Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and Hologic and have received compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.
Heavy periods are more than just an inconvenience that some women suffer with. I had heavy periods for much of my life. My mom had them. And one of my daughters seems to be heading there as well. Of course, there are the concessions you learn to make when your period comes. You don’t wear white, you make peace with the fact that you might have to dash to the bathroom at any moment. You NEVER wear your favorite pants, skirts, or dresses if you suspect your period is about to start.
That’s only part of it, though. Heavy periods are not only inconvenient, they are painful, and sometimes, debilitating.
Heavy Periods are a Big Problem
My periods started as usual in my teens and they were regular for a time, even light. But then my 20s and 30s hit and they became super heavy. I didn’t really know there was anything that unusual about heavy periods. My Mom had such heavy periods I recall them being a shocking thing for me as a kid. She spent more than her share of time racing to bathroom when her period began and clothing was often destroyed as a result.
In my 20s and 30s I had the same experience. When I started my career in a newsroom my periods were crazy heavy and painful too. Socially that impacts you too. I could walk into a room and discount 4 out of the 5 seats available because of light fabric and concerns my pads or tampons might not be adequate. Sometimes you just avoid social situations as a result.
Nobody really was talking about periods when I was in my 20s and 30s. In fact, it was still embarrassing to even mention to a doctor, at least until it was time to plan starting a family. Then it was somehow more acceptable to discuss reproductive health in the context of getting pregnant.
I used to think heavy periods were common, or perhaps I just had not found the right feminine hygiene products. Little did I know that I didn’t need to be a martyr about it. In fact I am far from alone. One in five women experiences heavy blood loss, pain, and exhaustion every month due to their period. This can be uncomfortable and sometimes heavy periods and accompanying pain can also interfere with life.
As common as these periods are, over half of the women suffering from these brutal periods don’t know that they are a treatable medical condition called menorrhagia, otherwise known as heavy menstrual bleeding. It can be caused by a few different things like hormonal imbalances, fibroids, polyps, infections, bleeding deviations, and more.
What makes menorrhagia truly horrible is that it’s not just the physical pain that comes with it, it also impacts mental health. Almost 80 percent of women with heavy periods experience anxiety associated with the issue and over 65 percent say that it causes them to feel depressed.
See Your Doctor
If you have a heavy period that causes you intense pain and limits your life, talk with your doctor. You do not have to suffer alone. Doctors can walk you through several treatment options – both hormonal and non-hormonal – to help you find relief, and that relief could be life-changing.
Tell Your Story
Heavy periods don’t have to rule your life. More women need to know that their heavy periods aren’t something to suffer through alone. They’re a treatable medical condition. Whether you laugh about it or cry about it, tell it. Whether you have a story that’s painful, bloody, or just downright embarrassing, share it!
With all women’s health care issues, we need to get better at sharing our stories. This is no different. Sharing your story is a powerful way to help others. When you share your story others feel less alone and maybe someone else is also able to find relief.
What Can You Do?
Visit HeavyPeriodTalk.ca and share your story. Let’s make sure one in five women know that they’re not alone in this and that there are ways to find relief from heavy periods. On its own, that does a world of good, but now it will do even more. For every story shared, $5 will be donated to the Canadian Foundation for Women’s Health to help support important research and women’s health education.