Heavy period

FAQs & resources

Explore the most common questions regarding heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB). Download our helpful brochure and access more information with important links.

A woman sitting atop a laptop screen showing FAQs regarding heavy menstrual bleeding.

Frequently asked questions


Below are some common questions that refer to heavy blood loss, the impact it can have on your daily life, and what to expect when you see your doctor. Click the boxes below to view answers.

    Everyone is different, which can make it hard to know what “normal” even means. However, there is an average, or range of typical characteristics. For example, a “normal” period (or menstrual flow) may:


    • Occur every 28 days
    • Last for 4 to 5 days
    • Result in a total blood loss of 35 mL to 40 mL (2 to 3 tablespoons)
    • Have blood clots that are smaller than a quarter and occur only occasionally, toward the beginning of your cycle 

      According to the objective standard for measuring HMB, women with HMB may lose 80 mL of blood (5 to 6 tablespoons) or more during their period and may have bleeding that lasts longer than 7 days.


      Your period may be heavy if you:


      • Soak through 1 or more pads or tampons every hour for several hours in a row
      • Need to wear more than 1 pad at a time to control your bleeding
      • Need to change pads or tampons during the night
      • Have periods with blood clots that are the size of a quarter or larger
      • Have periods that last more than 7 days
      • Have a heavy flow that keeps you from doing the things you would normally do
      • Have constant pain in the lower part of the stomach during your period
      • Feel tired, lack energy, or experience shortness of breath

        Some of the possible causes include:


        • Uterine-related problems
        • Hormone-related problems
        • Other illnesses or disorders  

          Some women who have heavy periods have no evidence of any physical abnormality and their doctors are unable to find the cause. If there is no gynecological problem, and other causes are ruled out, you may be a candidate for hormonal treatment. Talk to your doctor to see what treatment options are available.

            While common, HMB is not a normal or typical event. It can interfere with your work life, social plans, or daily activities. 

              In order to understand what you are experiencing, your doctor may run some tests, including:


              • A blood test to check for anemia, thyroid problems, or blood clotting issues
              • A Pap test to determine if you have an infection, inflammation, or cell changes
              • An endometrial biopsy to examine tissue from the lining of your uterus
              • An ultrasound to see how your blood vessels, tissues, and reproductive organs are working


              Your doctor will help you get to the bottom of it and find a treatment that may work!

              Let’s talk about heavy periods

              We’ve created a handy brochure that discusses what a heavy period is and how to prepare to talk about it with your doctor.

              Download Brochure
              A couple reading a brochure about heavy periods

              For more information about HMB, visit these websites:


              American College of Gynecologists

              Heavy Menstrual Bleeding



              Centers for Disease Control

              Heavy Menstrual Bleeding



              Mayo Clinic

              Heavy Menstrual Bleeding




              Period Problems



              To connect with other women experiencing HMB symptoms, visit: