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue that is supposed to develop inside your uterus instead grows outside of it. This disease can cause painful intercourse, pelvic pain, and excessive or irregular bleeding.
- PID - Pelvic inflammatory illness is a kind of infection that affects the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes, causing severe stomach ache, difficult urination, and irregular bleeding.
- Fibroids - Fibroids are noncancerous tumours that develop in the uterine muscles, and heavy bleeding, stomach and lower back pain are all possible side effects.
- IUD - An IUD is a contraceptive device that is put inside your uterus, and you may have heavy bleeding, backache, and cramping in the days following implantation. Also, for the first six months after getting it put inside, you may have heavier and longer periods.
- Adenomyosis - Adenomyosis is a disorder in which uterine tissue becomes embedded in the uterine walls rather than shedding, resulting in painful sex, big blood clots, pelvic pain, and long, heavy periods.
- Polyps - These noncancerous growths can form in the lining of your uterus or cervix, impeding the contraction of your uterine muscles. This stops the uterine lining from shedding properly, which can result in irregular periods or even bleeding between periods.
- Hypothyroidism - An underactive thyroid produces insufficient hormones, resulting in an imbalance, which can result in decreased cold tolerance, weight gain, and irregular periods.
- Some medications - Some medications can have an effect on your period and sometimes make it heavier or lighter than usual.
When should you consult a doctor regarding your flow?
You know your flow the best, and so, if you notice any variations in your regular menstrual cycle, talk to your doctor. Your doctor will be the best person to identify and treat the underlying reason if you suspect you are suffering from menorrhagia.
If an underlying reason is suspected, they will work with you to identify your symptoms and establish a treatment plan that is specific to your requirements.