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Heavy Menstrual Bleeding/Periods - Overview

Heavy menstrual bleeding is very common, and may just be normal for you. If this affects your everyday life, there are treatments that can help.

How can I tell if I have heavy periods?

  • You need to change your tampon or pad every 1 to 2 hours, or need to empty your menstrual cup more often than recommended.
  • You need to use multiple sanitary products at once, for example, both a tampon and a pad.
  • Your periods last longer than 7 days.
  • If you pass large blood clots (over 2.5cm)
  • If you bleed through your clothes or beeding.
  • If you have to avoid daily activities, exercises or take time off work.
  • If you feel tired or short of breath a lot.

It can be normal to have heavy menstrual bleeding, especially when you just start your periods, after pregnancy or during menopause.

When should I see a specialist?

Although heavy bleeding can be normal, it's important to seek specialist help if:
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding affects your everyday life
  • You've had heavy periods for a long time
  • You have severe pain during your periods
  • You bleed after sex or in between periods
  • You have additional symptoms such as pain when going to the toilet or during sexual intercourse
Find out more about Postmenopausal Bleeding:
CausesTreatmentsHeavy Menstrual Bleeding Specialists
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Heavy Menstrual Bleeding Causes:

It can be normal to have heavy periods, in addition they can sometimes be caused by:
  • Certain medicines and treatments, such as anticoagulant medicines and chemotherapy.
  • Stress and depression
  • Conditions affecting your uterus, ovaries or hormones, including polycistic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and fibroids.
  • Heavy bleeding can be a sign of womb cancer, but this is very rare.

How can Heavy Periods be Treated?

Treatments can include:
  • Contraception - The combined contraceptive pill or an intrauterine system (IUS)
  • Medicine to reduce the bleeding - tranexamic acid
  • Anti-inflammatory painkillers, e.g. mefenamic acid or naproxen - these are prescription only.
  • You should also have a blood test to check for iron deficiency anaemia.
Your specialist will be able to recommend more specific treatment if your bleeding is caused by a particular issue.

Heavy Menstrual Bleeding - Specialists

Mr Yousri Affifi

Mr Yousri Affifi

Consultant Gynaecologist

Mr Y. Afifi has over 25 years of experience in specialised laparoscopic and reproductive surgeries.

He is the director of the Birmingham Endometriosis Centre and lead consultant of the reproductive surgery unit in Birmingham Women’s Hospital.

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Mrs Ruchira Singh

Mrs Ruchira Singh

Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

Ruchira is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist with her NHS practice based at Birmingham Women's Hospital in Edgbaston. She is the Clinical Director of Gynaecology at her NHS Trust.

Ruchira is a reviewer for European Journal of Obstetrics and gynaecology. She is also a Senior clinical examiner and Honorary lecturer for University of Birmingham.

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Dr Mamta Pathak

Dr Mamta Pathak

Consultant Gynaecologist

Dr Mamta specialises in office Gynaecology consultations and procedures, having helped to establish and develop the office Gynaecology department in the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals.

Office Gynaecological procedures have made a significant clinical impact by removing the need for general anaesthesia, thereby allowing for a quick recovery following treatment.

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Dr Pallavi Latthe

Dr Pallavi Latthe

Consultant Gynaecologist and subspecialist Urogynaecologist

Dr Pallavi is an accredited subspecialist in urogynaecology and a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the Birmingham Women’s NHS Foundation Trust.

She is the clinical lead for Paediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology in the Trust.

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