A heavy period awareness month. That’s happening in November in the Netherlands, where around 500,000 women suffer from heavy menstrual blood loss (HMB). Only 54% of these women visit a GP. The rest just keeps on going while suffering from serious menstrual problems. Because they think having heavy periods is just part of being a woman (60%) or because they aren’t aware of the fact HMB is a medical condition with various treatment options. The new countrywide information campaign Bloedserieus (which translates as ‘Bloody serious’) wants to change this.
Enormous impact on physical and emotional wellbeing
Heavy menstrual bleeding, also called menorrhagia, affects 1 in every 5 women between the ages of 35 and 55 and has an enormous impact on their physical and emotional wellbeing. Think for example about the practical problems, such as having to change menstrual products every hour, avoiding wearing light-coloured clothes, or always being afraid of leaking in public. Heavy periods also affect the sex life, leisure time and self-esteem of the over 1,000 Dutch women with HMB-complaints who participated in the survey. They report feeling extremely tired (85%) or depressed (40%), taking a sick day from work (40%) and cancelling exercising or sporting activities (62%).
Raising awareness of heavy periods
Despite its severity, not many people discuss their HMB-complaints or talk about how the condition disrupts their life. The information campaign Bloedserieus encourages women who suffer from heavy periods to share their stories, with each other and with their doctors. Because more attention for this bloody serious problem is needed. No less than 35% of the women would have been more likely to visit their GP if they had known that heavy periods are a medical condition, and 28% if they had known there were treatment options.
Therefore, in the Netherlands the entire month of November is dedicated to raising awareness of heavy periods, with Dutch hospitals organising extra (online) consults and other events. The website hevigbloedverlies.nl, its social media channels and several public fairs provide information about HMB all year round. More information (in Dutch): hevigbloedverlies.nl/bloedserieus
Reference; Heavy Periods, online survey among 1,004 women who have experienced heavy periods in the past 3 years (18+), 14th to 18th September 2018, 24 september 2018, 3 Monkeys Zeno for Hologic Benelux.