All too common
I'm not alone, as 69 percent of women report having had an embarrassing experience with their menstrual period, yet sadly very few of us seek help.
Now as a junior doctor and soon-to-be registrar in gynaecology, I am making it my mission to break this taboo and get women talking about HMB. It shouldn't be this 'bloody' difficult.
A recent survey by Hologie explored the experiences of 5000 Aussie women aged 35 to 52 on their menstrual journey.
Alarmingly, 76 percent of us have experienced heavy bleeding, and 28 percent live with HMB monthly.
Sadly, 50 percent of women with HMB have never discussed their symptoms with a doctor, and 46 percent have never had treatment.
Know the signs
Bleeding volume is different for everyone, but feeling weak, lacking energy, bleeding through your sanitary items, passing clots, or periods that last longer than seven days is not normal.
Sometimes a cause can be found like polyps or fibroids. Other times it is thought to be a disorder of clotting in the endometrium.
Regardless, there are options from hormonal treatments (pills and IUDs), non-hormonal options like tranexamic acid, and surgery (uterine ablation, polypectomy, hysterectomy, etc).
It will depend on the cause, your age, and fertility planning. Remember that if you are bleeding between periods, after sex, after menopause or your periods suddenly change, this can be a sign of something more sinister and needs immediate investigation.
Ideally, see your GP or gyno soon, but if reading this sparks your interest, check out the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists HMB online information page at ranzcog.edu.au and the Jean Hailes Foundation at jeanhailes.org.au
Let's help break the menstrual stigma and be part of the solution.