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Women’s bleeding explained


Period pain is considered ‘normal’ if:

  • The pain is manageable or goes away if you take simple period pain medication
  • Is only there for a few days before and on the first one or two days of your period
  • It goes away if you use the contraceptive pill (particularly if you use the pill continuously and skip your periods)
  • You are able to do all of your normal daily activities such as going to school or work, or playing sport.


If your period pain does not fit the description of ‘normal’ and is so bad that it stops you doing what you would normally do on a daily basis, such as going to school or work, it is important to talk to your doctor or gynaecologist.

Period problems that may occur for some girls and women with bleeding disorders include:

  • Heavy periods (heavy menstrual bleeding)
    • What different women call ‘heavy’ can vary. It partly depends on what you or your family are used to, and how much your period interferes with your everyday life. Here are some signs that suggest that a period is ‘heavier’ than average:
      • Soaking through a tampon or a pad every two hours or less, or needing to change protection during the night, or put a towel under you or flooding the bed during the night
      • Periods that last for longer than 8 days
      • Bleeding with clots bigger than a 50 cent piece
      • Cramping and pain in the lower abdomen (tummy)
      • Constant tiredness
  • Dysmenorrhea (period pain)
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Mid-cycle pain
  • Low levels of iron in the blood/anaemia
  • Bleeding after sex
  • Endometriosis


Not all period symptoms are due to having a bleeding disorder – they can also be symptoms of health problems that any girl or woman might experience.

You may need to see a gynaecologist (women’s health doctor) for specialist advice. So that they have the whole picture, make sure they know you have a bleeding disorder and ask them and your Haemophilia Treatment Centre to consult with each other. 

Keeping a diary

It can be helpful to keep a diary of your periods and how you’re feeling to record what you are experiencing. Bring this with you and show your doctor or the treatment team at the Haemophilia Treatment Centre when you have appointments.


You might want to use the Menstrual Assessment Chart, which records how much you are bleeding, including any bleeding between periods. You can find it on the Canadian Hemophilia Society website under Women and Bleeding Disorders – www.hemophilia.ca/women-and-bleeding-disorders.

There are also a few smartphone apps that you can use to record your menstrual cycles, and your Haemophilia Treatment Centre can recommend one that is designed for women and girls with bleeding disorders.


Contact details of Haemophilia Treatment Centres in Australia are available on the HFA website.

If you’d like to know more about periods and bleeding disorders download our Female Factors – Women’s bleeding explained resource here. This contains more information on periods and bleeding disorders including:

  • What is normal?
  • Has something changed?
  • Heavy periods (Heavy menstrual bleeding)
  • Dysmenorrhoea (period pain)
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Mid-cycle pain (‘Mittelschmerz’)
  • Anaemia
  • Bleeding after sex
  • Endometriosis
  • How does the menstrual cycle happen?
  • Keeping a diary

For more information on bleeding disorders in young women read our full Female Factors resource here

Date last reviewed: 1 October 2018

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