How Much Blood Do You Lose During A Period And Why You Need To Know It

Date June 6, 2018

A period, or monthly menstrual bleeding, caused by the necessity to shed the old endometrium, is a common and natural physiological process known to every woman of a childbearing age. The beginning of a new menstrual cycle is considered be the first day of regular bleeding, the middle of it is ovulation or the release of an egg cell ready to be fertilized from the dominant follicle into the uterine tube, and its further progression to the uterine cavity.

Starting from there the endometrium begins to thicken - in this way the body prepares for a possible pregnancy. If fertilization does not occur it becomes useless, so it is detached and removed from the uterine cavity along with some blood and mucus. Actually, this is what menstrual discharge consists of. The blood is there because the integrity of the blood vessels is compromised during the removal of the excess endometrium.

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Normal menstruation lasts for 3-7 days, it is characterized by regularity, as well as the absence of severe pain and fatigue. The blood loss, in this case, is up to 250 ml per cycle and can reach 40-50 ml, or 2-3 tablespoons, per day, even if it may seem much more than that. This is explained quite simply: menstrual discharge doesn’t consist of blood only. There is also detached uterine lining (endometrium) and mucus, which explains the volume.

However, we are more interested in the exact amount of blood a woman loses during a period. In fact, fluctuations in volume, as well as a decrease or increase in the duration of menstruation, often indicate pathological processes and changes, which can be figured out by paying attention to the hygiene products used and the amount of secretions. It is this information that will help you calculate blood loss.

1. Scanty

The scanty discharge doesn’t require frequent replacement of hygiene products – there may be only a few drops of blood on the only sanitary pad used in a whole day. This amount corresponds to about 5-6 grams.

2. Very light

Very light discharge requires changing a hygiene product 1-2 times a day. In this case, the volume of blood loss is 6-9 g.

3. Light

Light discharge is characterized by the necessity to change a pad or a tampon up to 4 times a day. In this case, 9-12 g of blood is lost.

4. Medium

The need to replace the hygiene product with medium discharge occurs every 4 hours. As a rule, these are pads and tampons tagged "normal", and the blood loss is 12-15 g.

5. Heavy

Heavy menstrual discharge usually requires hygienic products marked "super". They need to be changed every 3-4 hours. The blood loss, in this case, is 15-18 g.

Please note: if you need to change pads or tampons of increased absorption capacity every 1-2 hours, the bleeding is abnormally high and you require urgent medical attention.

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It is also important to remember that the flow is heavier in the first two days of menstruation, after which it gradually decreases in intensity. However, when calculating the volume of blood loss, only the total amount of the whole period is relevant, not, say, for a certain day.

Don’t forget, that the duration of menstruation, as well as the flow intensity, are individual for every woman and can depend on various factors - genetics, body constitution etc. A flow, which is too poor or, on the contrary, too heavy, often indicates an abnormality. Still, some changes can occur even in the body of a healthy woman, for example, in new living conditions. Monitoring the volume of menstrual blood loss is important, as it allows you to spot a problem immediately. Meanwhile, don’t self-diagnose or self-medicate! To determine the cause of any alarming changes, consult a doctor.

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This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.