What Are The Symptoms Of Menorrhagia
If you have to change your pad or tampon every 1 to 2 hours because it is soaked, or bleed longer than 7 days, see your doctor. Spotting or bleeding between periods is also a sign of a problem.
The symptoms of menorrhagia may look like other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
How Is Heavy Bleeding Diagnosed
After a thorough history and clinical examination including a cervical screening test and swabs your doctor might order blood tests and/or a pelvic ultrasound to eliminate some of the possible causes listed previously. The gold standard is to perform a hysteroscopy and curette in all women over 35 years of age to rule out endometrial hyperplasia or cancer. This is where the lining of the womb is viewed with a telescope the hysteroscope and is then lightly scraped away and a biopsy taken for examination.
Living With Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
Abnormal uterine bleeding can impact your life in a negative way. Not being able to predict when bleeding will begin can cause you to be anxious all the time. Also, heavy menstrual bleeding may limit your daily activities during your period. For some women, it even prevents them from leaving the house.
If you have heavy menstrual bleeding, try taking ibuprofen during your period . Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug . NSAIDs can work to reduce the bleeding during your period.
You also should make sure that you are getting enough iron in your diet. Your doctor may prescribe an iron supplement to ensure that you dont become anemic.
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Whats Considered A Heavy Period
You might be surprised to learn that about one in five women experience menorrhagia, the medical term for heavy periods. Because each womans period is unique, it can be tricky to know if what you think is normal for your cycle is actually excessive bleeding. In fact, half of women who experience menorrhagia dont realize they have it.
While the best way to know if your heavy periods are chronic is to talk to a doctor, you can keep an eye out for some common symptoms of menorrhagia.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, any of the following is considered a symptom of heavy bleeding:
- Bleeding for more than seven days
- Blood soaks through one or more tampons or pads every hour
- You need to change your pad or tampon during the night
- You need to double up on protection to keep from leaking
- The blood clots in your flow are the size of a quarter or larger
Key Points About Heavy Period Bleeding
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What Can Happen If Bleeding Disorders Are Not Treated
Bleeding disorders can raise your risk for anemia and dangerous bleeding after surgery or childbirth. They can also affect your quality of life. Women with heavy menstrual bleeding may miss days of work or school due to side effects from blood loss, including fatigue, or the need to manage heavy bleeding.
Without treatment, bleeding disorders can also lead to:
- The need for blood transfusions7
- Arthritis and breakdown of joints
- Bleeding into other areas of the body
- Hysterectomy or other surgery. Many women who do not know they have a bleeding disorder may get a hysterectomy or other procedure to help control heavy menstrual periods.8
If you know you have a bleeding disorder, tell your doctor, nurse, midwife, and dentist to prevent dangerous complications.
What Is A Normal Period
There is a range of normal bleeding some women have short, light periods and others have longer, heavy periods.
Normal menstrual bleeding has the following features:
- Your period lasts for 3-8 days
- Your period comes every 21-35 days
- The total blood loss over the course of the period is around 2-3 tablespoons
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How Much Menstrual Bleeding Is Too Much What You Should Know About Bleeding Disorders
Periods can be a nightmare, but how do you know if something else is going on?
When you hear the term bleeding disorder, you probably think of hemophilia, an inherited condition which can lead to dramatic bleeding from the smallest of wounds. Hemophilia, also known as the royal disease because it afflicted so many of Queen Victorias descendants, has three types A, B, and C, all caused by the degree to which clotting factors are absent in the blood. While men are diagnosed with bleeding disorders via regular nosebleeds and intense post surgery bleeds, theyre more complicated to diagnose in women, because, well, a lot of us bleed regularly, and significantly.
Every time Id tell a doctor that my periods were terrible, theyd say, Everyone thinks their periods are terrible,’ Ashley told me. It wasnt until 2012, when she began trying to get pregnant, that she learned the cause of her hellacious periods: a genetic bleeding disorder called Factor XI Deficiency, otherwise known as Rosenthal Syndrome, or Hemophilia C.
Factor XI is one kind of bleeding disorder in a category known as rare factor deficiencies, because of the clotting factors that are absent and therefore create a longer than normal bleed. Rare platelet deficiencies, which are also genetic or acquired at birth, occur when platelets dont do their job .
Other Causes Of Bleeding Irregularities
Stress and lifestyle changes Stress and lifestyle changes, such as gaining or losing weight, dieting, changing exercise routines, traveling, illness and other disruptions to your normal daily routine can impact your menstrual cycle and cause irregularities.
Birth control Going on or off birth control pills can affect your menstruation. Some women may experience irregular periods or miss periods for up to six months after stopping birth control pills. Other forms of birth control, such as IUDs, can cause period irregularities or cause your period to stop. Birth control pills that only contain progestin may cause bleeding between periods.
Medications Some anti-inflammatory drugs, anticoagulants , hormone medications or steroids can affect menstrual bleeding.
Hormone imbalances An excess of estrogen and progesterone can cause heavy bleeding. This is most common for girls in the first year or so of having her first period and for women nearing menopause.
Uterine polyps or fibroids Uterine polyps are small growths in the lining of the uterus, while fibroids are tumors that attach to the wall of the uterus. Both are usually benign but can cause heavy bleeding and pain during periods.
Endometriosis Endometriosis occurs when the endometrial tissue that lines your uterus begins to grow outside the uterus, sometimes growing on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, intestines or other digestive organs. This condition can cause painful bleeding, cramps and painful intercourse.
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How Is Menorrhagia Treated
Treatment for menorrhagia depends on how serious the bleeding is, the cause of the bleeding, your health, age, and medical history. Also, treatment depends on your response to certain medicines and your wants and needs. You may not want to have a period at all, or just want to reduce the amount of bleeding. In addition, your decision to get pregnant or not will affect what treatment you choose. If you do not have anemia, you can choose to not have treatment.
Common treatments include:
- Hormone therapy to reduce bleeding
- Desmopressin nasal spray to stop bleeding for certain bleeding disorders
- Antifibrinolytic medicines to reduce bleeding
- Dilation and curettage to reduce bleeding by removing the top layer of uterus lining
- Operative hysteroscopy to remove fibroids and polyps and remove lining of uterus
- Endometrial ablation or resection to remove all or part of the lining of the uterus
- Hysterectomy to surgically remove the uterus and you will stop having your period
Signs To Watch For With Heavy Periods
Here are some signs that menstrual bleeding may be too heavy, and that you should call the doctor:
- The girl is looking pale and feels dizzy and/or weak. If this is happening, you should call your doctor immediately.
- She needs to change her pad or tampon during the night.
- She is bleeding through her clothes.
- She is passing clots that are bigger than an inch wide.
- Her periods are interfering with her ability to go to school, play sports, or otherwise engage in regular activities.
There are many reasons why girls may have heavy periods. The most common reason is simply that the body is just getting started and getting regulated. If that is the case, it usually gets better with time. However, there are other causes as well, which is why its important to see the doctor.
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When Should You Seek Help From Your Healthcare Provider About Your Period Heaviness
If your period amount is regularly over 80 mL, your period is longer than 8 days in length, or if your menstrual flow is so heavy that you are repeatedly soaking through a pad or tampon every two hours, this is considered heavy menstrual bleeding, and should be discussed with your healthcare provider . This type of excessive menstrual bleeding can impact a personâs quality of life and can cause anemia . Heavy menstrual bleeding can have many potential causes including: fibroids , adenomyosis , problems with blood clotting , uterine polyps , and tumors .
If your period has stopped and you are not taking any form of hormonal contraceptive, you should also discuss this with your healthcare provider, as you could be pregnant.
Even if your period falls out of the âofficialâ typical range, itâs important to know what is ânormalâ for you. The majority of health research is conducted on populations from western industrialized countries, which may not reflect your own personal genetic background or environment. Everybody is different, just as everyone’s period is different. Speak to your healthcare provider if you are concerned about your period volume.
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Your Period Causes Days Of Pain So Bad Its Hard To Leave Your Bed
Unbearable pain also falls into the category of menstrual cycle problems that absolutely warrant a chat with your medical provider. Dr. Streichers rule of thumb is that if youre experiencing even an iota of period pain beyond what youre fine with, its too much.
The first step in dealing with period pain is typically to take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, since they block hormone-like chemicals known as prostaglandins that cause uterine cramping. If that knocks out your cramps, awesome. If youre still curled up in the fetal position after a few hours, thats a sign that talking to a doctor makes sense for you, Dr. Streicher says. Youre likely dealing with severe dysmenorrhea , and doctors can help. Dysmenorrhea is the most commonly reported period problem, with more than half of women who get their periods experiencing it for one to two days each month, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists . There are two types of dysmenorrhea: primary dysmenorrhea and secondary dysmenorrhea. Primary dysmenorrhea is pain thats due to natural pain-causing chemicals associated with your period. Secondary dysmenorrhea is the result of a disorder in the reproductive system.
How Much Bleeding Is Normal During Early Pregnancy
However, approximately 50% of women with an ectopic pregnancy will not have all three signs. How much bleeding is normal during pregnancy? Vaginal bleeding during the first three months of pregnancy is relatively common and usually is a cause of concern for the mother. Women wonder how much bleeding during early pregnancy is normal.
How Are Heavy Periods Treated
The choice of treatment will depend on the cause of your bleeding. If a reason for the heavy bleeding is found, such as a fibroid, this will be treated.
However, sometimes no cause for heavy periods can be found. In these cases, heavy periods can be treated by medicines or by surgery, with the aim of decreasing the amount of bleeding. Some treatments may stop your periods completely and others may affect your fertility.Considerations for treatment include your age, general health, whether you require contraception or want to have children. Some treatments are ongoing and others are done one time.
Discuss all your options with your doctor to decide which is best for you.
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Women In Their Teens 20s And 30s
A common cause of abnormal bleeding in young women and teenagers is pregnancy. Many women have abnormal bleeding in the first few months of a normal pregnancy. Some birth control pills or the intrauterine device can also cause abnormal bleeding.
Some young women who have abnormal uterine bleeding do not release an egg from their ovaries during their menstrual cycle. This is common for teenagers who have just started getting their periods. This causes a hormone imbalance where the estrogen in your body makes the lining of your uterus grow until it gets too thick. When your body gets rid of this lining during your period, the bleeding will be very heavy. A hormone imbalance may also cause your body not to know when to shed the lining. This can cause irregular bleeding between your periods.
What Is Heavy Bleeding
Heavy menstrual bleeding is excessive and/or prolonged menstrual bleeding. The amount varies from woman to woman and can change at different stages in your life for example, in teenage years or approaching menopause. It is defined as blood loss greater than 80ml per cycle, or periods lasting more than seven to eight days. Heavy menstrual bleeding affects about one in five women and is a common problem in the 30-50-year-old age group.
Heavy bleeding fact sheet
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