Very heavy periods can sometimes prevent women from carrying out everyday activities – but they could also be a sign of something more serious, experts say.

Women who experience very heavy periods, also known as menorrhagia, should consult a doctor, according to the German Institute for Health System Quality and Profitability (IQWIG).

Polyps on the lining of the uterus or growths in the muscle tissue of the uterine wall, known as fibroids, can cause heavy periods.

Inflammation and intrauterine adhesions are further possible causes.

The range of treatment options will depend on the cause of the bleeding for each particular woman, the IQWIG says.

Polyps and fibroids can be removed surgically, while birth control pills can help reduce bleeding.

Sometimes, the mucous membrane of the uterus, known as the endometrium, can also be treated.

And even the removal of the uterus may make medical sense in some cases, for women who do not plan to have children at a later date.

heavy periods

Seeing a doctor or a gynaecologist may help in determining the cause of heavy flows.

Managing heavy bleeding

Women can cope with heavy bleeding by using both a tampon and a sanitary towel, the institute says.

Dark trousers and skirts will also conceal any small blood stains.

Bleeding is considered abnormally heavy when:

  • You need to change your tampon or sanitary pad just two hours on most days during your period
  • Feeling weak when menstruating or when passing large clots in your menstrual blood.

– dpa