Many women think that heavy periods are a normal fact of life – ‘my mum suffered it and I am suffering it’ therefore it is considered a normal part of womanhood. Heavy periods are very common in women, and usually are not a sign of anything serious – but they can cause a big disruption to your life. Heavy periods can cause tiredness from low iron in the blood, or less commonly, anaemia (low red blood cells).



You may find it hard to judge whether your periods are heavy. Even talking to friends about it may not help. Women often have different ideas about what it means to have heavy periods. Here's a list of things that may mean your periods are heavy.


  • You use more than nine pads or tampons (or both pads and tampons) on your heaviest days.
  • You have to wear both a tampon and a pad (double protection).
  • Your period lasts more than six days.
  • You have to get up at night to change your protection.
  • You pass clots of blood.
  • You stain your bedding or clothes despite wearing tampons and pads.
  • You stay at home during your period because you are worried about having an 'accident'.
  • You feel tired, especially during your period. This could mean your body is low on iron. Doctors call this anaemia. It happens when your body is not able to make enough new red blood cells to make up for blood you lost during your period. Your doctor can find out if you have anaemia by testing a sample of your blood. If your red cell count is low, you may need treatment, such as iron tablets, to help you make more red cells.

Often, periods are heavy for only a short time. For example, they may be heavy at puberty or in the year or so before the menopause.

If you're approaching the menopause, you may not want to do anything about your heavy bleeding because you know your periods will stop soon.