How to deal with heavy periods
Some women are lucky to not only have low flow periods, but also to not have any menstrual pain or mood swings. Some others, not so much. In fact, many of us deal with very heavy periods and, painful or not, they can be a real pain to handle. But fear not! We collected some tips – by women and for women – on how to make dealing with your heavy periods easier.
Heavy periods: 9 tips and tricks to handle a heavy flow
1. The Golden Rule: See your GP to make sure everything is alright
Before anything, it is important that you make sure you are alright. If you think yours are abnormally heavy periods, please consult with a doctor, gynaecologist, or GP. There are some conditions that can cause not-so-normal heavy periods and bleeding, like endometriosis or fibroids. However, keep in mind every woman, uterus and period are different – what works or is true for a friend or family member does not necessarily work or is true for yourself.
Keep in mind that if your heavy periods are caused by some medical condition, you doctor might have to prescribe some kind of medication, hormonal birth control, or even surgery.
2. Choose the right size and capacity
If you are a tampon user, you probably know that there are normally 3 sizes: regular, super, and super plus. You also know that it is recommended to use the smallest size possible in order to avoid Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). With this being said, when you have heavy periods, you have heavy periods – and they need to be tended to appropriately. If you need a bigger size than “regular” to keep your menstrual blood in check, then use it.
3. Double up!
That’s right: double up on your menstrual products. This means using a panty liner when you are using tampons, or even a menstrual pad, if need be. It might seem excessive to some, but those with heavy periods know it is not an overreaction. Plus, apart from avoiding leaking, it will most definitely help with the anxiety of having a leak in an uncomfortable situation, like work or school.
4 Change tampons and pads frequently
Everyone needs to change tampons and pads frequently, but this becomes more important for women who deal with large flows and heavy periods. However, you are the one who has to decide how long between changes. And, unfortunately, the only way to find out is by trial and error. An average interval is around 4 hours, but for some it might be only 2. If you’re forgetful, set a reminder on your phone.
5. Be prepared
Get yourself a thin necessaire that fits your purse or backpack and carry 4 or 5 extra tampons, pads and panty liners. If you are on your period and decide to leave the house even for only one hour – you’d think “I’ll be fine for an hour” – remember to bring back up. You never know if you run into someone and decide to have a coffee and chat, of if something like a roadblock might prevent you from returning in time.
6. Use those period undies… and granny panties!
Do you know those panties that were once lovely and perfect, but nowadays are just old and washed up? Those are perfect period night panties. Use them to sleep when you have your period, and if some leak happens, you won’t be too sad if it happens to stain. During the day, the so called “granny panties” are great for heavy periods. They provide more coverage and support for your pad or panty liner that, for example, a thong. The nice and expensive lingerie can wait a few days!
Do you know the rules of female underwear for a healthy vagina?
7. Don’t use too tight or light-coloured clothes
Using too tight clothes is never a good idea for your vaginal health, as it can lead to rashes or infections. However, during periods, especially heavy periods, tight clothing can be a bit more of a nuisance. The same with light-coloured bottoms. Avoid especially white, light grey, pink, or similar colours, and thin fabrics. Maybe mom jeans can be a good option, or a long, flowy skirt. This way, if some blood leak happens, there’s more chance of you being able to catch it in time, before it stains your clothes.
8. Protect your mattress
This one is a real pain: blood stains on mattresses. While stains in clothes and sheets are generally easy to handle (always pre-wash the stain by hand with cold water before throwing the piece in the washing machine!), mattress stains are a bit more difficult. To avoid that, consider getting a mattress protection or even layering a few old and thick towels between your sheets and mattress, around the area where your pelvis lies at night. It takes a few minutes but can help you keep your mattress around for a longer time.
9. Do not be ashamed
Whatever happens, never be ashamed of having heavy periods. If a leak happens – if you get a stain in your jeans at work, if you get someone else’s bed sheets permanently stained during a sleepover, if you have to run to the toilet every couple of hours to change tampons or pads – do not be ashamed. Your period is totally normal, and in 2020 we’re past being ashamed of such a natural and intrinsic thing of being a human being. It’s about time menstruation stops being a taboo.
Washing tip: If your heavy period causes some blood to end up in a piece of clothing, bed linen, towel, or something else, do not hot wash that piece right away. Rather, rinse the area thoroughly in cold water first. If the stain is not completely gone by then, you can try using a bit of detergent and washing is by hand – again, in cold water. In most cases, this enough to make the stain disappear. After that, when the stain is no longer visible, you can throw it in the washing machine. If you hot was a blood stain it will most likely turn into a permanent stain.
Take good care. Of yourself. Of your period. Of mother nature.