In order to decide whether the bleeding you are experiencing is normal or abnormal, a good starting point is understanding the range of normal bleeding. Learning how to track your periods, get an idea of how much blood loss is occurring, and knowing what to do if your period changes, are all important parts of maintaining menstrual health.
There is a range of normal bleeding – some women have short, light periods and others have longer, heavy periods.
Normal menstrual bleeding has the following features:
Heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) is characterized by experiencing any of the following:
You can learn about the causes of HMB here.
If you are concerned about your menstrual bleeding, or other bleeding tendencies, you can use the self-administered bleeding assessment tool (Self-BAT) available at the Let’s Talk Period website (www.letstalkperiod.ca). This tool is designed to evaluate menstrual and other bleeding tendencies and tell you if you should be screened for a bleeding disorder.
Measuring the amount of blood lost via menstruation is not that easy, since it is hard to tell how much blood has been absorbed by a pad or tampon. Different products have different absorbencies, and each woman has a different perspective on when a tampon or pad needs to be changed. Using a menstrual cup is one way of getting an accurate measurement of blood loss. Alternatively, you can use this ‘Pictorial Blood Assessment Chart‘ which helps identify whether your blood loss is excessive.
Changes in your period can be a sign of a problem, and most changes are worth seeing a doctor about. Some changes that should be investigated include: