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menstrual cup users - "average flow" experiment?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I've heard from multiple sources that a woman's menstrual flow during a normal/healthy/average period is about 2 ounces. I think Diva International says 2.5 ounces and I just found an online source that says:
Quote:
During normal menstruation the average woman loses about 2 ounces (60 ml) or less of blood. Menorrhagia is the medical term for significantly heavier bleeding. Menorrhagia occurs in 9 - 14% of all women and can be caused by a number of factors. Women often overestimate the amount of blood lost during their periods. Clot formation is fairly common during heavy bleeding and is not a cause for concern. However, women should consult their doctor if any of the following occurs:

* Soaking through at least one pad or tampon every hour for several hours.
* Heavy periods that regularly last 10 or more days.
* Bleeding between periods or during pregnancy. Spotting or light bleeding between periods is common in girls just starting menstruation and sometimes during ovulation in young adult women, but it is still a good idea to speak with a doctor.
The inside of the Diva Cup is marked with 1/4 ounce and 1/2 ounce lines. I've read posts from people here referring to how often cups fill up, sometimes they leak, sometimes they need to be emptied more often (like on heavy days). It seems to me that maybe the "average" is off? 2 ounces doesn't seem like a whole lot when I take a look at that cup and think of how often many women seem to empty it.

How does the medical community arrive at their averages? Seems to me that menstrual cups would be the best way to collect info. The proliferation of treatments for women who have periods that are "too long" or "too heavy" worries me, how do we know what is actually abnormally long/heavy? Who is making the "rules" for how long/heavy/frequent a woman's periods should be?

So, out of curiosity, I'm keeping track of my flow during this period. Anybody want to join me or share previously collected info/observations?

I should mention that for the past few "cycles" (if I can even call them that, past 5 mos or so) my body has been sputtering back to normal. Reese is currently 15 mos old and I had some spotting at 10 mos PP, then again at 12 mos, some prolonged spotting, but then definite cervical mucus/position changes consistent with ovulation and now a definite (and heavy) period. I followed a similar sputter-then-heavy-period pattern after Griff, then had a very regular cycle with not-too-heavy periods. So hopefully this one will not be typical after this. But still, I don't expect it to be amazingly light after this, either.

It might be interesting to note that when I started using the Diva, I noticed that I could wear it approximately twice as long as I would wear a tampon. So on heavy days, I might need to change tampons every hour - which fits the first criterion for menorrhagia above. I have never had any symptoms which I considered to indicate that this was a problem, and I've heard similar experiences from many friends. We can hardly *all* be abnormal, right?

So far:
Day 1: light day. Total of about 0.25 oz all day.

Day 2:
5:30 AM woke up to leaky Diva, cup at/over .5 oz
7:30 AM cup at .25 oz
9:30 AM felt leak while shopping, cup at/over .5 oz
10:30 AM checked cup, .25 oz
11:30 AM checked cup, .125 oz
2:17 PM .25 oz

total so far: 2.125 oz (but since the cup leaked overnight and while shopping this morning, I have to assume there was more than that. I had a pad on for backup but can't measure that amount.)

I'm expecting 1-2 more heavy days and nights. I would not consider this to be an unhealthy period, despite what the stuff quoted above says.
post #2 of 16
Back when I was on the pill my periods averaged .5 oz a day for 3-4 days, so I'd say I fell in their range on 2 ounces.

I'd do a experiment while not on the pill, but I haven't had a period since I got off the pill and got pregnant. I'm waiting on it to show up...
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Should I hope AF shows up soon for you? (and , I just saw your sig, I'm sorry for your loss, mama)

Yeah, while on the pill I definitely had shorter and lighter periods. On the one hand, it was nice. On the other hand, I'm leery of how our society seems to view menstruation, that minimizing or eliminating it is a good thing. I really wonder what is truly normal for adult women who are not on the pill.

Hmmm, and I also wonder if the norms would be different for women who have been pregnant versus women who have never been pregnant.

I'm up another ounce (two dumps) since posting, putting me over 3 oz total in about 2 days. Yowza!
post #4 of 16
Normal adult women who are not on the pill (and are married/sexually active, which I'd say is the norm for most women in all societies throughout history) spend years at a time either pregnant or ammenorheal due to lactation. So I'd say monthly unchecked periods for years at a time is the more abnormal state than lightening/eliminating them when putting off/avoiding childbearing and/or prematurely weaning.
post #5 of 16
I am newly pg, but I have definitely noticed that I have had much more than the 2 oz 'average'. I have always had heavy periods though, which I thought was normal for a long time(from a post on another site, I learned that not everyone deals with heavy flow). I would guess that I had days where I had 2 oz flow or so, as I would usually empty at .5-.75 oz 4+ times per day. Very heavy days had me at .75 oz every 2 hours!
post #6 of 16
I lose WAY more than 2 ounces a cycle. Probably closer to 4-5 ounces each the first 2 heavy days. Both my mother and my grandmother, in addition to my maternal aunts, all had heavier flows the older they got. I'm only 34, so this makes me nervous!
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravin View Post
Normal adult women who are not on the pill (and are married/sexually active, which I'd say is the norm for most women in all societies throughout history) spend years at a time either pregnant or ammenorheal due to lactation. So I'd say monthly unchecked periods for years at a time is the more abnormal state than lightening/eliminating them when putting off/avoiding childbearing and/or prematurely weaning.
That's a good point.

I'm wondering, though...what would be normal for women who don't use hormonal birth control and practice extended breastfeeding?
post #8 of 16
interesting, interesting...
I'll add my 0.02$, since I am so far from your own experiences. If I'm really going strong with a period, I will get just under 2 oz, but usually it is closer to 1.5oz. I recently came across the "normal" numbers too, and was alarmed because my first thought was that this is contributing to our ttc issues. (13months and counting) Who knows if it is, but I'm trying to just relax about it, because there really isn't anything any of us can do to make menstrual flow heavier or lighter.

Katia
post #9 of 16
That's 2 ounces OF BLOOD. The majority of menstrual flow is water and mucus.

I have the Keeper, which doesn't have measuring lines, but it's about the same size as the Diva. I often fill it every 3 hours on my second day without feeling dizzy or otherwise showing signs of excessive bleeding.
post #10 of 16
I used Diva for 2 cycles, then my Mooncup finally arrived and I used that. I will say that on day 2 of my cycles, I fill up the cup completttteeeely at least 4 times just on day 2 of my 7 day cycle. Day one I might fill up once. Day 3, I fill it up probably 2-3 times at most, and from there on, I don't even fill up half way until peetering out to spotting on day 7. I prefer Diva (as does my 13 year old daughter, after trying Mooncup this month) because it holds more, has the measurement lines, and is "skinnier and longer". Mooncup is great, though, no doubt about it. If I HAVE to choose, though, it's Diva. I'd rcommend either one for whomever, w/ no bias when it comes down to it besides personal preference, as they both serve the same purpose, both silicone, both comfy, both CHEAP for 10 yeas, and both saving the planet one cycle at a time!
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post
That's 2 ounces OF BLOOD. The majority of menstrual flow is water and mucus.

I have the Keeper, which doesn't have measuring lines, but it's about the same size as the Diva. I often fill it every 3 hours on my second day without feeling dizzy or otherwise showing signs of excessive bleeding.
Again I wonder how the medical community got this measurement. I could imagine some researcher getting a bunch of women to use menstrual cups and getting data on the quantity of flow (blood + mucus). But how the heck would they get data on how much blood alone is shed, separate from the other fluids in there?

BTW, grand total of menstrual flow for me through yesterday (seemed to end last night) was about 6 oz. We'll have to see if this was just a heavy PP period before transitioning to a lighter cycle or if this is the new "normal". Gotta love how the body resets after each baby.

Edited to add that I also do not feel that my periods are excessively heavy. I have no reason to be concerned about volume of blood loss - no concerning symptoms. My point is not that I think I'm abnormal, my point is that I suspect that the medical community is using bogus info...or that they at least need to indicate a RANGE of normal instead of just an average amount.

Edited again to add that I've been googling methods of measuring blood loss and it looks like a sample can be collected and washed and analyzed for quantity of hemoglobin. Makes sense. But again, it would be nice for medical info printed in books and on websites to clarify this when providing info to women.
post #12 of 16
Just to throw in another variable, many times when someone switches to mama cloth they comment on how their periods are lighter.

Averages are always a problem, after all just because someone's several standard deviations from the average doesn't mean they're "abnormal".
post #13 of 16
I measured when I first got my Diva cup because I just knew my (male) health teacher was wrong in middle school and I got 17 ounces in one cycle not including clots that came out while on the toilet. I do get dizziness and I know that my period is very heavy, but it was interesting to find out just how much.
post #14 of 16

I was done nursing 4 years ago, my youngest being 6. I have my tubes tied therefore I do not use hormonal birth control. I average 3.5 oz for what is a normal period for me.
 

post #15 of 16
I just started using the DIva Cup for the first time yesterday. I have had two children now aged 6 and 8. I wore it for 8 hours on the first day of my cycle and emptied at .5 ounces. Then I went out to dinner and wore it for 3 hours with a pad as backup. I emptied it Completely full at 1 oz. and a full pad. I stayed up for another two hours and emptied a completely full cup at 1 oz. I woke up twice during the night and emptied the cup at .75 to 1 oz each time. I am wearing a pad as backup but I plan to change my cup every two to three hours or so throughout the duration of my period. So it looks like ive had about 4.5 oz. on the first day. My period just started this month but I'm curious to see what others have found "normal".
post #16 of 16

I can bring the average down for you! I tend to use mine for 12 hours at a time two days/cycle (because there are only 2 days with heavy enough flow to warrant a cup), and on those two days, I rarely fill past the 7.5 mL (1/4 oz?) line, so I would say my two days combined would give me 15 mL (1/2 oz) and in addition to that, I have another 2 days of light flow and then spotting. Altogether, I *might* make it to 1 oz across my whole period, but I suspect that it is less than that.

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