Having a heavy period is nothing to be embarrassed about, but it can certainly feel like a nuisance. Once you learn to manage your heavy period, you’ll feel more confident and comfortable during that time of the month.
Method One of Four:
Confronting Medical ConcernsEdit
1Discuss your period with your doctor. If your heavy period bothers you, talk to your doctor about ways to make it better. If it’s right for you, they can give you medicine (usually birth control) to make your period less heavy. When you go for your visit be ready to tell them how often you get your periods and how long they last, and about how many pads or tampons you use in a day.
- Sometimes a hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) can help with heavy periods. It depends on which kind of IUD is used – non-hormonal IUDs may increase bleeding.
2Have a blood test to check your hormone balance. Sometimes, heavy menstrual bleeding is caused by an imbalance in your hormones. If heavy bleeding is a consistent problem for you, ask your doctor about getting your hormone levels checked. This can be done with a simple blood test. Your doctor can give you medication, usually birth control, to regulate any unbalanced hormones.
3Get checked for uterine growths if you develop heavier periods. Uterine polyps and uterine fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) growths that can occur in the uterus and cause heavier bleeding. These usually develop in your 20’s-30’s. If you had normal periods in the past that have become heavier, ask your doctor about the possibility of uterine growths.
- Another condition called adenomyosis causes heavy bleeding and painful cramps. Ask your doctor about this if you’re middle-aged and have had children – that’s when this condition most commonly occurs.
4Consider other medical issues as a possible cause for your heavy periods. Some women just have heavier periods than others; in some cases, however, medical conditions cause heavy menstruation. These can be diagnosed with a physical exam, ultrasound, biopsy, or other procedure. If you want to understand your heavy period, work with your doctor to rule out the following possible causes:
- A bleeding disorder that you inherited from your parents; you will probably have other signs of easy bleeding other than your heavy period
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Thyroid disfunction
- Kidney or liver problems
- Cancers of the uterus, cervix, or ovaries (rarely)
5Watch out for anemia. Iron deficiency anemia can occur if you have really heavy periods. This is when you lose so much blood that it depletes how much iron you have in your body. You will likely feel tired or fatigued. You might also have pale skin, a sore tongue, headaches or dizziness, or a fast heartbeat. If you think you’re anemic, go to your doctor to get your iron level checked.
- Preempt your blood loss by taking a multivitamin that has iron in it, or ask your doctor whether you should take an iron supplement.
- It can also help to eat iron-rich foods like red meat, seafood, spinach, and fortified cereals and breads.
- Get enough vitamin C to enhance how your body absorbs iron. Eat foods like oranges, broccoli, leafy greens, and tomatoes.
- If you feel dizzy or notice that your heart pounds whenever you get up, it is a sign that you may have low blood volume. Drink more fluids including something salty, such as tomato juice or a salty broth.
6See your doctor if you have a missed, irregular, or extremely heavy period. An extremely heavy flow is one where you soak nine to 12 tampons or pads during your period. Periods come in all shapes and sizes, but some issues suggest you should talk to your doctor about what’s going on. Make an appointment to see your regular doctor or your gynecologist if you have any of the following problems:
- You miss your period, if you’ve been having them regularly.
- Your period lasts longer than 7 days.
- You bleed so heavily you need to change pads or tampons more than every 1-2 hours.
- You have debilitating cramps.
- Your period goes from being regular to being irregular.
- You have bleeding in between your periods.
7Seek emergency medical care if you have signs of toxic shock syndrome. Be sure to change tampons at least every 8 hours – leaving one in for longer can increase your chances of infection or toxic shock syndrome (TSS). TSS can be a serious medical problem, so go to the hospital or see your doctor right away if you’re using a tampon and have symptoms of TSS, such as:
- Sudden fever
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- A rash like a sunburn on your hands or feet
- Muscle aches
Method Two of Four:
Feeling More Confident and ComfortableEdit
1Keep track of your period. Write down what day it starts, how heavy it is each day, when it stops, and how you feel each day. This record can help you predict your next period so you’ll be prepared for it. The average cycle is 28 days long, though this varies from person to person. A cycle may last anywhere from 21 to 35 days in an adult, or 21 to 45 days in a teen. Look back over three months of your notes and count how many days it is between when your period started one month to the next – taking the average of three months will give you a good idea of when to expect your next period.
- It takes some time for your period to get regular – the first few months or even the first year of your period might not be very consistent.
- It can be helpful to show this record to your doctor or gynecologist if you ever want to discuss your heavy period with them.
2Carry a day’s worth of products with you. Keep enough pads or tampons in your purse, bag, inner jacket pocket, or backpack to last you an entire day. You probably will have to carry more menstrual products than others, because your heavy period requires extra protection for your clothes. When you need to change your product, excuse yourself and go to the bathroom – you’ll already have what you need with you.
- If people ask you why you keep going to the bathroom, just say that you drank a lot of water earlier. You can also say, “I am not feeling too well today,” or something else vague.
3Stash extra products in several secret places. Keep extra tampons, pads, and panty liners in your car, your locker at school, your purse, or that spare pocket of your backpack. If you have extra products in several different places it’s unlikely that you’ll be caught without one, even if you have overflow.
- You can make a small period travel-kit with a couple of pads and tampons, some ibuprofen for cramps, and even a spare set of underwear – just in case.
- If you have limited space, just put 1-2 pads or tampons in your secret spots. They don’t take up much space and can at least get you through a few hours.
- If you happen to run out, many school and office bathrooms have machines that sell tampons cheaply. The school nurse might have supplies, too. Some schools may even have a free tampons and pads program.
4Manage your cramps with over-the-counter medicine. Often, people with a heavy period get painful, long-lasting cramps. It’s appropriate to take pain medicine for uncomfortable cramps. Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), and naproxen (Aleve) can minimize cramp pain. Start taking medicine when you first start noticing symptoms, and take it regularly for 2-3 days or until your cramps subside. 
- If you regularly get painful cramps, you can preemptively start taking medicine as soon as you get your period.
- For severe cramps, your doctor can prescribe stronger pain medicine, like Ponstel.
- Only take medicine as directed by your doctor or the label. Talk to your doctor before using any medicine if you have health problems.
5Treat your cramps with natural remedies. If you don’t want to take medicine for your cramps, try natural solutions for pain relief. Take a hot shower or put a hot water bottle on your abdomen. Distract yourself with a good book or puzzle to take your mind off your discomfort. Elevate your legs and get some rest. Other ideas for minimizing cramps naturally include:
- Take a walk or do some light exercise, like yoga.
- Meditate to lower your stress.
- Avoid caffeine.
Method Three of Four:
1Change your menstrual hygiene products often. A normal flow requires 3-6 pads or tampons per day on average, but for a heavy flow you may need to change your hygiene product every 3-4 hours – or more. You’ll learn your flow and be better able to gauge how regularly you need to change your hygiene product.
2Learn to use a variety of menstrual hygiene products. Sometimes with heavy periods using a pad can make you feel nervous or dirty. Nobody else will know if you’re using a pad or not, but if you feel uncomfortable with them then try to learn to use other methods. Tampons and menstrual cups can help keep you dry throughout the day and are probably more comfortable if you’re being active. If you change your tampon regularly enough, you can even swim during heavy flow days.
- Consider using a menstrual cup. Some of them have a greater capacity than pads or tampons and you don't need to carry any supplies throughout the day.
- A lot of young people have trouble with tampons and cups at first, so don’t be embarrassed if you find it difficult. Ask your mom, other female relative, friend, or doctor to give you advice on using them. You can also ask male relatives if you feel they'll be understanding - or use WikiHow!
3Use the right absorbency for your flow. Tampons and pads come in different shapes and absorbency. Make sure you’re using the right ones for your heavy flow. “Super” tampons and “overnight pads” offer more protection to your clothes and linens. If you don’t have overnight pads – which are generally longer and thicker – try using two pads when you go to bed, one in the front and one in the back of your underwear.Advertisement
Method Four of Four:
Dealing with AccidentsEdit
1Stay calm if you overflow. Sometimes, overflow happens. In fact, it’s happened to most at one time or another. If you bleed through onto your sheets at night, rinse the sheets in cold water and then immediately put them into the wash. If you bleed into your underwear, you can try washing them (separately or with dark colors), or just throw them away at the end of the day. Worst case scenario is that you bleed into your pants or skirt – do what you can to get through the day by tying a sweater around your waist or, if you must, going home early. Shower, change, and move on with your day stress-free.
- Talk about your accident with someone you trust. Remember that 50% of the world has dealt with periods – it’s likely that someone you know has had an overflow accident, too. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to talk about it and how you feel.
2Wear dark clothes and underwear while on your period. If you’ve experienced overflow bleeding, be prepared for next time. When you’re on your period, wear black underwear and pants. If you do have some spotting, it won’t be noticeable. You can even set aside a set of dark undies to wear only when you’re on your period.
3Double up on your hygiene products. Using more than one type of menstrual hygiene product can be really effective in minimizing overflow bleeding. If you sometimes bleed through your tampons, use a panty liner or pad, too. That way you have some backup in case you don’t get to change your tampon in time.
- THINX period panties can also be a good backup method to a cup or tampon. THINX are made so that you can bleed right into them, then wash them out and reuse them. They hold anywhere from ½ to 2 or 3 tampons worth of blood depending on the style, and are available to purchase online.
4Be vigilant. Get used to “checking on things” every hour or two. Make a quick bathroom stop in between classes or as a short work break. Check your underwear and pad, and do a wipe test if you’re using a tampon – if there’s blood on the toilet tissue after you urinate, you may be about to bleed through your tampon.
5Protect your bedding with towels. Put a dark towel down on your sheets while you sleep to protect your bedding and mattress from accidental leaking. You can also try using overnight pads that have wings; these offer more protection from spillage.Advertisement
Can I use an absorbent cloth during my periods?
- There is no reason why you can't. An absorbent cloth may be helpful if you suffer from a rash from synthetic pads or if you get worse menstrual cramps from tampons. Also, some people make their own reusable menstrual products.
I have to use super plus tampons and I'm 13. Am I the only one my age who has to do this? And do you have any tips?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- You're definitely not the only one. A lot of young females have heavy flows. If you find that the bleeding is excessive and uncontrollable, I'd recommend speaking with a doctor, to make sure everything's okay health-wise. As for tips: Double-up on protection, wear a pad and a tampon to avoid leaks but wear dark clothes just in case and always keep extra supplies on hand.
What if you are at school, your pad/tampon overflows, and you're out of product?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- If you happen to forget or run out, fold toilet paper and sit it in your underwear. Then wrap toilet paper around your underwear where your vagina sits. it can help to have a jacket on hand just in case you bleed through that. You can also ask the school nurse or a female teacher for help.
Can I take a shower during a heavy period?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- There's no reason why you can't, although it may seem a pain due to the large blood flow. Before getting in the shower, if you wear pads, put a pad on your clean underwear ready to put on straight away after showering. Leave a roll of toilet paper next to the shower so as soon as you get out, you can use it to wipe your pubic area to avoid staining towels. Then quickly go to sit on the toilet in case any dripping starts and put your pad/tampon on.
The best way to deal with a heavy period is to use high absorbency pads or tampons and change them out every 3-4 hours. If you overflow, stay calm, take a shower, and change into clean, dark clothes. If your heavy flow bothers you, talk to your doctor about making your period lighter with birth control or getting tested for medical problems that may be causing your heavy flow. For advice from our Medical reviewer on how to treat painful cramps, read on!
- Wear nighttime pads in the day or multiple pads on top of each other(and rip the top one off).
- Talk to someone you trust about your period concerns. If you feel comfortable confiding in one of your friends, tell them about your heavy period and your feelings about it. Talk to your mom or older relative – they’ve likely been through it too.
- If you use tampons, soreness in the genital area (vulva) can sometimes happen. This is usually due to removing your tampons too early when the cotton is still dry; or, if you bleed very heavily, changing the tampon a lot in one day. If soreness is bothering you, try taking a break from tampons and using pads for a few hours. Using a pad overnight instead of a tampon can also be a good way to let your vagina rest.
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Reader Success Stories
MG"This helped me a lot ,but during class I am only allowed to use the restroom once. I had an overflow with no protection materials. Next time I know to be prepared."..." more
RB"The frank advice helped. I am a woman in my 40s, and have not read such good, practical advice anywhere before!"
ET"I have heavy periods, and this has helped me to know what to do more to prevent leaking."
C"The pictures and question and answers helped."
VA"I always experience heavy periods."
DK"Thanks, it helped me a lot."
JS"Made me more confident."