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Dealing with Heavy Periods: An Interview with Dr. Diana Ramos

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Dr. Diana Ramos is interviewed about handling heavy periods Eyecandy Images/Thinkstock

If you dread that time of the month, you are not alone. Many women have heavy periods, which can interfere in their everyday lives.

About 10 million women in the United States have menorrhagia, or heavy periods, according to the National Women’s Health Resource Center.

But despite the effects that a heavy period can have, very few women talk to their health care providers, and as a result, do not find out about treatments that can improve their quality of life.

Dr. Diana Ramos, an assistant clinical professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Keck USC School of Medicine, California, talked to EmpowHER about heavy periods: how they affect women, and how women can talk to their health care providers.

What is a normal period? What are signs that a woman has unusually heavy periods?

Dr. Ramos:
It is difficult to define what a “normal” period is for most women, but the following are signs and symptoms of heavy monthly periods:

• Soaking through one or more sanitary pads or tampons every hour for several consecutive hours

• Needing to use double sanitary protection

• Needing to wake up to change sanitary protection during the night

• Passing large blood clots with menstrual flow

An online survey conducted on behalf of Bayer asked women about their periods. What was found?

Dr. Ramos:
The omnibus survey of 1,200 women showed that more than 1 out of 10 women cope with heavy monthly periods. The survey also revealed that women go to extreme lengths to cope with the condition, such as doubling up on pads or tampons and replacing them every hour.

To deal with heavy monthly periods, women also report restricting daily activities, such as not wearing a bathing suit (50 percent), missing days of work (20 percent), and even missing a date (16 percent).

Additionally, other interesting survey facts revealed:

• Two in three (65 percent) heavy menstrual sufferers say when they have their period, they feel like staying in bed all day

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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