If you suspect that your period might be too heavy and that it disrupts your daily life, you may have a condition called menorrhagia. Medically, menorrhagia refers to losing about 5 ½ tablespoons (81 milliliters) or more of blood during your period.
To determine whether you are likely to have menorrhagia, you need to detect whether your period is in fact heavy as some women may think their period is heavy when it is in fact normal.
The following symptoms signal a heavy period (menorrhagia): lots of leaking of menstrual blood through to clothes and or bleeding, if you pass large blood clots, you need very frequent changes of sanitary pads or tampons, period blood soaks through one or more sanitary pads or tampons every hour for consecutive hours in a row, and or you experience a heavy menstrual flow that interferes with your regular lifestyle. If you have some of these symptoms, then you should see a doctor.
However, before going to see a doctor or gynecologist, it would greatly benefit you as well as the doctor to take notes and keep a detailed record of your periods. Write down the dates you start your period every month, how long they last for, the heaviness of bleeding (how many tampons or sanitary pads are completely soiled and over how long a time period). Also write down if you feel tired or experience any symptoms including any pain or cramping. Write a note of any recent changes or stressful events that have happened in your life, as they can also affect period flow. Write down medical information, if taking any medications, supplements and their names including any conditions currently being treated.
In addition, write down any questions to ask the doctor so can make the most out of the time spent with the doctor and have all your worries and concerns answered.
One point to note is that it is quite common for teenagers during their first few years after starting their periods, to encounter heavy bleeding while on their periods. Often it will take a few years for your body to get used to periods and to settle down to a regular pattern. So if you are experiencing heavy periods and go to see your doctor and take treatment as a young adult or teenager, it may not be needed after couple of years.
If you find that your period is too heavy, in that you regularly soak a tampon or sanitary pad and you find your period prevents you from participating in normal daily activities, then keep a diary when on your period to note how many tampons or menstrual pads you fill each day, pain or cramping experienced and the dates and duration of your periods. This information should then be given to your doctor as it can help the doctor evaluate how bad your symptoms are and what is needed to provide the best treatment.