What is a heavy period?

Heavy menstrual bleeding is defined as excessive menstrual blood loss that interferes with a woman's physical, social, or emotional quality of life.

A period is heavy if you are:

  • passing lumps of blood (or clots) that are larger than a 50 cent coin
  • bleeding so much that you have to change your pad/ tampon every hour 
  • having to get up most nights to change your pad/tampon
  • having to put a towel in your bed or use large maternity pads when you sleep
  • bleeding through clothing
  • bleeding that lasts more than eight days.

Heavy periods can lower your iron levels and red blood cells so you may:

  • feel tired more easily 
  • feel weak or dizzy
  • be short of breath and have chest pains.

Heavy periods can generally be managed using hormone therapies or surgery. Your doctor or gynaecologist can talk to you about options that suit you. 

If you are worried about heavy menstrual bleeding

  • See your doctor, nurse, or gynaecologist (specialist in women’s health).
  • Talk to them about the changes to your period.
  • Tell them about any medications or contraceptives you are using.

They will most likely:

  • ask you questions about the history of your health
  • examine you
  • do a blood test.


The Women’s does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or use of such information or advice) which is provided on the Website or incorporated into it by reference. The Women’s provide this information on the understanding that all persons accessing it take responsibility for assessing its relevance and accuracy. Women are encouraged to discuss their health needs with a health practitioner. If you have concerns about your health, you should seek advice from your health care provider or if you require urgent care you should go to the nearest Emergency Dept.