No one knows your menstrual cycle better than you, and therefore you know what is normal for you and what isn’t. When things seem irregular, it can lead to concern or panic.

Some women experience a heavier flow at the start of their period and then it tapers off. Others have a light cycle, and many have a heavy flow for four days or more. If you’ve noticed that your cycle tends to be on the heavier side, there could be some health issues behind it.

A woman is thought to have a heavy flow (menorrhagia) if she loses at least 60 ml of blood per cycle. That means she may be soaking her pad or tampon every 1 to 2 hours through the majority of her cycle week. You may also experience clotting or excess leaks.

Think about how often you change your pad/tampon and its fullness. If you’ve noticed that your period has become heavier or has always been that way, then it may be time to get checked out. This video from HealthiNation covers seven causes for a heavy flow.

  1. Fibroids

    Uterine fibroid growths can cause heavy bleeding as well as clots. Some women may not notice the effects until they are in their mid thirties or older. Fibroids can also cause periods to be longer than usual and induce anemia.

  2. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

    Hormonal imbalances can lead to irregularities with ovulation, as is the case with PCOS. The uterus sheds its lining during menstruation after pregnancy does not occur.

    But when PCOS messes with ovulation (such as an egg not being released), that imbalance can cause an extra heavy shedding during menstruation because of waste buildup. If you have other symptoms of PCOS such as weight gain or body hair growth, speak with your doctor.

  3. Endometriosis

    Though a difficult condition to diagnose, endometriosis occurs when tissue grows outside of the reproductive organs. This includes the uterus and fallopian tubes. Endometriosis causes severe menstrual cramps and heavy bleeding, with the bleeding sometimes occurring in between periods.

  4. Medication

    Certain medications can cause heavy bleeding such as blood thinners, antidepressants, or meds used to treat bipolar disorder. Other medications could also be linked to a heavier flow, so talk to your doctor if you’ve noticed changes.

These are just a few reasons that could explain your heavy cycle, but keep listening to the clip to learn more. If you have regular bouts of menorrhagia and it is accompanied by pain, fainting, or other symptoms out of the norm for you, see your doctor. It could be a sign of a serious medical condition.

Each woman’s cycle varies, so having a heavier flow could be the norm for you. But if something doesn’t feel quite right, or if you are nearing menopausal age, get checked out by your physician to rule anything out. And since heavy blood loss can take a toll on your body and strength, be sure to stay hydrated and keep your iron levels up.

Do you experience heavy menstrual flow? Have you had to receive treatment for it? What’s the cause behind yours?