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Blood Loss During Period: What You Need to Know

Blood loss during period, also known as menstrual bleeding, is a normal and natural part of the female reproductive cycle.

Blood loss during period, also known as menstrual bleeding, is a normal and natural part of the female reproductive cycle. However, some women may experience more blood loss than others, or have blood loss that is too heavy or too light. This can affect their health, well-being, and quality of life.

In this article, we will discuss what is normal and abnormal blood loss during period, what are the possible causes and complications, and how to measure and manage blood loss during period.

foodieaty - Blood Loss During Period What You Need to Know
foodieaty - Blood Loss During Period What You Need to Know

What is Normal Blood Loss During Period?

Normal blood loss during period varies from person to person, depending on factors such as age, genetics, lifestyle, and hormonal balance. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average blood loss during period is about 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 40 milliliters) per cycle. This is equivalent to about 4 to 6 teaspoons (20 to 30 milliliters) per day

Normal blood loss during period usually lasts for 3 to 7 days, and occurs every 21 to 35 days. The blood may vary in color, consistency, and odor, depending on the stage of the cycle and the presence of any clots or tissue. The blood may be bright red, dark red, brown, or black, and may have a metallic, fishy, or musty smell.

How to Measure Blood Loss During Period

It can be difficult to measure the exact amount of blood loss during period at home, as different menstrual products have different capacities and absorbencies. However, there are some ways to estimate blood loss during period, such as:

  • Counting the number of pads or tampons used. A regular pad or tampon can hold about 5 milliliters of blood, while a super or overnight pad or tampon can hold about 10 milliliters of blood. Therefore, if a person uses 6 regular pads or tampons per day, they may lose about 30 milliliters of blood per day.
  • Using a menstrual cup. A menstrual cup is a reusable silicone or rubber device that is inserted into the vagina and collects the blood. A menstrual cup can hold up to 30 milliliters of blood, and has markings that indicate the volume of blood collected. Therefore, if a person empties their menstrual cup twice a day, they may lose about 60 milliliters of blood per day.
  • Weighing the menstrual products. A more accurate way to measure blood loss during period is to weigh the menstrual products before and after use, and subtract the difference. One gram of weight is equivalent to one milliliter of blood. Therefore, if a person uses a pad that weighs 4 grams before use and 9 grams after use, they may lose about 5 milliliters of blood per pad.

What is Abnormal Blood Loss During Period?

Abnormal blood loss during period, also known as heavy menstrual bleeding or menorrhagia, is a condition where a person loses more than 80 milliliters of blood per cycle, or bleeds for more than 7 days. Abnormal blood loss during period can affect a person's physical, mental, and social well-being, causing symptoms such as:

  • Anemia. Anemia is a condition where the body does not have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to the tissues. Anemia can cause fatigue, weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, pale skin, and cold hands and feet.
  • Pain. Pain is a common symptom of abnormal blood loss during period, as the uterus contracts to expel the blood and clots. Pain can be felt in the lower abdomen, back, or pelvis, and can range from mild to severe. Pain can also cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or headache.
  • Distress. Distress is a psychological symptom of abnormal blood loss during period, as the person may feel anxious, depressed, embarrassed, or isolated. Distress can affect a person's mood, self-esteem, and relationships.
  • Disruption. Disruption is a social symptom of abnormal blood loss during period, as the person may have to limit their daily activities, work, school, or leisure. Disruption can affect a person's productivity, performance, and quality of life.

How to Diagnose Abnormal Blood Loss During Period

If a person suspects that they have abnormal blood loss during period, they should consult their doctor for a diagnosis and treatment. The doctor will ask about the person's medical history, menstrual cycle, and symptoms, and may perform a physical exam, a pelvic exam, a Pap smear, or some tests, such as:

  • Blood tests. Blood tests can check the levels of hemoglobin, iron, hormones, thyroid, and clotting factors in the blood. Blood tests can help diagnose anemia, hormonal imbalances, thyroid problems, and bleeding disorders.
  • Urine tests. Urine tests can check for the presence of pregnancy hormones, infections, or blood in the urine. Urine tests can help diagnose pregnancy, urinary tract infections, or kidney problems.
  • Ultrasound. Ultrasound is a noninvasive imaging technique that uses sound waves to create pictures of the internal organs. Ultrasound can help diagnose uterine fibroids, polyps, adenomyosis, endometriosis, or ovarian cysts.
  • Biopsy. Biopsy is a procedure that involves taking a small sample of tissue from the uterus or the cervix and examining it under a microscope. Biopsy can help diagnose endometrial hyperplasia, endometrial cancer, or cervical cancer.

What are the Possible Causes of Abnormal Blood Loss During Period?

Abnormal blood loss during period can have various causes, ranging from hormonal imbalances to structural abnormalities to underlying medical conditions. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Hormonal imbalances. Hormonal imbalances are one of the most common causes of abnormal blood loss during period, as they affect the growth and shedding of the endometrium, the lining of the uterus. Hormonal imbalances can be caused by factors such as stress, weight changes, thyroid problems, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or perimenopause.
  • Uterine fibroids. Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus and can cause heavy, prolonged, or irregular bleeding, as well as pain, pressure, or infertility. Uterine fibroids are more common in women of reproductive age, especially those who are older, obese, or of African descent.
  • Polyps. Polyps are small growths that protrude from the lining of the uterus or the cervix and can cause heavy, irregular, or intermenstrual bleeding, as well as pain or infertility. Polyps are more common in women who are older, have high blood pressure, or use hormonal medications.
  • Adenomyosis. Adenomyosis is a condition where the endometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterus, grows into the muscular wall of the uterus and causes heavy, prolonged, or painful bleeding, as well as cramps, bloating, or pressure. Adenomyosis is more common in women who are older, have had multiple pregnancies, or have had uterine surgery.
  • Endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition where the endometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterus, grows outside the uterus and attaches to other organs, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or bowel. This can cause heavy, irregular, or painful bleeding, as well as cramps, bloating, or infertility. Endometriosis is more common in women who have never been pregnant, have a family history of the condition, or have a short menstrual cycle.
  • Medications. Some medications can affect the menstrual cycle and cause heavy bleeding, such as anticoagulants, steroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or hormonal contraceptives. However, some hormonal contraceptives can also reduce the bleeding, depending on the type and dosage.
  • Infections. In rare cases, heavy bleeding can be a sign of an infection in the reproductive organs, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), endometritis, or cervicitis. These infections can be caused by sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), intrauterine devices (IUDs), or childbirth complications. They can also cause fever, pain, discharge, or odor.

How to Manage Blood Loss During Period

Blood loss during period can be managed with various methods, depending on the cause and severity of the condition. Some of the possible methods include:

1. Hydration and nutrition.

Hydration and nutrition are important for maintaining the blood volume and preventing anemia. Drinking enough water and fluids can help prevent dehydration, which can worsen the symptoms of heavy bleeding. Eating a balanced diet that is rich in iron, vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids can help replenish the blood loss and prevent anemia. Iron is essential for the production of hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in the blood. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron and boosts the immune system. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory and blood-thinning properties that can help reduce menstrual cramps and clotting.

2. Heat therapy.

Heat therapy is a simple and natural way to reduce blood loss during period, as it can help relax the uterine muscles and blood vessels, reducing the cramps and the bleeding. It can also provide comfort and relief from pain and discomfort. There are different ways to apply heat therapy, such as using a heating pad, a hot water bottle, a warm bath, or a hot compress. You can also make your own heat pack by filling a sock with rice or beans and microwaving it for a few minutes. Be careful not to burn yourself and always wrap the heat source in a cloth or towel before applying it to your skin.

3. Herbal remedies.

Herbal remedies are another natural way to manage blood loss during period, as they may work by regulating the hormones, reducing inflammation, improving blood circulation, or contracting the uterus. However, the evidence for their effectiveness and safety is limited and varies depending on the type and quality of the herb. Therefore, it is important to consult your doctor before using any herbal remedies, especially if you have any medical conditions, allergies, or are taking any medications. Some of the most common and popular herbs that are used for blood loss during period include raspberry leaf, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, and yarrow.

4. Menstrual products.

The type of menstrual product you use can also affect your blood loss during period and how you manage it. Some menstrual products can absorb more blood than others, while some can collect the blood and prevent it from leaking. Some menstrual products can also reduce the risk of infection and irritation, while some can cause allergic reactions or toxic shock syndrome. Some of the most common and available menstrual products include pads, tampons, menstrual cups, and period panties.

5. Hormonal therapy.

Hormonal therapy is a medical method that involves taking medications that contain hormones, such as birth control pills, patches, injections, implants, or IUDs. These can help regulate the menstrual cycle, reduce the blood loss, and prevent pregnancy. However, they may also cause side effects, such as weight gain, mood changes, or spotting. Hormonal therapy can be prescribed by your doctor, depending on your medical history, preferences, and goals.

6. Non-hormonal therapy.

Non-hormonal therapy is a medical method that involves taking medications that do not contain hormones, such as tranexamic acid, mefenamic acid, or ibuprofen. These can help reduce the blood loss and the pain by affecting the blood clotting or the inflammation. However, they may also cause side effects, such as stomach upset, nausea, or bleeding problems. Non-hormonal therapy can be prescribed by your doctor, depending on your medical history, preferences, and goals.

7. Endometrial ablation.

Endometrial ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that involves destroying the lining of the uterus with heat, cold, electricity, or microwaves. This can help reduce or stop the blood loss by preventing the endometrium from growing back. However, it may also cause complications, such as infection, perforation, or scarring. Endometrial ablation can be performed by your doctor, depending on your medical history, preferences, and goals.

8. Uterine artery embolization.

Uterine artery embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that involves blocking the blood supply to the uterus or the fibroids with tiny particles. This can help shrink the fibroids and reduce the blood loss by depriving them of oxygen and nutrients. However, it may also cause complications, such as infection, pain, or ovarian failure. Uterine artery embolization can be performed by your doctor, depending on your medical history, preferences, and goals.

9. Myomectomy.

Myomectomy is a surgical procedure that involves removing the fibroids from the uterus. This can help reduce the blood loss and the pressure by eliminating the source of the problem. However, it may also cause complications, such as infection, bleeding, or recurrence. Myomectomy can be performed by your doctor, depending on your medical history, preferences, and goals.

10. Hysterectomy.

Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that involves removing the entire uterus, and sometimes the ovaries and the fallopian tubes. This can help stop the blood loss and the pain by removing the organ that causes the problem. However, it may also cause complications, such as infection, bleeding, or menopause. Hysterectomy can be performed by your doctor, depending on your medical history, preferences, and goals.

Blood loss during period can be a challenging condition to deal with, but it can be managed with proper care and treatment. By following some home remedies and natural ways, you can help reduce or cope with the symptoms of blood loss during period. By consulting your doctor and getting the appropriate diagnosis and treatment, you can help resolve the underlying cause of blood loss during period and improve your quality of life. 🌸

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