What is Heavy Flow or Menorrhagia
To be honest, all periods feel like heavy periods. Soaking through sanitary pads, dealing with that icky stickiness, adjusting the pad for wedgies and the horror of realising the pad has filled up yet again and needs to be changed can be overwhelming.
However, if you’re having to constantly monitor your sanitary pads usage, and constantly check for leaks, you may be suffering from something called menorrhagia or heavy period flow.
Normally women bleed about 6-8 tablespoons (or less than 80ml) per period. Yup, we know, it seems crazy that all that blood is less than two shot glasses worth, but to put things in perspective - the uterus is about the size of your fist!
In some conditions, a woman may bleed more than 80ml, often up to 160 ml! This is called menorrhagia. And it can get worse.
Key Causes of Heavy Period Flow
Okay, so what causes this super heavy flow? Could be a couple of things:
- An imbalance of the hormones - The period cycle is controlled by the movement of two hormones progesterone and oestrogen. The movement of these hormones along with the progress of the egg through the fallopian tube causes the endometrial layer to prepare itself and then shed (causing a period) if the egg is not fertilised. An excess of these hormones due to stress, certain foods, smoking PCOS, insulin resistance or obesity can lead to one needing heavy flow pads.
- Dysfunction of the ovaries - If the ovaries fail to release an egg, or there is an issue in the timing of it all, there is a hormonal imbalance that causes heavier flow than usual.
- Uterine Fibroids and Polyps - These are benign tumour-like growth in the uterus or the uterine lining that affect hormonal levels and consequently period flow and duration.
- Adenomyosis - this is a medical condition that causes endometrial glands to get embedded in the uterine muscle. This causes interrupted and heavy bleeding.
- IUD - Intrauterine devices, used for birth control often result in heavier flow. One’s doctor usually helps plan for this.
- Pregnancy - Post-pregnancy bleeding, or complications due to miscarriage, the location and structure of the placenta, or complications during deliveries can cause heavy flow.
- Cancer - cervical or uterine cancer can cause excessive, often unstoppable menstrual bleeding.
- Medicines - certain anti-inflammatory medications, hormone meds, and anticoagulants can lead to heavy flow as well.
Telltale Symptoms to Watch Out for
But how does one confirm if their flow is indeed heavy? See if you check at least 5 of the following:
- Having to change your sanitary pads every two-three hours.
- Often leaking through even after wearing the best sanitary pads, especially at night
- Needing to wake up during the night to change your sanitary pad
- Bleeding for more than a week
- Having clots bigger than a Re 1 coin
- Having to restrict daily activities due to menstrual bleeding and cramps
- Symptoms of weakness such as tiredness, fatigue, shortness of breath could be caused due to anemia.
- Bleeding between periods
- Bleeding after menopause.
If you witness three or more of these symptoms, especially the ones on the lower end of the list it is best to speak to a doctor and get their opinion. Remember, heavy flow periods are common during settling phases - this could be for teenagers during menarche when their body is transitioning, for those going through menopause as the body prepares to stop having periods and due to stress and sudden emotional turmoil.
How to Treat/Manage Heavy Menstrual Flows
Your doctor can recommend various ways to deal with the heavy flow which would include surgical interventions or medication.
Some of these include:
- An oral progestin therapy with a 21-day cycle. This helps control menstrual blood loss
- The levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device can help with the heavy flow for women who still hope to get pregnant
- Those who do not want to get pregnant can opt for a hysterectomy - which is an excellent way to stop or reduce very heavy flow.
- An endometrial ablation - which removes a thin layer of the endometrium is also an effective, albeit expensive process.
Interestingly several women who received the coronavirus vaccine also reported heavier flow than usual. The effects of the vaccine on the endometrial lining are still being investigated in detail, but women who take the vaccine or go through the virus can expect irregular or heavier bleeding for a few months after the date of sickness/prevention.
RIO Heavy Duty Pads - The Ultimate Solutions for Heavy Periods
The RIO pad, when it was launched, sought to fill the gap in the sanitary pads online market. Very few specialised sanitary pads for heavy flow were available. Women explored sanitary pads brands such as Stayfree and Whisper but due to their build was forced to sometimes use three-four sanitary pads, safety-pinned together to deal with heavy flow and prevent staining.
RIO heavy flow pads sought to resolve this by providing 3x absorption as compared to most regular sanitary pads brands. Customised sanitary pads for heavy flow these have:
- Double wings along the side and at the back that hold the pad in place
- Antibacterial super absorbent SAP, which is the main ingredient of the pad and converts liquid to gel form, holding it in.
- Super glue grip - which helps hold the pad in place making sure there are no leaks, stains or accidents.
- Side flow guards - which are small, raised structures along the edges of the pads which make sure there is no outside/sideways trickle.
- RIO sanitary pads also absorb blood clots, making sure no blood residue is left on the pad surface making it wet and sticky.
What makes RIO the best period pads is their superior length and width for maximum coverage. RIO sanitary pads are also super soft with a cottony-gentle top-sheet that is enhanced with aloe vera and jojoba, making sure your skin is cared for.
“RIO sanitary pads are the best sanitary pads,” says happy customer Anisha from Satara. “I did not use to buy sanitary pads online, but now I have switched to buying them online since RIO helps me take my mind off my flow and constantly worrying about staining and focus on other activities instead. They are truly the best sanitary pads.”