How much blood is too much?

Ever wondered the amount of normal menstrual blood loss a woman will experience during her period?

I am sure every woman at some point in her life has wondered how much blood she actually loses during her menstrual period and if it is too much blood loss. Those pad commercials with the blue liquid aren’t exactly the most helpful either! The amount of blood lost during menstruation may be less than you think. The average premenopausal woman will lose between 10 to 35 ml of period blood per period, and “the usual length of menstrual bleeding is four to six days.” (Dr. Jerilynn C. Prior, Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research, 2013) Period blood may vary in colour, brown menstrual blood near the beginning or end of your period is normal. Blood loss during menstruation can vary among different women depending on certain factors. For example, “women who are taller, have had children and are in perimenopause have the heaviest flow.” (Dr. Jerilynn C. Prior, Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research, 2013) Perimenopause occurs shortly before the stage of menopause, and during this time approximately 25% of women will have at least one heavy period.

So what happens if you think you are bleeding a lot during your period?

Very heavy menstrual bleeding or passing period blood clots, which is referred to as Menorrhagia, is when a woman’s period flow is more than 80 ml per menstrual period. Many women can experience heavy periods, and too much bleeding during her period. However, it is not always easy to determine exactly what causes a woman to have Menorrhagia. “Heavy flow is most common in the teens and in perimenopause—both are times of the lifecycle when estrogen levels tend to be higher and progesterone levels to be lower.” (Dr. Jerilynn C. Prior, Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research, 2013) In order to help determine if you have heavy menstrual bleeding, you can use the following as a guideline; one soaked, normal-sized sanitary product holds about 5 ml of blood, and then keep a record of how many normal-sized sanitary products you soak a day. “Very heavy menstrual bleeding means soaking 12 or more regular sanitary products in one period.” (Dr. Jerilynn C. Prior, Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research, 2013)

What can you do if you have heavy menstrual bleeding?

Women who experience Menorrhagia can take some simple steps to help ease the effects of a heavy period.

Some tips to keep in mind!

Increase Your Iron Intake from Foods

Some examples of high iron foods are: red meat, liver, egg yolks, deep green vegetables and dried fruits like raisins and prunes. These types of foods can help increase your iron intake!

Increase Salty Fluids and Drink More

If blood volume is low in your body you may feel dizzy, to help that “drink more and increase the salty fluids you drink such as tomato or other vegetable juices or salty broths (like bouillon).” (Dr. Jerilynn C. Prior, Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research, 2013)

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