During the heaviest days of your menstrual period, you may be concerned that the amount of blood you are losing is not normal. Blood loss during a period varies wildly from woman to woman, but in most cases, there is no cause for concern. Learn the average amount of menstrual fluid a woman loses during her period, signs that you might be experiencing a heavier-than-average menstrual flow, and when it might require medical attention.
Average blood loss
Menstrual blood could be more correctly referred to as "menstrual fluid," because it contains several components in addition to blood. Uterine tissue, vaginal discharge and cervical mucus all appear in various amounts in menstrual blood, so it is important to consider that losing a tablespoon of blood during your period is not the same as losing a tablespoon of blood from a wound.
The average amount of menstrual fluid lost during a period is about 35 milliliters, or about 2.4 tablespoons. Amounts between 10 and 80 milliliters, or 1 and 6 tablespoons, are considered normal, with nine out of 10 women having a flow that falls within this range. Typically, the majority of this blood is lost within the first three days of your period.
Losing a normal amount of menstrual blood generally has no negative effects on the body. An extremely heavy or prolonged flow, however, is known as menorrhagia and can create complications.
Menorrhagia is the term for a menstrual period in which either abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding occurs. It can describe any period in which more than 80 milliliters of fluid is lost, though it is difficult to measure the exact amount of blood lost during a period.
If you are losing noticeably more blood than usual during your period, you may be experiencing menorrhagia. Signs and symptoms can include soaking through one or more pads or tampons each hour, needing to use both a pad and a tampon, passing large clots, or feeling the need to restrict your daily activities due to your menstrual flow.
Menorrhagia can lead to iron-deficiency anemia over time, which can cause fatigue, dizziness or shortness of breath. It can also lead to severe menstrual cramps.
Abnormally heavy bleeding is symptomatic of a variety of health concerns, including hormonal imbalances, fibroids and ovarian dysfunction. Because of this, it is important to be evaluated for possible causes if you have menorrhagia.
If you are experiencing an unusual amount of bleeding or any of the symptoms of menorrhagia, be sure to call your doctor or schedule an appointment with a medical professional. Only your doctor can tell you what a normal blood loss during a period should be for you and what could be causing any abnormalities.