Heavy flow, or menorrhagia, is commonly defined as the loss of 80 ml of blood in a single period. If you’ve had to change your pad or tampon every hour, change a pad in the middle of the night or dealt with clots that are straight up alarming, you know the challenges of heavy flow. It can be a total pain, but it can be managed and you have options to make things better.
Go See Your Doctor
Your doctor can help you rule out any problems or conditions that might be causing the crimson tidalwave. Even with a clean bill of health, heavy flow might mean that you are more susceptible to certain conditions, like iron deficiency anemia. Furthermore, your doctor might be able to help you determine if medications to slow your flow, like hormonal birth control, are right for you.
Consider A Cup
A menstrual cup can be a great choice for managing heavy flow. The DivaCup holds 30 ml of fluid, meaning that it is the equivalent of six regular tampons. This means fewer trips to switch out a soaked tampon or pad, plus it’s reusable. If you’re anxious about leaks during a busy day, consider using a pantyliner or pair of period underwear to ensure peace of mind.
If using internal menstrual protection is a dealbreaker for you, our Performa pads are a great option - they’re three times as absorbent as a similarly sized disposable product. They’re also WAY more comfortable, in our opinion. (Call us biased.)
Pump Your Iron
With heavy flow, iron deficiency anemia is a real possibility. Consider ways to increase the iron in your diet. Choosing foods rich in iron, like lentils, tofu and green leafy vegetables, can help you replenish what you’ve lost. One great tool we’ve found is Lucky Iron Fish, a cooking tool that can help you increase the iron in your everyday meals. By adding the Lucky Iron Fish to soups, stews and even your water, you can help ensure you are getting sufficient iron to keep you strong. Remember to pair your iron consumption with foods rich in Vitamin C to ensure optimal absorption.
Ditch Period Shame
This should go without saying, but heavy flow is just that - heavy flow. An estimated one in four menstruators will deal with it during their lives, putting heavy flow firmly in the “people have it but don’t talk about it” camp. You don’t have to apologize for it. If you have a leak, don’t let anyone make you feel bad. If you need to spend some time in self-care mode, make the time and shed the guilt. Menstruation is normal and healthy; you don’t need to explain your body to anyone.
If you have heavy periods, don’t sweat it. Use the tools available to you and don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself - it’s self-care!
Cover image from Brett Jordan.