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Heavy periods

Heavy periods (also called menorrhagia) are common and may just be normal for you. Treatment can help if they're affecting your daily life.

You may have heavy periods if you:

  • need to change your pad or tampon every 1 to 2 hours, or empty your menstrual cup more often than is recommended
  • need to use 2 types of sanitary product together, such as a pad and a tampon
  • have periods lasting more than 7 days
  • pass blood clots larger than about 2.5cm (the size of a 10p coin)
  • bleed through to your clothes or bedding
  • avoid daily activities, like exercise, or take time off work because of your periods
  • feel tired or short of breath a lot

It can be normal to have heavy periods.

They can sometimes be heavy at different times, like when you first start your periods, after pregnancy or during menopause.

Sometimes, they can be caused by:

Rarely, heavy periods can be a sign of womb cancer.

Heavy periods do not always need to be treated. But there are treatments that can help if they’re affecting your daily life.

Treatments from a GP include:

You should have a blood test to check if you have iron deficiency anaemia.

If these treatments do not work or a GP thinks a condition may be causing your heavy periods, they’ll usually refer you for tests or to see a specialist.