Menstruation blood amount: how much is ‘normal’?

How much blood do you lose on a period? Let’s investigate

Wondering how much blood is normal to lose during a period? It’s not an easy question to answer, as everybody is different. Some people naturally bleed more than others. Plus, there are a bunch of reasons why menstrual bleeding can be lighter or heavier than you’re used to.
 
That said, there are some rules of thumb that can help you judge whether your amount of blood loss is normal for you. This article provides a rough estimate of how much blood you lose on your period and also takes you through what heavy and light bleeding can look like. 
 
We’ll share some tips for what to do if the amount you’re bleeding is worrying you. 
 

What’s the average period blood loss?

Most people find that their period lasts about 4 to 5 days. Usually, the amount of blood lost in this time is fairly small – only a few tablespoons. 
 
“The average volume of blood lost during menstruation is about 30 to 50 millilitres per cycle,” confirms Dr Ashwini Gana Baskaran, principal GP at Sanctuary Wellness & Medical Centre. “But the actual amount might be a bit higher because things like tissue, mucus and uterus lining may add to the volume of the flow.”  
 
With all this in mind, it’s important to remember that we all experience our periods differently. Some people might bleed a bit less or a bit more than the average – as long as you’re not getting severe cramps or feeling really sick, this is often nothing to worry about. 
 
But how do you even know how much you’re bleeding? Unless you’re using menstrual cups, measuring your flow can be hard. This is one reason doctors often talk about menstrual blood volume in terms of how many pads or tampons you go through in a typical period. 
 
“We don’t usually look at numbers,” Dr Ashwini says. “Instead, we focus on the individual patient. What’s normal for them? What product are they using? We have to break it down with them.”
 
So, if you want to investigate how much you’re bleeding, your doctor can help you work it out. 

How much blood do you lose on a period? (Heavy and light periods)

Period blood loss is unique to the individual, so how much blood you lose during a period differs for everyone. 
 
Heavy bleeding is normal for some, while others naturally have a lighter flow. Irregular periods are common too – your period might be light one month and heavy the next, with no clear reason for the change. 
 
But how do you know if you’re bleeding more or less than the average? And what causes changes in period blood loss? To help answer your questions, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what heavy and light bleeding looks like. 
 
Heavy bleeding (menorrhagia)
Prolonged or heavy menstrual bleeding, also known as menorrhagia, can be stressful. Feeling like you’re bleeding a lot or like your period won’t stop can be enough to set off alarm bells in your head. 
 
Here are some signs you’re dealing with heavy bleeding:

  • Needing to change your pad or tampon nearly every hour
  • Bleeding that lasts more than 7 days
  • Pain in your lower abdomen (your belly)
  • Feeling weak and tired
  • Passing blood clots bigger than a 10-cent coin 

Possible causes of heavy bleeding include:

  • Growths of the uterus like polyps or tumours (cancerous tumours are rare)
  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs like the Mirena®)
  • Pregnancy issues such as miscarriage 
  • Certain medications that impact your body’s bleeding or clotting mechanisms
  • Illnesses such as von Willebrand disease, platelet function disorder, endometriosis and adenomyosis
  • Hormone-related problems

Light bleeding 
On the other end of the spectrum, some people get lighter menstrual bleeding. There are several reasons why your periods might be on the lighter side. 

Some signs of a light period include:

  • Using only 4 regular tampons or pads during your entire period
  • Shorter periods (fewer bleeding days)
  • A lighter flow or spotting
  • A darker or brown colour 

Possible causes of light bleeding include:

  • Hormonal problems due to conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or thyroid dysfunction
  • Stress
  • Breastfeeding
  • Certain medications
  • Birth control (such as Implanon or the pill)
  • Age (e.g. if you’re entering menopause) 
  • Weight loss or gain 

Tips for managing menstrual blood loss

If you’ve noticed a change in your period and think you might be bleeding too much or too little, the best thing to do is make an appointment with your GP. 
 
“Anytime you feel that your flow is not normal for you, you’re constantly needing to change menstrual products or feeling really ill from having your period, it’s a good idea to get checked by your doctor,” Dr Ashwini says. “It’s always better to get in early and get checked rather than wait, as this can potentially lead to complications.”
 
Your doctor will most likely reassure you that your period is normal. If they suspect there’s an underlying cause, they’ll be able to run some tests and create a treatment plan if needed. 
 
No matter your flow, Modibodi has you protected. Our trusty leak-proof period underwear comes in a range of absorbances for total peace of mind:
 
Light-Moderate for lighter flows – absorbs 10ml (2 tampons)
Moderate-Heavy for moderate to heavy flows – absorbs up to 15ml (2–3 tampons)
Heavy-Overnight for heavier periods – absorbs up to 20ml (3–4 tampons)
Maxi and Super Overnight for heavier periods still – absorbs up to 50ml (10 tampons)
 

Go with your flow

Remember, not all periods are the same. So your menstruation blood amount might be a little lighter or heavier than the norm, and that’s okay. If the amount changes drastically or you feel unwell, speak to your doctor. 
 
Before you bounce, don’t forget to browse our stellar collection of period underwear. Each design is meticulously tried and tested for comfort and performance so you can confidently move through your menstrual cycle.
 
Fancy some further reading? Hit up our blog for more period info and tips.

 

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