Am I Number 5? The Impact of Heavy Periods on Work, Family Life & Travel

*This is a collaborative post. Please see my disclosure policy

Heavy periods affect around 1 in 5 women yet they still seem to be a little bit of a taboo subject. One of the benefits of blogging is that it gives me a platform to help and break down these taboos and today I am joining in with the 'Am I Number 5?' campaign and sharing my own story of how heavy periods affect my life. I hope that by sharing my story I will encourage others to realise that heavy periods are a medical condition and can be treated in a variety of ways - we don't need to suffer in silence. 

I’ve also had one nail painted a different colour to signify the 1 in 5 women affected by heavy periods. To take part in the campaign yourself, simply paint one of your nails a different colour and upload a photo of your painted nails to social media using #amInumber5 to help raise money for women’s health charities Wellbeing of Women and Endometriosis UK. For every photo shared, Hologic will donate £1 to their charity partners Endometriosis UK and Wellbeing of Women. Don't forget to set your post to public so it can be seen and the £1 donation made!  

My story

I guess my periods have always been fairly heavy but it wasn't until I gave birth to my children that they started to really impact on my life. My bleeding lasts around 4 days and it's the first few days that are really tough. I use double protection with heavy flow tampons/towels and have to change every 1-2 hours. Any sudden movements can lead to a 'gush' and accidents/embarrassment are just normal for me during menstruation. It has got the point where I will turn down social engagements of any type and I pretty much stay in the house apart from taking the kids to school during this time of the month. As travel is such a huge part of my life, I usually end up ordering norethisterone from an online pharmacy (it's a medication that delays your period) to take if I know my period is due during a press trip or a planned day out with the kids as there is no way I could manage to work during the first few days of my period.

Some may laugh and say that a period is no reason to stop work but if you do suffer from heavy periods or know somebody who does, it's important to recognise that it's actually a medical condition with both physical and emotional symptoms. Physical symptoms for me include horrendous headaches the day before my period is due, pain, tiredness, cramping and at times I am physically sick and feel nauseous too. Then there's the impact of heavy bleeding and the embarrassment of 'leaking' which can actually feel more like flooding. There is zero chance of me going on a night out, organising a meeting, exercising or planning a day out if I know I'm going to be menstruating (unless I use the magic pill mentioned above). 

There are emotional impacts too. I feel so frustrated that I am held back and have to cancel plans, I can get very teary and irritable and definitely spend less time with my family and put a hold on work until it's over. 

I have been to my GP about this and they recommended I try using the coil which I just wasn't keen on. Their second suggestion was a type of hormonal medication but unfortunately, I found out when I handed my prescription into the pharmacist that it had manufacturing problems and was not available. Writing this post has given me a much-needed kick up the bum and I think enough is enough, heavy periods don't need to have a massive impact on my life and there is help out there. 

If you're in a similar position to myself, I highly recommend checking out for advice on the various treatments available before making an appointment with your GP or Women's Health Clinic to discuss and plan a way forward.

I watched my mum suffer from heavy periods for her whole life which resulted in her having an early hysterectomy in her late 40s. This is obviously a fairly extreme solution and something I am keen to avoid. I think the fear that this may happen to me is something that has prevented me getting proper help but times have changed now and there are a lot more options available to help women like me now when compared to 10 years ago. 

Help is available

I have researched a few of the different options available to help treat heavy periods and they include: 

  • Endometrial ablation  
  • An IUD coil
  • Dilation and Curattage
  • Hysterectomy
  • Hormone Therapy
  • Resection and Rollerball Ablation

Prior to looking into this properly, I had no idea that there were so many options available. It's definitely time for me to head back to the GP and start taking back control of my life. 

Are you number 5 and one the 20% of women who experience heavy periods? I'd love to hear your stories so please message me or leave a comment below if you have anything to add or can recommend any treatments which have worked for you. 

I am working with Hologic and BritMums to promote the Am I Number 5? campaign. Visit for more information and advice. 



  1. Well done for being able to talk about it. My periods are practically no existent due to the implant but I know the anxiety that comes from that gushing feeling. To actually have to stop your life for it is really awful. I hope you find the solution for you.

  2. I used to suffer with really heavy painful periods till I got the implant. I get a light period once every few months which lasts a couple of days at the most.
    Good luck with getting something sorted x

  3. Oh bless you Samantha, I am also in the same boat but I'm waiting a date for my ablation at the moment which I can not wait for. I've never heard of norethisterone so that's good to know about. Do press your GP for a referal to a gynae. Mich x

  4. I absolutely feel your pain, I used to have awful heavy periods and a lot of pain. I eventually discovered that I have endometriosis. I now take desogestrel (aka cerazette), which is primarily marketed as a contraceptive pill, daily and I rarely if ever have a period, and if I do it’s not the same. I feel like I have my life back!

  5. I think we’ve talked about this together before Sam. I too suffered from very heavy periods and they impacted on my day to day life exactly as they have for you. I went back and forth to GP and it was only when a new female doctor joined the practice that I finally got somewhere. I had the endometrial ablation procedure and it completely changed my life. I’d urge you to get sorted. xx

  6. I've never heard of any of this before. I'm so glad my periods are light and don't impact on my life. Hope you find a solution soon.

  7. Well done Sam for opening up. I too suffer but only for one day during my period. But I hate that day, and like you always try to stay close to home rather than going to social events x

  8. Ah your situation sounds so similar to mine, its awful having to plan your life around your period. Hopefully there will be help!

  9. I'm currently waiting for my endometriosis specialist appointment and although there are other options available, I'm convinced I'm going to end up having a hysterectomy in the next five years. I've just had another Implanon put in place which I'm hoping will help with growths but I'm so glad this campaign is encouraging us to share our experiences so that others can go and get help.

  10. Thank you for sharing. It's something that a lot of women face but are afraid of speaking out about so well done for talking about it. Commenting on behalf of BritMums.


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