When your menstrual cycle becomes heavier or lighter without explanation, it’s good to do a check-in. Are there changes in your health? In your diet? While the length of a period may vary – anywhere from 3 to 5 days, it’s important to note that average blood loss is anywhere between 30-40 milliliters (ml), with 9 out of 10 women losing less than 80ml, the NHS says. Meanwhile, heavy menstrual bleeding, also known as menorrhagia, is 60ml or more during a cycle. While there’s no real way to measure “heaviness,” if you track your period each month you may periodically notice a difference in flow. Here are three reasons why your period may be heavier or lighter than usual.
You have uterine fibroids.
Nearly one-third of all women develop uterine fibroids — non-cancerous tumors — at some point in their lives.
To add some perspective, by age 50, 70 percent of whites and 80 percent of Blacks had fibroids, according to a study. In many cases, women were unaware that they had them.
As for what causes the growths, the Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, reports that no one knows for sure. However, researchers believe there’s a link between estrogen and progesterone levels as well as genetics.
It’s important to note that not all women with fibroids have symptoms. Those who do often find fibroids hard to live with due to experiencing pain and heavy menstrual bleeding.
Fortunately, treatment for uterine fibroids is available but dependent on your symptoms.
You’d Had Some Life changes
Let’s face it, life happens to all of us at different times in our life. We have highs and lows in life and our bodies can sense that. As a matter of fact, our bodies are sensitive to change. Even stress can cause abnormal periods. Knowing this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that big life changes may affect your cycle. It’s common to experience heavy period flow after pregnancy or childbirth, or during the time your body transitions to menopause (perimenopause).
RELATED: Menstrual Cycle Warning Signs
You have pelvic inflammatory disease.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), a bacterial infection of a woman’s reproductive organs, can also result in an abnormally heavy period. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), untreated sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), having more than one sexual partner, douching, and a previous bout of the infection can cause PID.
Symptoms of PID include pain during sex and/or urination, body aches (specifically in the lower abdomen), fever, nausea and vaginal discharge — often green in color and a heavy period. PID can also cause serious problems for