#BreakTheSilence | There’s no need for shame: Menorrhagia is manageable and affects around 25% of women

(Image: Getty Images)
(Image: Getty Images)

Menorrhagia, aka heavy bleeding, refers to experiencing a heavy or prolonged menstrual flow during your cycle. The symptoms associated with menorrhagia include having a period last longer than 7 days and having a blood loss that exceeds 80ml during your period as the average period duration lasts between 2 - 7 days and its blood loss averages between 30ml - 50ml per period. While around 25% of women are likely to experience or have menorrhagia, it's a condition that's frustratingly not widely spoken about.

Dealing with the effects of menorrhagia and the stigma around menstrual bleeding can often lead to feelings of embarrassment and ostracisation, but there’s no reason to carry that shame. These brave women are speaking out about their experience and breaking the shame around menorrhagia.

Watch the video below for more information:

Advice from Dr Sindi Van Zyl:

Well known South African physician Dr Sindi Van Zyl says this about Menorrhagia:

"Heavy periods are not normal, if you have heavy periods, you need to see a doctor or a nurse commission and make sure that you find out why you have heavy periods. There are medications that can help manage it and natural options as well," says Dr Van Zyl. She adds that one should not sit home in silence thinking it's the norm as menorrhagia can have debilitating effects like dizziness, headaches and even the possibility of anaemia.

"I think the one thing that we're concerned about when it comes to heavy bleeding is anaemia. So anaemia is when you have a low haemoglobin count - haemoglobin is used to transport oxygen around your body. If you don't have enough oxygen around your body, you feel dizzy, you feel lightheaded, you have consistent headaches, you become pale - your hands are pale, your tongue is pale, your eyes are pale and so on," Dr Van Zyl explains.

Her advice not only stems from her medical background, but from her own personal experience with menorrhagia. "When I was younger and I started my period, my period would go on for seven days and it was very heavy from the first day to the last day. I grew up thinking that was the norm, because I was a woman now and heavy periods and painful periods were part of life. But when I started working as a medical doctor I realised that, no, this is not the norm. It's not okay to have periods that are so heavy that you feel dizzy, and it's debilitating," she elaborates.

Dr Van Zyl urges women who feel that they might have menorrhagia or the symptoms associated with it to visit a doctor or nurse commission to find the cause of their symptoms and get appropriate treatment options to help them manage it as it is manageable. 

This post is sponsored by 3Sixty Biomedicine produced by Brandstudio24 for Health24.

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