There are still some taboo’s that us women often don’t discuss with our friends or health professionals. Today I am addressing the issue of heavy periods and the treatments that are readily available when women do seek help.
Earlier this year I went to my GP with abnormal bleeding. Truth be told I had put up with heavy periods for a few years. I didn’t think it was important enough despite the growing impact it was having on my life. Life was busy, I’ve three children and I am self-employed and I didn’t make my health a priority.
Yet I am not alone, as more than 1 in 5 women suffer from heavy periods. However, despite this, 62% of women affected don’t realise that heavy periods are a common medical condition and that there are treatment options available that can make life better. Thankfully Wear White Again are helping educate and inform women on the heavy period treatments available.
Before I confronted the issue I had not spoken to anyone about it, instead I was getting myself worked up and trying to hide how much it was affecting me. What surprised me, was how my heavy periods crept up on me. As a teen and even after having my three children my periods had always been light. They lasted three days and were not heavy.
However, over the past few years, they became heavier and they also lasted longer. It got to the point that I wouldn’t leave the house without tampons and it also impacted on what I would wear. On more than one occasion I literally flooded, I felt the blood gushing out and had to completely change my outfit. I would also need to get up in the night to change. Additionally, I was having cramps in my lower stomach and I felt very tired and bloated. These were all clear signs of heavy periods, but I still didn’t really make the connection. Or stop long enough to think about it I guess.
A heavy period can be categorised as:
• bleeding that lasts more than 7 days per cycle
• bleeding so severe that a sanitary pad or tampon must be changed every hour for several hours in a row
• heavy flow that keeps you from your normal activities, or even stops you from working
• bleeding with large blood clots
• feeling very tired or weak and often feeling depressed or moody
• constant pain in the lower part of your stomach during your cycle
One weekend I realised enough was enough after passing two big blood clots. I thought to myself this really isn’t normal and with that, I made an appointment to see my GP. I also knew that my implant was out of date and that my smear was a little overdue. I had put it all off because I didn’t know where to start or how to open up the conversations. My periods were all over the place and I had lost knowing my monthly cycle. I made an appointment for when I could go to the GP in peace (childless in other words) and explained what had been going on.
The first thing I noted was that my GP was listening and she did not dismiss my worries. In fact she immediately gave me a prescription to stop the bleeding which had been going on for two weeks. I was also having regular spotting which we discussed and I was asked to come back the following week for an internal and to have my smear. This isn’t always needed but in my case was.
One week later I was back and had the smear, the GP had some concerns which prompted me to be on the urgent referral pathway to a specialist at the hospital. Next, I found myself having a failed hysteroscopy and then another hysteroscopy with a general anaesthetic. Each of my appointments came through very quickly.
On the day of my general anaesthetic, I met the gynaecologist who was treating me for the erosion and he actually addressed my heavy periods. He reassured me that he didn’t think I had anything sinister going on. He then went on to say he thought my problems were down to heavy periods and we discussed the various treatment options, including having the coil fitted, which is what I opted for. You can learn more about the treatment options available for heavy periods on the Wear White Again website (
Since I had my treatment life has improved. Firstly my biopsies came back clear of cancer but it did show that I had a thickened uterine lining, the coil would also help reduce this. Three months on and my periods are back to being almost non-existent I can wear what I like and have no cramping. This also prompted me to overhaul other areas of my life. I have found a gym that I really enjoy and not only have I lost a stone in weight but I am fitter, stronger and healthier than I have been in many years.
Therefore I urge women to talk about heavy periods. I want women to recognise them for the medical condition that they are and I want women to ditch the embarrassment and treat it like you would any other health concern because getting treatment is giving you your freedom back. If you are suffering from heavy periods, pick up the phone and make the first call in taking back control. The Talking Heavy Periods Guide on the Wear White Again (here) shares some of the words and phrases we feel most comfortable using to describe periods, and how best to talk to our loved ones or GP about heavy periods.
Disclosure: I am working with We Wear White to raise awareness and have been compensated for the post but the experiences shared are all mine.