Symptoms Of Significant Heavy Bleeding
The official definition of menorrhagia is based on the amount of bleeding and how long it lasts.
During an average period, 2 to 3 tablespoons of blood is lost over 4 or 5 days. Its considered heavy bleeding if you lose more than this amount of blood during your period and/or if you bleed for at least 7 days.
If you have any of the following signs or symptoms, its worth talking with a doctor:
- You pass clots the size of a quarter or larger.
- You get up during the night to change your pad or tampon.
- During the day, you have to change your pad or tampon at least every hour for several hours in a row.
- You use a reusable menstrual cup and bleed 5 milliliters or more an hour for several hours in a row.
- You bleed so much that having your period keeps you stuck at home.
- You have significant abdominal pain and cramping that interferes with your regular routine.
- You dont meet those above criteria, but the bleeding is affecting your well-being.
There are several possible causes of heavy menstrual bleeding. Your doctor will ask more about your symptoms and medical history. Bloodwork or medical imaging may be done to further investigate.
Here are some reasons why your bleeding may be so heavy.
Heavy menstrual bleeding can have major effects on your health and well-being. Its important to pay attention to your body and seek help if you need it.
Causes Of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
While in many cases it is not possible to determine the exact cause, there are a number of reasons a woman may experience abnormal uterine bleeding. Some of the known causes of abnormal uterine bleeding include:
- spontaneous miscarriage in pregnancy
- ectopic pregnancy lodgement of the fertilised egg in the slender fallopian tube instead of the uterine lining
- hormonal disorders conditions such as hypothyroidism , polycystic ovarian syndrome and hyperprolactinemia can disrupt the menstrual cycle
- ovulatory dysfunction this is when the ovary does not release an egg each month. Most commonly, this occurs at either end of a woman’s reproductive years, either during puberty or at menopause
- endometriosis the cells lining the uterus can travel to, attach and grow elsewhere in the body, most commonly within the peritoneal cavity
If You Use Menstrual Cups
One of the easiest ways to measure fluid loss is with a menstrual cup. You dont have to deal with absorption issues. Some cups even include volume markings for easy reading.
Depending on the brand and type, your menstrual cups may hold anywhere from 30 to 60 milliliters at a time. If your cup doesnt have volume markings, you can research the manufacturers website to find out more.
When its time to empty your cup, take note of how much fluid it contains. You can record this as a note in your phone or keep a log. Then empty, wash, and reinsert as usual.
Continue to update your log for your next three or four periods. This should give you enough data to determine your average menstrual loss per day and per week.
You may find that your entire period loss is greater than 60 milliliters. Thats because tissue, mucus, and uterine lining add volume to your flow.
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Cervical Or Endometrial Cancer
Endometrial cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the endometrium grow into the uterus and/or other organs. While the cause of endometrial cancer is unknown, the most common age for diagnosis is the mid 60’s.
Treatment for endometrial cancer is usually a hysterectomy, possibly followed by chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments.
Early diagnosis is key to the effective treatment of cancer. In addition to regular Pap screening for cervical cancer, the American Cancer Society recommends that women at high risk of endometrial cancer have an annual endometrial biopsy.
Treatment Of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
At Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia, adolescent medicine specialists are able to manage the majority of cases of heavy menstrual bleeding. However, if necessary, a coordinated approach may be used with specialists from gynecology, hematology, radiology and endocrinology and others to accurately diagnose and treat patients with heavy menstrual bleeding.
Treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding will be recommended by your adolescent’s physician based on:
- Your adolescent’s age, overall health and medical history
- Cause and severity of the condition
- Your adolescent’s tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies
- Your adolescents future childbearing plans
- Effects of the condition on your adolescents lifestyle
- Your adolescent’s opinion or preference
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Sooooo Why Do Some People Have Nightmare Periods From Hell When There Are Other People Out There Getting By With Lite Tampons And Panty Liners
Honestly, sometimes the cause of a heavy period isn’t known some people just bleed more than others, says Minkin. At the same time, here are some things known to be associated with heavy menstrual bleeding :
Structural abnormalities such as fibroids and polyps, which are growths in the uterus. Find out more about the difference between them here.
Irregular ovulation caused by puberty and perimenopause, or medical conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome and hypothyroidism. This is because when you don’t ovulate regularly, the lining of the uterus can become super thick. So when your period does finally come? “It’s a festival of blood,” says Minkin.
Endometriosis. AKA, a condition where the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus actually grows outside of the uterus .
Pelvic inflammatory disease. AKA, an infection of the female reproductive organs that is often a complication of some STIs, but not always.
Bleeding disorders that cause blood not to clot properly.
Certain medications like blood thinners and aspirin.
Endometrial cancer. But this is rare and usually diagnosed in women who are past menopause meaning that heavy menstrual bleeding is definitely a sign that something isn’t right.
It sounds like a lot thanks, body but don’t fall down a WebMD rabbit hole. Your doctor will help you figure out what’s actually going on.
Very Heavy Menstrual Flow
When periods are very heavy or you are experiencing flooding or passing big clots you have what doctors call menorrhagia. The purpose of this article is to define normal and very heavy menstrual bleeding, to explain what causes heavy flow, and to show what you yourself can do in dealing with heavy flow.
This, and the article called Managing MenorrhagiaEffective Medical Treatments for your doctor or health care provider, are to help you avoid surgeries for heavy flow (
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Can Implantation Bleeding Be Heavy
Implantation bleeding heavy is an entirely wrong term for everyday use. First of implantation doesnt even cause bleeding and it only leads to spotting.
Heavy implantation bleeding is the most inappropriate adjective for the term, and that is the cause of confusion.
If women knew for sure that implantation bleeding is only light spotting, then it would be easy to distinguish implantation bleeding or period.
Implantation bleeding can be heavy if you do not have normal implantation.
In all other cases, implantation discharge will be a few milliliters of blood.
What Should I Do About It
To treat HMB, you and your healthcare provider need to determine its cause orcauses. This can be done by a few simple tests including a blood test, atransvaginal ultrasound and/or taking a sample tissue from the uterine lining.
Polyps: Surgical removal of the polyp is the most effective therapy.
Adenomyosis: Treatment with hormonal contraception, especially anintrauterine device that releases a hormone called progestin.
Fibroids: Some medical or hormonal therapies are effective, althoughprocedures involving surgery are often necessary.
Cancer or pre-cancer: Most pre-cancers can be treated with medication, butcancers usually require surgery.
Blood clotting disorder: Tranexamic acid or hormonal medications are theusual treatment strategy.
Ovulatory disorders: Ovulatory disorders can generally be treated withhormonal medication such as progestins or other hormonal contraceptivemedications.
Endometrial disorders: People with endometrial disorders can respond well totranexamic acid, use of simple NSAIDs like ibuprofen, naproxen or mefenamicacid, the progestin-releasing intrauterine system or other types of hormonalcontraception. When a copper intrauterine device is the cause, some of thetreatments for endometrial disorders can be effective.
Iron deficiency: Whenever there is an iron deficiency, and especially ifthere is anemia, an iron replacement should be part of the treatment.
Let’s support one another.
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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
Um That Sounds Like Me Should I Be Worried
Don’t be worried, but definitely see your doctor so you can start doing something about it! Heavy menstrual bleeding is very common about one third of women seek treatment for it, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. And while heavy bleeding might be a sign of an underlying health problem that needs treatment, there’s no need to freak out until you know what’s going on.
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What Will The Doctor Do
After listening to the story and doing a physical examination, the doctor generally will do some screening blood tests. Basic tests recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists include a complete blood count and some tests to look for bleeding problems. Along with checking to see if her bleeding has caused her to be anemic, its important to check to see if there might be a problem such as low platelets, or Von Willebrand disease, or some other condition that might cause her to bleed more heavily than normal. Some of these conditions dont become apparent until a girl starts menstruating. In retrospect, there is often a history of easy bruising and bleeding, or a family history of heavy periods or other bleeding.
In most cases, doctors will also do a pregnancy test. This may seem like a strange or silly test to do in a young teenager, but pregnancy can cause heavy bleeding and the reality is that we can never entirely know everything about the lives of young girls. Its always better to be safe than sorry.
There are many other causes of heavy periods. If initial tests dont show anything and the bleeding doesnt get better, the doctor may want to check thyroid function as well as some other hormones, and also do some tests to check overall health. Most of the time, though, more tests arent needed.
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Symptoms Of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
- bleeding for more than eight days
- heavy blood loss during the menstrual period for example, soaking through one or more sanitary pads or tampons every hour for several hours in a row
- needing to change your pad or tampon during the night
- have to change or restrict your daily activities due to your heavy bleeding
- bleeding or spotting between periods
- cramping and pain in the lower abdomen
- any vaginal bleeding after menopause.
If you think you may be experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding, you may find it useful to keep a pictorial blood loss assessment chart this can help you give your doctor an idea of how heavy your period is.
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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.
When Should I See A Doctor For Heavy Periods
Many women have come to accept heavy bleeding as a normal part of their cycle. This helps explain why over half of women with menorrhagia dont know they have it, or know that heavy periods are treatable. If left untreated, heavy periods can cause other health concerns like anemia, a red blood cell condition that makes it difficult for your organs to get the oxygen they need.
If your period affects your daily life by causing you to miss work or school, cancel social activities or plan your day around bathroom breaks, you might have menorrhagia. Heavy bleeding can cause other physical symptoms that can make you dread getting your period like extreme fatigue, very painful cramps, lightheadedness, anxiety and depression.
We recommend making an appointment with one of our womens health doctors if you experience any of the above symptoms. A doctor will be able to diagnose whats causing your heavy periods and recommend treatment options. If youre not sure whether your period is normal, just ask!
Our womens health doctors at HealthPartners and Park Nicollet are here to answer your questions. Well help you put an end to planning your life around heavy periods.
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How Can I Stop Heavy Periods
If youve heard that the only options for treating heavy periods are hormone therapy or surgery, thats not true! Just like there are many causes of menorrhagia, there are many treatment options available. Were often able to manage heavy periods with treatments ranging from diet changes to prescription medication.
Menorrhagia can usually be managed with medication and lifestyle changes. In some cases, heavy periods caused by fibroids, growths or endometriosis might be best treated with surgery. The best way to know which treatment options will work best for you is to talk to a doctor.
Seeing A Gp And Further Tests
A GP will start by asking you about your heavy bleeding, any changes to your periods and any other symptoms you have, like bleeding between your periods or period pain.
The GP may also suggest a physical examination or refer you for further tests to try to find out if there’s an underlying cause for your heavy periods.
Further tests may include:
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When Is It Okay To Skip My Menstrual Cycle Or My Period
A person who is NOT on hormonal birth control needs to see a menstrual flow, as in blood, every 1-2 months. Every 21-35 days is average, but at least every 45-60 days should be enough to keep the uterus safe.
If a person IS on certain types of hormonal birth control, as in some types of oral contraceptives, a patch, a shot, a ring, an implant containing a progestin, that person does NOT NEED to have a period. WHY? It is because some forms of hormonal birth control thin the uterine lining and dont leave much blood to shed. You dont NEED to bleed to be healthy. Menstrual blood only serves to refresh and prepare a fresh place for a pregnancy when you arent on birth control. If the pregnancy is being prevented, you dont need to make a space in the uterus by shedding the lining.