by Sharan Abdul-Rahman, MD
    on Mar 11th, 2019

The following is a true story..


She was going to work everyday, but she was tired. She thought her fatigue was due to lack of sleep, but when she became short of breath while walking up stairs, she started to worry that something might be wrong. The symptoms worsened. She eventually went to the ER,

She was severely anemic due to years of excessive menstrual bleeding. She was admitted to the hospital and received multiple blood transfusions.

When asked if her GYN had ever asked her about her periods, she said yes. Her GYH would ask if her periods were normal. She would answer yes, because it was NORMAL for her to double up, to totally saturate and to bleed through pads.


Are your  periods too heavy? The following are ways to answer this question:


    1. Guess.  Like the woman mentioned above, without a frame of reference, you can guess wrong and think what is terribly excessive is normal.
    2. Ask another woman. This can be awkward. However, how would you know if she knew what was considered abnormal.
    3. Count the number of days of bleeding. A normal flow is considered to last no more than 7 days. However, it is possible to have excessive bleeindg esperically during the first 2-3 days and still have a period that is last less than 7 days.
    4. Count your pads/ tampons.  If you need to change every 1-2 hours , you may have excessive bleeding. However how often you need to change will depend on the absorbency of your tampons/pads and whether you can financially afford to change as often as needed.
    5. Check to see if you're anemic. Good idea. For otherwise healthy women, the most common cause of anemia is heavy menstrual bleeding. However, you don't want to wait until you are sick and symptomatic to learn that you're bleeding too much.
    6. Use a Diva cup. The Diva cup has markings so that you can measure your menstrual flow.  A normal  menstrual flow (for an entire period) is considered to be < 80 ml. But what if you are passing blood clots, how do you quantify the loss?
    7. Use a blood loss assessment chart. Based on the size of the blood stain on your pads and/or tampons and the number and size of the blood clots, using the "menstrual pictogram" you can estimate blood loss. These charts are readily available online.
    8. See a GYN. If you don't have a GYN or you want a second opinion, schedule a consultation online with Dr. Rahman at www.doctorrahman.com.




Author Sharan Abdul-Rahman, MD

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