I'm simplifying things here:

A. Does a woman bleed constantly, like a drop every 10 minutes? Two hours without pad or tampon and your underwear is dirty?


B. Does a woman bleed suddenly a bigger amount of menstruation fluid? Then hours might pass before it happens again?


C. Both.

Might be a stupid question. I'm sorry. I read all the other information on the internet but no one answers this one for some reason. I read girls should change the pads and tampons a few times a day (like every 6 hours). Does that mean A is correct?

Thanks for any helpful information!

(Well, I guess I'm male.)

What I want to know: If I was a woman, how would I experience the days of period bleedings? From what I read in the comments and answer(s), one should expect A (constant bleeding) and should wear pads/tampons all the time (for 2 to 7 days) and sometimes one could also experience an exceptional heavier bleeding (B)? Are there (healthy) women who would experience B most of the time? I visited Wikipedia and other random sites but they all have the other important information without answering my question. (Also I will be glad to accept an answer, which satisfies my need for knowledge.)

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    $\begingroup$ It would help the quality of your question if you cite the websites that you read that weren't helpful. $\endgroup$ – Anne Jan 27 '15 at 17:32
  • $\begingroup$ This isn't much of an answer but here goes... Two things; it depends on which day of the period it is. There can be rather brief, heavy bleeding on the later part of the first day or sometime during the second. On most others days, the bleeding will be lighter with drop every now and again. I think most women would agree with me on the fact that when there is a rather heavy flow it can be felt. So, to boil things down, the correct answer is C :) If you want me to make this an answer I'd be happy to! :) $\endgroup$ – L.B. Jan 30 '15 at 2:30
  • $\begingroup$ @L.B. Sure make an answer. See the edit in the Q first. $\endgroup$ – Donkey Jan 30 '15 at 10:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Donkey, to find out, you really have to go through one yourself and find out how your own cycles are like. It's kind of like printer ink--> there is some adjustment/irregularity in the beginning, then it should be predictable/regular. $\endgroup$ – Anne Feb 2 '15 at 2:32

This isn't much of an answer but here goes... Two things; it depends on which day of the period it is. There can be rather brief, heavy bleeding on the later part of the first day or sometime during the second. On most others days, the bleeding will be lighter with drop every now and again. I think most women would agree with me on the fact that when there is a rather heavy flow it can be felt. So, to boil things down, the correct answer is C. Here are a couple of links to sites that will back me up on this: Advice From AnnaMarie and Center for Young Women's Health.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't know, I can't vote (yet). So it's just like comments and answers suggest, you put the answer in actual words. Speaking of additional questions: How would one notice the bleeding has started? Except going to bathroom or checking, can one feel not being clean, even if it is a simple light bleeding on the first day? $\endgroup$ – Donkey Feb 2 '15 at 6:52
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    $\begingroup$ I would say you have downvotes because you are providing anecdotal evidence or experience which isnt based on research. Sure you could be right but your answer is based on a small subset either you if you are a woman or women you know. It comes down to what is your proof that this is how it works? Now compare your answer with the one with the most up votes. Do you see a difference? $\endgroup$ – dustin Feb 2 '15 at 17:11

The answer is both. Different women experience menstruation differently depending on the levels of different hormones in their body, personal medical conditions, medications, on their age, and the activities they do in their lives. Bleeding is due to the sloughing off of the highly vascularized endometrial lining of uterus which is no longer receiving the appropriate levels of progesterone for its maintenance from the corpus luteum, in the absence of an implanted embryo in the uterus. You can imagine how different this common event would be if a woman was taking warfarin, had a bleeding or coagulation disorder, had polycystic ovarian syndrome, was a runner, or was a 13-year-old vs a 41-year-old. It varies!


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    $\begingroup$ Are sudden bleeds common? $\endgroup$ – One Face Jan 28 '15 at 1:02
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    $\begingroup$ @CRags, they can be, and it could or could not be "normal." It really depends on how it affects the quality of life of the woman. Possible causes of sudden heavy menstrual bleeding may be due to leiomyomas, thick endometrial lining, hormonal imbalances, blood thinning medications, etc. For other causes, see mayoclinic. Sudden is also a subjective descriptor, because some women are more atuned to their bodies than others and can tell when they might menstruate, preparing ahead of time. $\endgroup$ – Anne Jan 28 '15 at 5:44
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answer. I knew about menorrhagia. My idea was that consistent heavy bleeding would be present. The phrase “sudden bleeding” sounded like bleeding heavily but inconsistently. I wanted to know if such cases existed. $\endgroup$ – One Face Jan 28 '15 at 6:37
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    $\begingroup$ @CRags, yes I believe such cases exist, but I know this only from peers. I am in the medical field, but am not an OB-GYN, who would be the best person to give credit to my answer. $\endgroup$ – Anne Jan 28 '15 at 17:49
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    $\begingroup$ Heavy menstrual bleeding affects anywhere between 20-40% of women in countries such as the US and Britain but elsewhere is unknown. See BMJ. It is very common for women to experience changes in their menstruation in terms of quantity of blood loss and even frequency of menstruation depending on change in lifestyle, hormones, medication but it depends on what exactly she changed. A range of variation is very common even in the same woman. $\endgroup$ – Anne Jan 29 '15 at 20:28

Basically there is every variation under the sun possibly but I have structured my answer so that the more common variations are earlier.

On average a woman loses around 30-40 ml of fluid, this is a combination of mucous, secretions, endometrial tissue and around 50% blood. Because of this it is a slightly darker colour than just regular old blood. This of course varies with women with blood disorders or taking medication to "thin" the blood bleeding a lot more. The second day is typically the worst. On the worst day a woman may use 3-6 pads but this can be substantially more and changing every 2-3 hours is not uncommon. It is most typically more or less constant with some worse moments in the day, but there is a huge variation.

Clots are quite common but not all women get them. They're typically more common in older females and may look just like tissue. The size of these clots can very from the size of peas to grapes and even larger than 6-7cm in some women. This is a little more worrying as this may cause anaemia or iron deficiency unlike the regular bleeding above which typically doesn't. Women affected with blood clots are much more likely to have pain.

Pain itself is more common in younger women. However usually this settles down and usually it is not painful enough to affect daily activities. In some women however they get dysmennorrhea which basically means painful uterine cramps. This is because the blood flow to the uterus is restricted due to the hormone balance and the muscle is contracting really powerfully. The lack of blood flow causes the muscle to get starved of oxygen and the pain is said to be similar to angina or like a heart attack (both being caused by a similar mechanism).

Menorrhagia is the medical term for heavy periods. This is characterised by more than 80 ml of fluid each month and affects 1 in 10 women. Usually this is diagnosed by the number of pads and tampons used. Women affected by this may require to double protect, use both a tampon and pad. They may also take a number of extra underwear or trousers to work. The symptom affecting these women is termed flooding. Unexpectedly they get a "flood" which just basically goes everywhere and is uncontrollable and is usually quite a lot of volume. This is sometimes due to an underlying disease, of which, is most commonly fibroids but may also be contraceptive devices that go into the womb/uterus, blood thinners or polycystic ovary syndrome.

There is however much variation. Some women will have only 10ml or so of blood (light periods) and that's normal for them. Some women may have irregular bleeding lasting all month. Other women may have longer periods such as 10 or even 20 days per cycle. And then cycles themselves can vary from short (20 or so days) to very long with only a few cycles per year. Basically there is every variation possible under the sun.


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