What the Flood?!?

With guest writer Katie Murray

Knowing what to expect with flooding and clotting

“Does anyone have any spare heavy sanitary pads? I’m going through about one an hour and I’m freaking out.”

Cue a flurry of messages checking I’m ok and then a wonderful friend dropping some round fifteen minutes later.

When you first experience flooding, it can be horrendous. I was lucky - I was at home - but if I’d been out and about, especially with my toddler, it would have been a very different story. So, I wanted to share my experience in the hope that, if you’re in the same situation, you’ll feel a little more prepared than I was.

Dealing with the unexpected

The worst part about the flooding was not knowing it was coming. That’s the problem with our bodies, right? They don’t always warn us as much as we’d like them to.

For me, I knew my period was due. There’d been the usual spotting (though actually less than normal), so the standard towels were in place ready for those slightly heavier days. And it’s just as well.

When you flood, it’s called that for a reason. Your body literally excretes your period blood at a rate of knots, and your sanitary solution, whether pads, tampons or cups, can struggle to keep up.

Everything feels permanently damp. You can sense the dripping, even with an internal solution, and you know it won’t be long before you need to change.

What about the clotting?

Personally, I found this worse than the flooding. Your body’s pushing everything out at speed, so clots of lining come away at the same time. Some are small, others much larger. All of them are an unpleasant gooey blob you can feel as you walk to the bathroom.

It doesn’t get much better when you sit down. You’ll worry, or at least I did, about exactly what you’re about to see. It’s a natural reaction to something that feels like a distinctly unnatural experience. (I also had the added emotion of it feeling like another miscarriage, just on a smaller scale, even though I knew I wasn’t pregnant).

As you sit on the toilet, you feel more clots coming. You even try to spot them at the bottom of the blood-red water in the bowl, and they can feel a bit odd as they drop out of your body. (Yeah, I know this sounds gross, but you get almost a morbid curiosity wanting to know what’s happening). So you sit, do your thing, freshen up and then, you’ll start to feel it again.

It does slow down eventually, but you may experience several hours of this in one go, so get yourself somewhere comfortable, and close to the bathroom, as soon as you can.

It’s also worth knowing that while tampons do absorb the flow for a while, they don’t stop the clots from dropping, so you may want a back-up option in your bag.

A weird feeling and a metallic smell

These two are possibly the hardest parts to explain.

Whenever I’ve experienced flooding, there’s been a dull pull in my uterus. It hasn’t hurt, but it’s like there’s real weight near the base (probably because that’s where the blood is gathering), and there’s a constant feeling “something” is going to drop out.

The reality is, the only thing dropping is the lining from your period, but it can feel strange, so be assured it isn’t just you.

The other thing is the smell.

It’s like iron or rust. It sounds weird to say you can smell something metallic coming from your body, but there really is a distinct odour. I imagine it’s linked to the volume of everything moving so quickly. But I’ve noticed it every time, so I now know that’s something to expect and it’s all just part of the process.

How much is too much?

This is the million-pound question, isn’t it? How do you know if your flooding is ok? Well, flooding and clotting is often just a heavy period (or menorrhagia), according to the NHS.

Your period is classed as heavy if you’re going through a pad or tampon every 1-2 hours or if you need to empty your cup more than normal. It also counts as heavy if you experience clots larger than 2.5 cm, or around the size of a 10 pence coin if anyone can remember what those are. (I really wasn’t kidding when I said you can feel them sitting there).

Most heavy periods won’t be anything to worry about. They’re your body’s natural reaction, and can occur after pregnancy, during menopause, or even on a regular basis if that’s how your body’s wired.

As with any of these things though, you know your own body best. If it doesn’t feel right, or if the bleeding isn’t slowing down, ring 111, speak to a GP, or even get yourself to A&E. It’s always going to be better to get checked than find there’s a different problem later.

Being practical about it

Since my first experience, I now carry sanitary towels everywhere. I’m not paranoid, it’s just a sensible precaution so I don’t get caught out. I’ve also spoken to other people about my experience. Not just friends, though they’ve been brilliant, but family as well. Turns out there’s some family history of flooding and clotting, but I never would have known if I hadn’t asked.

Flooding and clotting, especially the first time, can feel weird. Once you know what it is, it becomes easier to manage, and you get a sense for what’s normal for you. That said, it’s still feels bloody odd, so hopefully you’ll have good friends and family around you for support.

If you need a bit extra though, contact Samantha – I know she’ll have some fabulous advice and resources you can access to help you feel more confident about it.

About Katie

Hi there. Thanks for reading my guest blog. If we’ve not met before, I’m Katie, wife, mum, former HR professional and now specialist HR copywriter. I spend my time writing web pages, profiles, case studies and blogs for clients within the HR industry, but this blog was a little different, so I hope you’ve found it useful.

Find out more about me here: https://katiejocopywriting.co.uk