Heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) can be caused by different conditions. One of these causes is a bleeding disorder. In that case, the periods can already be too heavy at a young age. But how do you know what’s a normal and what’s an abnormal menstrual bleeding? That’s when the HMB symptom checker, developed by Yara Dixon, can help. Useful: it’s available in four languages!
Medical student Yara Dixon did her master’s thesis about HMB in young women. For her research, she spent a couple of months being present at the HMB consultations of the Erasmus MC Sophia Children’s Hospital in Rotterdam (The Netherlands). These are twice-weekly consultations for women under the age of 25, led by a (children’s) hematologist, a gynaecologist and a nurse practitioner.
‘I soon noticed that a lot of young women are held back by their menstruation. They have to skip school, can’t exercise and are always afraid of leakage stains. When on their period, they can’t do much more than lie in bed feeling miserable. It was great to see how these women felt better after a visit to the HMB consultations. However, the majority of the women suffering from heavy menstrual bleeding never see a doctor. Simply because they don’t realise their menstrual bleeding is abnormal and that this can be fixed.’
Six symptoms of a too heavy menstrual bleeding in four languages
Menstrual problems often run in the family. This can lead to a girl perceiving an abormal period as ‘normal’. Sometimes, girls and women suffer from menstrual complaints for years. Because they’re ashamed or because they just don’t know any better. More knowledge about this subject is essential. To make heavy menstrual bleeding something that can be discussed openly and easily, Dixon developed a colourful symptom checker. Currently, it’s available in Dutch, English, Turkish and Arabic.
‘Being able to talk about menstrual complaints in their own language makes people feel more comfortable.’ Also in The Netherlands, menstruation is still considered a taboo subject, Dixon, who is of Arab origin herself, noticed with surprise. Meanwhile, HMB itself is pretty common. ‘At least 1 in every 4 women loses too much blood during her menstruation. The women we see at the consultations are only the tip of the iceberg.’
More information about the HMB consultations of the Erasmus MC Sophia Children’s Hospital in the Netherlands and the symptom checker can be found on erasmusmc.nl/nl-nl/sophia/patientenzorg/spreekuren/hevig-menstrueel-bloedverlies-hmb
More about normal and abnormal menstruation:
Menstruation gone wrong
When is a lot, too much?
Too little: also possible?
No more periods. Help?
It’s not my period, it’s PMS
PMDD: PMS’ extreme sister