How Much Blood Do You Lose on Your Period?

It may seem like you’re losing a lot of blood during your period, but it can be hard to tell exactly how much because there’s no good way to measure the blood you’re losing. Thus it can be hard to know if you fall into the normal range or if you should be concerned. Read on to find out more about how much blood you lose and when to consider talking to your doctor about your period blood loss.

How Much Blood Do You Lose On Your Period?

  • A total of 2.4 tablespoons (35ml) of menstrual fluid is usually what is lost but it can range anywhere from 1 to 6 tablespoons (80ml). 90% of women lose less than 6 tablespoons each cycle. For reference, a fully soaked regular tampon holds about 5ml of menstrual fluid.
  • It may seem like a lot of blood but it’s usually less than 100ml. A woman weighing 110 lb has about 3.5 liters of blood in her body so losing 100ml will not cause any health problems. On top of that, only half of menstrual fluid is blood. The rest is cervical mucus, endometrial tissue, and vaginal secretions. The blood you do lose is quickly replaced.
  • A woman can have a heavier period and lose a lot more blood. This blood may also contain clots. Anemia can occur if too much blood is lost. Extra iron may be needed in the diet to help form new blood cells to replace those lost. If your periods are very heavy it is best to see a doctor.

Some More FAQs

Q: How many years will I spend menstruating?

About 37 in Western countries. This is calculated for a woman who starts at age 12 and stops at 51 and has two full term pregnancies.

Q: About how many times will I menstruate throughout my life?

Around 460 times.

Q: About how much menstrual blood will I lose in one year?

About 450ml, that’s about the same as a small cup of soda.

Q: About how much menstrual blood will I lose in my lifetime?

Around 16 liters. That’s three times as much blood as there is in the body. That’s about the same as 31 regular sized ketchup bottles.

What Counts a Heavy Period or Menorrhagia?

Roughly 1 in 3 women would say that their periods are heavy. But, because it is difficult to know for sure how much blood do you lose on your period, it’s hard to know if your period is normal or heavy as compared to other women. Some women who think they have heavy periods are average. Some women who think they have normal periods actually have heavy periods. Around 90% of the blood loss from your period occurs in the first three days with both regular and heavy periods.

The medical definition of a heavy period is a blood loss of 60-80ml or more. That’s about half a teacup. Since it is difficult to measure the amount of blood you lose during a period, for practical purposes, a heavy period is:

  • when you often flood through clothing or bedding
  • when you frequently need to change sanitary napkins or tampons
  • when you need double the protection
  • when you pass large blood clots

Menorrhagia is a heavy flow that persists from month to month. The blood loss also causes issues with your quality of life. It affects your ability to move around, go out, or work. It can occur on its own or with other symptoms.

What Can You Do About It

There are a few different things you can try to reduce heavy menstrual bleeding:

  • Placing an ice pack on your abdomen for about 20 minutes at a time, multiple times a day while bleeding is heavy.
  • Taking vitamin C supplements to help your body absorb iron and strengthen blood vessels.
  • Increase iron intake. Some studies suggest that low iron can lead to increased menstrual bleeding.
  • Make sure to check with your doctor before you start taking any medications, including herbal and nutritional supplements.

When to See a Doctor

How much blood do you lose on your period? If you are bleeding heavily every month or are passing numerous thick, large clots, it could be a health condition. Visit your doctor to rule out any serious problems. There are sometimes other causes for blood clots like hormonal changes, menopause, or endometriosis. If you are worried, go see a doctor.

A lot of blood loss during your period can cause your iron levels to drop. This can cause anemia, which can make you feel tired and weak. Talk to your doctor if you think you may have anemia.

In other rare cases, a heavy period can be a sign of a serious problem. Call your doctor or seek medical care if:

  • You are passing clots of blood and soak through your regular pads or tampons quicker than an hour for two or more hours.
  • You are very dizzy or lightheaded, or feel like you may faint.