Whether you’re the kind of person who faints at a papercut or can watch gory hospital shows without nightmares, the monthly drama in your pants can be daunting. For one thing, it can look (and feel) like SO. MUCH. BLOOD.
But it isn’t. Honestly, it isn’t.
The average person will pass between two and eight tablespoons of menstrual fluid during their whole period. So even at their heaviest, that’s still less than half of a small Starbucks cup size – and it could be as little as a squirt of syrup. But let’s not ruin syrup by thinking about that too much.
Will it always be like this?
Just like your favourite hot chocolate order, the heaviness of your period can vary from person to person. The bottom line is: we’re all different, and you’ll find out what’s normal for your body.
It’s common for bleeding to be heavier during the first day or two, then calm down and lighten up towards the end of your period (so better use it as an excuse to claim that last cookie now).
- On average, you’ll only produce between two and eight tablespoons of menstrual fluid during your whole entire period (it just feels like loads more).
- It’s common for your period to start heavier and get lighter – both through the week, and as you get older. But everybody is different.
- If your period is so heavy that it’s making life difficult, have a chat to your GP.
Your first period will often be light, more like a sticky stain or a few reddish-brown spots (more delightful details here), but many people find their periods are heavier in the first few years, while things are settling down. Stress, diet, medication, health conditions and loads of other things can affect the amount you bleed from month to month, and also over the course of your adult life – so don’t panic if you go from a trickle to a stream to a river.
Um, it feels like a waterfall.
Still don’t panic! Remember, it’s so much less than it looks. Periods are tricksters like that.
But if you find you’re bleeding so much that you have to change your pad or tampon every hour, use both a tampon and pad at once, or get up in the middle of the night to change your pad or tampon, it’s known as ‘flooding’ – and it’s not much fun.
So don’t be a hero, tell someone! If heavy periods are making life difficult, your GP should be able to help.
And if anyone tells you to ‘just go with the flow’, you have permission to throw a cushion at them.
Image: Katie Edmunds