What Are Heavy Menstrual Periods
When you have heavy menstrual periods , you are losing more than 80 ml of blood per menstrual period and the usual amount of blood loss per period is 10 to 35 ml. You may:
- Pass large blood clots and soak through your usual pads or tampons.
- Bleed for more than 7 days.
Heavy periods can be messy and unpleasant, and they may disrupt your life. But in most cases, they arent a sign of a serious problem.
A doctor can suggest treatments to ease your symptoms and make sure that you dont have a more serious condition.
Iron Deficiency And Anaemia
If you have heavy periods each month, one of the key things to watch out for is iron deficiency. One of the most common causes of iron deficiency is prolonged or heavy periods. This can leave you feeling tired and lacking energy. In some cases, this can even lead to anaemia.
Signs And Symptoms Of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
Symptoms of heavy menstrual bleeding may include:
- Soaking through one or more sanitary pads or tampons every hour for several consecutive hours
- Needing to wake up to change sanitary protection during the night
- Needing to use double sanitary protection to control the menstrual flow
- Menstrual bleeding that lasts longer than a week
- Symptoms of anemia, like fatigue, light-headedness and shortness of breath
- Passing blood clots larger than a quarter
- Restricting activities because of heavy menstrual flow
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When Should You See A Doctor For Heavy Bleeding
You should call the attention of your doctor when you notice one or some of the following symptoms:
- Extremely heavy menstrual bleeding from the vagina which soaks one tampon at least within the space of two hours.
- Irregular vaginal bleeding. Always take note of when you begin to notice bleeding in between periods.
Is There Anything I Can Do About Heavy Bleeding Or Do I Just Kind Of Live Like This
There’s plenty you can do! Heavy bleeding that disrupts your life is something you should get treatment for, no matter how much you’ve been taught that shitty periods are things you just have to deal with. Obviously your doctor will be the one to talk to you about the best treatment for you, but just as an FYI, here are some of the options that might come up:
Hormonal treatment just as birth control pills, hormonal IUDs, and hormonal injections. “These treatments work well for young women because they are reversible most often and allow them to maintain their fertility if they’re interested in having children,” says Basinski.
Other drugs that control blood flow. Things like ibuprofen have been show to moderately decrease blood flow, according to Basinski. Then there are drugs such as tranexamic acid that you take during your period that can help you clot better.
Surgery to get rid of fibroids and polyps if you have them.
Uterine artery embolization, which is used to treat fibroids by blocking blood vessels to the uterus so fibroids are unable to grow. Because a doctor uses a catheter to inject embolic agents into the uterine arteries to cut off blood supply, it is an alternative for those who don’t want surgery to treat fibroids, according to Minkin.
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A Period Thats Suddenly Very Heavy One Month
The signs and symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy may be confused with a heavy menstrual period.
This type of pregnancy develops outside your uterus and isnt sustainable. It can cause severe health issues, including heavy bleeding and severe cramping. Left untreated, an ectopic pregnancy is life threatening.
During and surrounding a miscarriage, heavy bleeding is common and may be mistaken for a very heavy period.
Non-hormonal intrauterine device
of a non-hormonal IUD. After a few months with your IUD, you may find that bleeding becomes less severe.
Blood thinners can lead to blood flow problems and heavier menstrual flow.
How Will The Doctor Test Me If I Have Heavy Periods
After a detailed history and physical examination, your doctor may want to conduct tests to determine the cause of heavy bleeding.
Although it is okay to have rare heavy periods one time in three to four months, constant heavy periods need to be investigated.
You do not have to live with heavy and painful periods. With the right management of underlying conditions, lifestyle modifications, medications, and surgery, heavy bleeding during periods can be effectively managed.
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Do I Need Any Tests If I Have Heavy Periods
See your doctor if your periods change and become heavier than previously. For most women, the cause is unclear and there is no abnormality of the womb or hormones. However, it is very important to get it checked out properly.
A doctor may want to do an internal examination to examine your neck of the womb and also to assess the size and shape of your womb. However, an examination is not always necessary, especially in younger women who do not have any symptoms to suggest anything other than dysfunctional uterine bleeding.A blood test to check for anaemia may be performed. If you bleed heavily each month then you may not take in enough iron in your diet, needed to replace the blood that you lose. This can lead to anaemia which can cause tiredness and other symptoms. Up to 2 in 3 women with recurring heavy periods develop anaemia.If the vaginal examination is normal and there are no other associated symptoms, no further tests may be needed. The diagnosis is usually dysfunctional uterine bleeding and treatment may be started if required. Further tests may be advised for some women, especially if there is concern that there may be a cause for the heavy periods other than dysfunctional uterine bleeding. For example, if you:
If tests are advised then they may include one or more of the following:
Possible Consequences Of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
Whenever you have a period, you lose blood. For those with normal bleeding, anda diet containing normal amounts of iron, blood loss and iron intake should bein balance. However, for those with heavy menstrual bleeding, and especiallywhen the diet is deficient in iron, blood loss can exceed iron intake and mayresult in an iron deficiency and possible low red blood count, or anemia. Iron deficiency, with or without anemia, can cause fatigue and interfere with the ability to concentrate, exercise, and, enjoy life in general.
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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.
Millennium Pregnancy And Gynecology
What causes heavy periods? That depends on your body and individual situation. There might be nothing wrong with you at all. Things that cause heavy periods include:
- One of your ovaries not releasing an egg during one or more months
- Growths in the uterus called fibroids
- A bleeding disorder that prevents your blood from clotting normally
- Side effects of some medicines, such as some types of birth control or blood thinners
- A problem with your thyroid
How much bleeding is normal when I have my period? During a normal period, bleeding lasts between 3 and 7 days. Most women lose between 2 and 3 tablespoons of blood during that time. Losing more than 5 tablespoons of blood during a period can be a sign of a problem. Blood loss is hard to measure with a spoon. But you can look for other signs that your periods are too heavy, such as:
- Having to change a pad or tampon every 1 or 2 hours
- Passing large lumps of blood, called clots
Is my bleeding an emergency? See your doctor or go to the emergency room right away if you soak through 4 or more pads or tampons in 2 hours. Any bleeding is an emergency if you are pregnant.
Should I see a doctor or nurse? Call your doctor or nurse if you:
Are there tests I should have? Your doctor or nurse will decide which tests you should have based on your age, symptoms, and individual situation. There are lots of tests, but you may not need any.
Here are the most common tests doctors use to find the cause of heavy periods:
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When Is A Heavy Period Considered Too Heavy
More often than not, when a young girl begins having her period, hormones are not settled and her periods can be very inconsistent and a little heavy. It becomes difficult for her parents to know if she is bleeding too much and they should worry, but when is a heavy period considered too heavy?
When Is A Heavy Period Too Heavy
- By Claire McCarthy, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
Its common for girls and their parents to wonder if the bleeding with their periods is too often or too much. Especially in the first few years of having a period, any bleeding can feel like too much. Usually, its not but sometimes it is, and its important for parents to know what to watch for, and when to call the doctor.
In the first couple of years after periods begin, its really normal for periods to be irregular and for some of them to be heavy. At the beginning, periods arent associated with ovulation, and the hormones and hormonal patterns that help regulate periods havent fallen into place yet. If its just the occasional period that is heavy, thats usually nothing to worry about.
Its not always easy to know what counts as a heavy period. As I said, for some girls anything is too much. And while we doctors often ask how often the girl changes her pad or tampon, thats very subjective and dependent on personal preference. Some girls change as soon as there is any blood present or every time they use the bathroom. Others wait until they are completely soaked.
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What Does A Heavy Period Look Like
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.
Women Just Before Period Stops Menopause
You already know women do not have period throughout their lifetime. At menopause, it stops.
Your ovulation and menstruation are controlled by hormones released from your hypothalamus, pituitary, ovaries, and follicles.
Before period finally ceases, women may have strange symptoms that include hot flashes, dryness of the vagina, irregular menstrual cycle and less than normal period bleeding.
These symptoms usually appear after 40 years but could occur earlier in women with premature ovarian failure.
If you start having scanty periods after 40 years, it may be first signs you are close to menopause.
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What Tests Will Be Done To Diagnose Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
Your provider will do a physical exam and a pelvic exam. Many non-invasive procedures are available that can help your provider diagnose what’s causing your bleeding, such as:
- A sonohysterogram to check for problems in the lining of your uterus. A sonohysterogram allows your provider to see the inside of your uterus while it’s filled with saline. It offers higher accuracy and sensitivity when detecting abnormalities in your uterine cavity than an ultrasound without saline.
- A hysteroscopy to check for polyps, fibroids or other irregular tissue in your uterus. Hysteroscopy allows your provider to inspect your vagina, cervix and uterus. Your provider can remove growths that may be causing your bleeding, like fibroids or polyps, during a hysteroscopy.
You may have other tests, depending on your age and how severe your symptoms are. Other tests may include:
- A blood test to check for signs of anemia, clotting issues, or thyroid disease.
- A Pap smear to study cells from your cervix for changes that may indicate cancer.
- An endometrial biopsy to check uterine tissue for cancer cells or other irregularities.
- Transvaginal ultrasound to check the appearance of the organs and tissues in your pelvis.
- Magnetic resonance imaging to check for abnormal structures inside your uterus when an ultrasound doesn’t provide enough information.
- A cervical culture to test for infection, as indicated by your medical history and the results of your physical exam.
What Foods Make Your Period Heavier
Watch out!Your diet can make your periods heavier!
- Beetroots. Beetroots are loaded with iron, calcium, vitamins, potassium, folic acid and fibres.
- Chocolates. Yes, they are great for your bad moods and cramps but, do you know that eating chocolates while menstruating can make your periods heavy?
- Dairy products.
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Causes Of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
There are a variety of conditions that can cause HMB. The most common conditionsinclude:
Polyps, or growths in the uterine lining, usually cause spotting or bleedingbetween periods and sometimes HMB.
Adenomyosis, the abnormal growth of uterine lining into themuscular wall of uterus, but can sometimes cause heavy and/or painful periods.
Uterine fibroids, benign growths on the uterus, alsoknown as *leiomyomas*, can sometimes cause HMB. If they grow in the uterinelining they will most likely cause HMB.
Cancers and precancers are very uncommon, but important, causes of abnormalbleeding, particularly for individuals under the age of 40. While they can causeHMB, cancers and precancers more likely cause irregular bleeding or bleedingbetween periods.
Coagulopathy, an inherited disorder preventing the blood from clottingnormally, will cause HMB usually from menarche .
Ovulatory disorder, the absence or irregularity of ovulation, is ahormonal problem that may cause irregular bleeding that may or may not includeHMB as a symptom.
Endometrial disorder, an abnormality in the lining of the uterus, preventsthe tissues from stopping the bleeding normally.
Most medications and birth control pills donât cause HMB, but there are twoexceptions: Copper-containing intrauterine devices may increase the amountof blood lost during menstruation and anticoagulants ,which prevent blood clots, usually cause HMB.