Monday, November 01, 2004

Definitions of (girlie) bleeding

In the time I've hung out online with women trying to get pregnant I've had the chance to learn more of the nuances of spotting. I've heard women say that if there is any blood contained in your cervical fluid they they considered it spotting. At the end of your period though it it more residual flow, I have that too. This type of spotting tend to be brownish.

[added in this article link 2/4/06]
Menstrual Mysteries -- more info about determining problems with your menses based on quantity.

Spotting is bleeding outside of your period. I've had spotting this month and it just continued as red coloration to my cervical fluid, this is dysfunctional uterine bleeding related to my miscarriage.

Spotting also is the first sign of an impending period for many women. I'm pretty sure that this is light pinkish, with maybe a little brown as the blood oxidizes.

Heavy menstrual flow is when you need to use more than one pad an hour, though I consider this really heavy, medically referred to as Menorrhagia. Because your body is bleeding so much the chemicals that are supposed to keep the flow fluid can't work as well and you do get some coagulation -- the clots, or liver-like lumps. I find that when I have clotting I tend to get really nauseous kinda intense cramping feelings -- I think this might be the clot passing through the cervix -- when I miscarried there was a similarity to the sensation though the miscarriage was more painful in my opinion.

My previous period was unusual, again it seemed to be related to my body trying to get rid of retained tissue from my miscarriage. I had bleeding for 3-4 days that was bright red and had no clots. On toilet tissue it looked like I was dabbing at a wound, it was plain blood and without the mucus component of a normal menstrual flow. I consider this abnormal for me, though women with fibroids contacting the endometrium might experience this as a frequent event.

"Women lose between 20 and 80 cc's (1-2 ounces) of blood during a normal period." (hah! right)

This page includes diagrams and links to more information about normal/abnormal menstrual bleeding and includes a reference to fibroids (scroll down the page)

I found a lot of mention of the fact that doctors often underestimate women's blood flows and that there is a pictorial chart (see link below) that women used in one study that was a clearer indictator of blood loss. I'm sure many of us have experienced this underestimate by docs -- perhaps if those of us with heavy periods would catch the blood that pours out of us when we go to the toilet and bring it to the doctor's office they might be able to see what we go through.

The Medical Algorithms Project has a copy of the The Pictorial Blood Loss Assessment Chart (PBAC), an excel spreadsheet that helps calculate blood loss

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