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Yes, this includes infections of the sexually transmitted variety. Gonorrhea, chlamydia, or any infection on the lining of the uterus can cause heavy bleeding, Wysocki says. So if you have been having unprotected sex and are noticing unusual menstruation, its a good idea to see a doctor ASAP. If you do have an STD, there are many medications that can help you out.
We Get An Expert To Answer Your Questions About Heavy Periods
Heavy periods are one of the most common worries for those who menstruate. But stress no more healthcare advisor for intimate wellbeing brand, INTIMINA, Dr Shree Datta is here to remind us that heavy periods are not always necessarily a reason to worry by answering some of the most common questions about heavy periods:
Is Every Heavy Flow Considered To Be Hmb
Heavy menstrual bleeding is also known as menorrhagia. This medical term refers to abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding. Although its quite difficult to estimate the incidence of HMB, its somewhere in the range of 5 to 30 percent, according to different sources.
It can be challenging to maintain your normal daily activities with HMB because of significant blood loss. And some bleeding can be very heavy, leading to the need to change your tampon or pad frequently . If you think your periods are like this, talk with your health care provider about possible treatment options.
Various things can cause heavy menstrual bleeding. Here are some of the causes:
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When Do You Call Your Healthcare Provider If You Suspect Heavy Period Bleeding
You should call your provider if you’re experiencing the symptoms of heavy menstrual bleeding or anemia, or if your period bleeding has become abnormal. Tracking your periods using a calendar or app can help you identify if your periods are heavier and longer-lasting than usual. Share these notes with your provider.
You should also schedule an appointment if you notice that you’re having to double-up on menstrual products or if you’re skipping activities you enjoy because of heavy bleeding.
Can heavy menstrual bleeding be life-threatening?
Heavy periods arent usually life-threatening, but they can be if you lose too much blood. Bleeding through two or more tampons or pads each hour for two hours in a row is a sign that you should see your provider or seek emergency care immediately.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Just because heavy periods are common doesn’t mean that you have to learn to live with the discomfort they cause. If managing your blood flow is getting in the way of your emotional and physical well-being, speak with your provider. They can provide a care path that will provide relief.
Can Any Herbal Remedies Help
Herbal remedies may also be useful in treating heavy periods:
- Agnus castus Agnus castus is fantastic for women who suffer from PMS and are oestrogen dominant. An imbalance in oestrogen can give rise to symptoms such as anger and irritability, mood swings, sore breasts and heavy, painful periods. Agnus castus gently increases the amount of progesterone your body makes which creates a better balance between progesterone and oestrogen.
- Kelp Kelp is a food source of many vitamins and minerals including iodine, iron, magnesium, calcium and B vitamins. It is especially rich in iodine which gently supports your thyroid .
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What Are The Treatment Options For Heavy Periods
Your doctor should take your symptoms seriously, ask the right questions and use the best tests to find the cause of your heavy periods without undue delay. Treatment will depend on the cause – as mentioned above, often no cause is found. However, there are still treatments that can make periods lighter. Your doctor will explain the benefits and the possible side-effects.
You should be given information about the full range of treatments that could help and what they involve. Your doctor should also support you to choose one that is right for you. If you are still having problems, your doctor should refer you to a healthcare professional with specialist knowledge of diagnosing and treating heavy periods.
Treatment aims to reduce the amount of blood loss. The rest of this leaflet discusses treatment options for women who have regular but heavy periods with no clear cause . This is the majority of cases. If there is an underlying cause, such as a fibroid or endometriosis, treatment options may be different. See the relevant leaflets to read about treatment for these conditions.
What Is Considered Heavy
A heavy flow tends to always require a lot of attention. Due to over-soaked protection, it makes it indispensable to rush to the toilet every other hour to change it, or make you wake up during the night with a blood-flooded bed. Additionally, it might give you physical symptoms, such tiredness, dizziness, weakness, pale skin, and a general feeling of lack of energy – which are also common symptoms of anemia.
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Should People Worry About Heavy Periods Causing Anaemia Or Iron Deficiency
This absolutely can happen, and signs to watch for include feeling tired or drained particularly towards the end of a period when undertaking activities such as climbing stairs.
Dr. Shree Datta, healthcare advisor for INTIMINA commented: It is important not to forget to consider how often you have periods as well as their length and heaviness when monitoring them.
Review any medications you are taking as some can affect bleeding and consider whether you are going through a period of stress.
Danela agar, Spokesperson for INTIMINA, commented: Questions around heavy periods are so common and we are thrilled to have Dr. Shree Datta on hand to offer advice to help people navigate their way through any potential worries.
How Can I Figure Out How Much I Am Bleeding
If you use a menstrual cup, you can easily check how much you are bleeding each day. Otherwise, knowing that one normal-sized period product , holds about a teaspoon of blood , the easiest way is to record how many regular sized period products you use each day of your period. Make sure to record how many were half full and multiply by 0.5.
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The Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill
This reduces bleeding by at least a third in most women. It often helps with period pain too. It is a popular treatment with women who also want contraception but who do not want to use the LNG-IUS. If required, you can take this in addition to anti-inflammatory painkillers , particularly if period pain is a problem. See the separate leaflet called The Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill for more details. Other options which work in a similar way are combined hormonal contraceptive rings or patches.
How Do No Period Birth Control Pills Work
Planned Parenthood, an advocacy group, says that combination birth control pill packs tend to come with 21 active pills and 7 placebo pills. That means youll take hormone-containing pills for 3 weeks and placebo pills for the final week each month.
That final week is when youd traditionally have withdrawal bleeding. But if you carry on taking the hormone-containing or active pills continually, youll skip the bleeding part.
Why? Because the drop in hormones triggers the body to release blood and mucus from the uterus lining. This is similar to a regular period, except the uterus lining doesnt thicken each month.
If theres no change in hormone levels, 2008 research shows that the body will continue as it is. However, spotting, or light bleeding, can still occur in some people.
While you can opt for an extended or continuous schedule with any combination pill, some pills also have few or no placebo options.
And these options are specifically designed for fewer or zero periods.
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Heavy Period Symptoms Are
- Changing your pads every 1 or 2 hours during the days
- Waking up many times at night to change your pads
- Trying to double your pads to prevent staining
- Feeling weak after days of very heavy bleeding
- Extremely heavy periods affecting your daily activities or work
If you have any of these symptoms, then your period may be heavy. To understand how much blood you lose during periods, you should monitor your period length and menstrual cycle.
- Record the number of sanitary pads you change day and night. Is it fully soaked with period blood clots?
- Record the length of your menstrual cycle. Is your menstrual cycle getting shorter or longer?Learn how to calculate your menstrual cycle.
- Try to remember the last time you had a normal period flow. If this is the first time, then stressful activities could play a role.
Then What Does It Mean To Have A Heavy Period
There are two ways you might be bleeding too much: the literal amount of blood and the number of days you bleed at a time. Medically speaking, the definition of a heavy period is more than 80 milliliters over the course of your period or a period that lasts a full week or longer.
But since you’re probably not in the habit of measuring out your period blood, there are practical signs you can look out for instead. “If youre flooding and staining a lot of clothing on multiple occasions during your cycle, or if youre having to put towels under you on furniture or on bedding to catch blood, youre very likely bleeding more than a third of a cup during your period,” says Basinski. “If youre changing your tampon or pad or emptying a menstrual cup more than every couple of hours on any given day, youre likely having heavy bleeding.”
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When To See A Doctor For Your Heavy Period
A few heavy days here or there probably isnt a big deal. But you should talk with your doctor if your period is consistently very heavy or if the heavy bleeding is accompanied by other symptoms, since those could signal an underlying health problem.
Let your doc know if you experience:
- periods lasting longer than 7 days
- periods where you soak through more than one pad or tampon per hour for several hours
- periods where you pass clots larger than a quarter
- periods that leave you totally wiped or otherwise affect your quality of life
Not Sure What To Do Next
If you are still concerned about your heavy periods, check your symptoms with healthdirects online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.
The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether its self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero .
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Guidelines To Determine If What You Are Experiencing Is Heavy:
Your menstrual period lasts longer than seven days.
Your flow soaks through tampons or pads every hour for a few hours in a row.
You need to change pads or tampons during the night.
You have multiple grape-sized blood clots.
Your heavy menstrual flow keeps you from doing things you would normally do.
You are tired, have a lack of energy or are short of breath.
You feel heavy pain in your abdomen and lower back.
Make an appointment with your gynecologist if your menstrual bleeding seemsheavier than usual, or if it lasts more than seven days or impacts your life.
If you experience bleeding between periods, during or after sex, duringpregnancy or after you have entered menopause, it is important to visit yourgynecologist.
The Pill Wont Fix Your Period
Sometimes the pill or other forms of hormonal birth control can be helpful to control heavy bleeding while we work on the root cause, but this should not be the only treatment women are provided.
In Toris case, giving the pill would only mask her underlying issues. Her iron was low. The pill cant fix that, in fact, it depletes other blood building nutrients like B12 and folate. With the diet she had been eating before coming to see me she would have been at significant risk for nutrient deficiencies caused by the pill.
She had gut imbalances, which are often only made worse by birth control. And really, we had to work on getting her bowels moving, her gut bugs balanced, and boosting the nutrients her liver required to detoxify estrogen.
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Causes Of Abnormal Period Clots
The potential reasons for abnormal period clotting are similar to those for heavy menstrual bleeding, since the two symptoms usually go hand in hand: Heavy flow usually equals more clotting and larger clots.
side bar, I dont think this is normal
Abnormal period clots can be a sign of:3
Uterine polyps or fibroids: Both benign uterine fibroids and polyps can lead to heavy menstrual bleeding and clotting.
PCOS or other hormone imbalances:Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and other hormonal imbalances can delay your period for months as a result of anovulation . This long buildup can lead to unusually heavy periods and large period clots.
Endometriosis:Endometriosis is a disease characterized by an overgrowth of endometrial-like tissue outside of the uterus, i.e. elsewhere in the pelvis or on the outside of other reproductive organs. It can cause very heavy and painful periods with intense cramping and large clots.
Cancer: Rarely, period clots are a sign of cervical or uterine cancer. Getting regular pelvic exams and Pap smears is important for preventative screening, but talk to your doctor about any alarming changes in your period even if youve recently had a negative Pap.
Adenomyosis: Adenomyosis is a condition in which the uterine lining grows into the muscular wall of the uterus, often causing heavy periods and blood clots.
Common anticoagulant drugs include: apixaban , dabigatran , edoxaban , rivaroxaban , and warfarin .
What Causes Heavy Painful Periods
If you have heavy painful periods, then its likely due to
- Endometriosis This is endometrial tissues found outside your uterus. It can cause painful and heavy periods. Analgesics like ibuprofen can subside the pain.
- Adenomyosis This is presence of endometrial tissues inside the wall of the uterus. It can be treated with analgesics or cured with removal of the uterus.
- Uterine fibroid
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How Is Heavy Menstrual Bleeding Treated
Treatment depends on what’s causing your bleeding, how severe your bleeding is, your health, age and medical history. Also, treatment depends on your response to certain medicines and your preferences. For instance, you may not want to have a period at all, or you may want to reduce your bleeding. In addition, your plans to get pregnant will affect your treatment options.
Talk with your provider about your health concerns and your goals for treatment.
Medications used to treat heavy menstrual bleeding
- Iron supplements improve your iron stores.
- Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs like Ibuprofen® or Aspirin® can ease your cramps and reduce your bleeding.
- Birth control may help make your periods more regular and lighten your blood flow.
- Hormone therapy can help balance the amount of estrogen and progesterone in your body so that your menstrual flow isn’t as heavy. HT is often recommended for heavy menstrual bleeding associated with perimenopause but comes with risks that you should discuss with your provider.
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists can temporarily stop or reduce bleeding by preventing ovulation.
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonists can manage heavy period bleeding related to fibroids.
- Desmopressin nasal spray can stop bleeding associated with von Willebrand disease by helping your blood clot.
- Antifibrinolytic medicines, like tranexamic acid, prevent clots from breaking down and causing excessive bleeding.
Procedures used to treat heavy period bleeding