If your hormone levels are out of balance, your body may grow a thicker lining in the uterus, resulting in excessive bleeding when you shed the thicker lining.
Do you have a heavy period? If so, you’re not alone. Many women experience very heavy periods at some point in their lives. While it’s not typically a cause for concern, it can be quite uncomfortable and inconvenient. In this blog post, we will discuss the causes of heavy periods or menorrhagia and offer some tips for managing them. Keep reading to learn more.
What is menorrhagia?
Menorrhagia is the medical term for heavy menstrual bleeding. It’s defined as losing 80 milliliters or more in each period, having periods that last longer than seven days, or both.
You can’t continue with your usual routines when you have menorrhagia since you have so much blood loss and cramping. If you dread your period because of the amount of menstrual bleeding, speak to your doctor. Menorrhagia is treatable, and there are various options available.
What is the normal flow of a period and what isn’t?
A period is when the uterine lining sheds through the vagina. The amount of blood loss during a period can vary from person to person but is typically between 30 and 80 milliliters (about two to three tablespoons).
For reference, a sanitary pad can hold about five times its weight in blood, so one or two heavy pads or tampons per day is considered normal.
If you’re soaking through a pad or tampon every hour, passing large clots, or bleeding for more than seven days in a row, then you may have menorrhagia.
Menorrhagia can be caused by hormonal imbalances, uterine fibroids, polyps, adenomyosis, endometriosis, or other health conditions. In some cases, the cause of menorrhagia is unknown.
What are the symptoms of menorrhagia?
In addition to heavy bleeding, you may also experience fatigue, dizziness, anemia, and cramping with menorrhagia. Menorrhagia may be indicated by the following symptoms:
- One or more sanitary pads or tampons are saturated every hour for several hours.
- To manage your menstrual flow, you’ll need to use two sanitary pads at a time.
- Waking up to change sanitary protection in the middle of the night is annoying.
- Passing blood clots that are larger than a quarter.
- Soak through one or more sanitary pads or tampons every hour for several consecutive hours.
- Need to use double sanitary protection to control your menstrual flow.
- Needing to wake up in the middle of the night to change your sanitary protection.
- Menstrual periods that last longer than seven days.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to speak to your doctor. They can help you diagnose the cause of your heavy period and recommend treatment options.
What causes menorrhagia?
There are many potential causes of menorrhagia, but the most common cause is endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus. This can cause heavy bleeding during periods, as well as pain and cramping.
If your hormone levels are out of balance, your body may grow a thicker lining, resulting in excessive bleeding when you shed the thicker lining. If you don’t ovulate (release an egg from an ovary), this can also disrupt hormone balance, resulting in a thicker lining and a more painful and heavy period.
Uterine fibroids are another common cause of heavy periods. Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that can develop in the uterus. They can vary in size and can cause heavy bleeding and pain.
Other potential causes of menorrhagia include:
- Hormonal imbalances
- Blood clotting disorders such as von Willebrand disease
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Pregnancy complication
- Ovaries dysfunction
If you are experiencing heavy bleeding, it is important to talk, to your doctor to rule out any potential underlying causes.
Complications of menorrhagia
If menorrhagia is left untreated, it can lead to anemia. Anemia is a condition in which there are not enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. Anemia can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, and dizziness.
In severe cases, menorrhagia can require a blood transfusion. Blood transfusions are used to treat anemia by providing the body with healthy red blood cells.
Menorrhagia can also cause missed periods and difficulty getting pregnant. If you are trying to get pregnant and have heavy periods, talk to your doctor. They can help you manage your menorrhagia and increase your chances of getting pregnant.
How is menorrhagia treated?
The treatment for menorrhagia will depend on the underlying cause. If your menorrhagia is due to a hormonal imbalance, you may be prescribed birth control pills or other medication.
If it’s caused by fibroids, polyps, or adenomyosis, you may need surgery to remove the growths. Endometriosis is treated with medication, surgery, or both.
In some cases, menorrhagia can be managed with lifestyle changes, such as exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and reducing stress.
If you’re concerned about your heavy period, make an appointment with your doctor. They will be able to diagnose the cause of your menorrhagia and recommend the best treatment for you.
How to tell if your period is too heavy?
If you’re soaking through a pad or tampon every hour, passing large clots, or bleeding for more than seven days in a row, then you may have menorrhagia. In addition to heavy bleeding, you may also experience fatigue, anemia, and cramping with menorrhagia.
Tips for managing a heavy period
If you have menorrhagia, there are a few things you can do to manage your symptoms and make your period more tolerable.
Here are a few tips:
- Use pads or tampons with higher absorbency.
- Change your pad or tampon more frequently.
- Wear dark-colored clothing to avoid staining.
- Use a heating pad or take a warm bath to help relieve cramps.
- Rest as much as possible.
- Avoid strenuous activity.
- Take over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen, to help relieve cramps.
- Drink plenty of fluids and avoid caffeinated beverages.
- Eat iron-rich foods or take iron supplements to prevent anemia.
Talk to your doctor about medication or surgery to treat the underlying cause of your menorrhagia.