Expert Management For Painful Periods And Heavy Bleeding
For most women, menstrual cycles occur about every 28 days, and periods last four to seven days. Abnormal menstruation includes problems such as heavy bleeding, known as menorrhagia, irregular menstrual bleeding, and pain during periods, known as dysmenorrhea.
UT Southwestern gynecologic surgeons, specialists, and their teams are nationally recognized for their expertise in womens health care. We participate in research to improve diagnosis, management, and treatment for heavy, irregular, painful periods. Our specialists are also faculty members, dedicated to educating future womens health doctors and other care providers.
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
Obstruction Of Menstrual Blood
Any obstructions that blocks the free flow of menstrual blood from the uterus, to the cervix, and out of the vagina can result to the formation of blood clots. This also causes changes in blood color as well as thickness of the menstrual blood.
Such hindrance also include menopause, which slows down the flow of blood by reducing the size of the cervical canal.
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Say Goodbye To Heavy Bleeding With Oral Contraceptives
This is another option you can consider when minimizing the risk of clotting. In fact, some doctors will ask you to take one if you experience heavy bleeding during your period.
Keep in mind that heavy bleeding and blood clotting can be a result of hormonal imbalance. Taking oral contraceptives could balance hormones in your body, normalize menstrual flow to make them more regular, and in the end, helps you on how to stop blood clots during period.
Other Tips And Tricks
Until you find a treatment that relieves your heavy bleeding, there are a few things you can try to make your periods more bearable:
- Use a menstrual cup. This small silicone cup fits inside your vagina and catches the blood as its released from your uterus. It can hold much more blood than a pad or tampon, and its less likely to leak. And because menstrual cups are reusable, theyre better for the environment than disposable sanitary products.
- Wear period panties. These absorbent undergarments are designed to back up tampons and pads for preventing leaks. You can also wear them on their own. Manufacturers like Thinx claim that their product can absorb up to two tampons worth of blood without causing discomfort.
- Apply a heating pad. Although it wont lighten your flow, a heating pad can help relieve painful menstrual cramps.
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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.
Potential Causes For Large Blood Clots During Your Period
Passing blood clots during your menstrual cycle is often a normal occurrence during the heaviest days of your period. In fact, most women experience clots at some point in their lives however, heavy bleeding and passing large clots can sometimes Read More
Passing blood clots during your menstrual cycle is often a normal occurrence during the heaviest days of your period. In fact, most women experience clots at some point in their lives however, heavy bleeding and passing large clots can sometimes be a cause for concern.
Are huge blood clots normal during your period? What other symptoms can you look out for to ensure that more worrisome health conditions arent occurring?
Menorrhagia is defined as menstrual bleeding that can be heavier than usual. If youre changing your tampon every two hours or sooner, or are passing blood clots the size of a quarter or larger, you may be suffering from heavy periods. This is uncomfortable and often painful, and many women suffer from the debilitating symptoms that come from heavy periods.
There are numerous potential reasons that your period is getting heavier and youre passing abnormal period clots, and the good news is that many of the conditions and reasons for these symptoms are both common and treatable.
Here are seven reasons why you may be passing big blood clots and experiencing heavier-than-normal periods:
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Blood Clots During Period: Is It Normal What Causes It And What To Do About It
Last updated on By Jing J.
If you pass blood clots during your period, you may be wondering if it is normal. Read on to see what kinds of blood clots are normal and what are not.
Do you pass blood clots during your period? Are they large or small? What color are they, bright red, purple or black? Do these clots cause pain or accompany heavy menstrual bleeding?
These are some of the questions I ask when supporting ladies in our community to harmonize their menstrual cycles.
What about you?
It can be alarming to see big, dark blood clots during menstruation. You may be asking yourself: Is it normal to pass clots? What causes this? And what can I do about it?
In this post, Ill help address concerns you may have about clotting during your period.
Is It Normal For Period Blood To Come Out In Clumps
During my period most of my blood comes out in quarter-sized clumps. My periods are normally heavy, but do these clumps mean that something is wrong? Jessica*
It’s perfectly normal to notice some clumps from time to time during your period. These are blood clots that may contain tissue. As the uterus sheds its lining, this tissue leaves the body as a natural part of the menstrual cycle. So clots of tissue are usually nothing to be concerned about. But if you notice large or frequent clots, talk to your health care provider to make sure your period is normal.
You also mention that your periods are heavy. If your period soaks through more than one pad or tampon every 12 hours, talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner. It’s also a good idea for a girl to get checked out if her periods last for longer than a week or if she is having a lot of pain with her periods.
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
How Is The Cause Of Menstrual Clots Diagnosed
To determine the underlying cause of your menstrual clots, your doctor will likely ask you about things that impact menstruation. For example, they may ask if youve had previous pelvic surgeries, use birth control, or have ever been pregnant. Theyll also examine your uterus.
Controlling heavy menstrual bleeding is the best way to control menstrual clots.
What Are Heavy Periods
The amount of blood lost during a period varies a lot between women. This makes it difficult to give a general description of heavy periods. The amount of blood lost can also vary at different times in your life, including if you have had surgery or take medication. However, most women have a good idea of how much bleeding is normal for them during their period and can tell when this changes.
|A good indication that your periods are heavy is if you:|
Heavy periods can lead to a drop of iron levels and red blood cells. This means you may feel tired more easily, feel weak or dizzy or be short of breath and have chest pains.
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Vaginal Infections In Women
If you have infection down there at your vagina, then it may cause blood clots in period.
What are vaginal infection symptoms?
Abnormal discharge like greenish yellowish discharge, yellowish smelly discharge or thick white discharge with odor are symptoms of vaginal infections. Others are vaginal itching, vulva sore, fever, abdominal pain and body weakness.
You should inform your doctor if you have these symptom. Vaginal discharge samples are collected and tested for the cause. Treatment with antibiotics will follow after testing your blood and vaginal discharge with good success rate.
How Otc Medications Can Help
Some OTC pain relievers can help reduce blood loss during your periods. This includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil, Motrin, or aspirin.
NSAIDs dont lighten bleeding as well as prescription drugs, but you can combine them with other medications for better relief. These drugs may also help relieve painful cramps.
High doses or long-term use of NSAIDs can lead to unwanted side effects. You should always have your doctor monitor your dose, and never take NSAIDs if youre allergic or have been told not to.
If you see your doctor about your heavy periods, theyll likely start by prescribing one of the following medications:
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What Causes Heavy Periods
In about half of women with heavy menstrual bleeding, no underlying reason is found.
But there are several conditions and some treatments that can cause heavy menstrual bleeding.
Some conditions of the womb and ovaries can cause heavy bleeding, including:
- fibroids non-cancerous growths that develop in or around the womb and can cause heavy or painful periods
- endometriosis where the tissue that lines the womb is found outside the womb, such as in the ovaries and fallopian tubes
- adenomyosis when tissue from the womb lining becomes embedded in the wall of the womb this can also cause painful periods
- pelvic inflammatory disease an infection in the upper genital tract that can cause symptoms like pelvic or abdominal pain, bleeding after sex or between periods, vaginal discharge and a high temperature
- endometrial polyps non-cancerous growths in the lining of the womb or cervix
- cancer of the womb the most common symptom is abnormal bleeding, especially after the menopause
- polycystic ovary syndrome a common condition that affects how the ovaries work it causes irregular periods, and periods can be heavy when they start again
Other conditions that can cause heavy periods include:
Medical treatments that can sometimes cause heavy periods include:
When Should I Talk To A Doctor About My Period Blood Clots
Put simply, you should consult a professional if you notice a sudden change in your period or if youre experiencing overall discomfort, Wysocki says. Some people might think that normal is being miserable, which it doesnt have to be.
Since heavy bleeding and period blood clots *can* signal more serious issues, theyre worth getting checked out if youre concerned or feel like your life is being disrupted , per the ACOG.
You should also get checked out if you need a new tampon or pad after less than two hours or your blood clots during your period are bigger than a quarter, the Mayo Clinic says.
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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 have an impact on 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.
Diagnosis Of Underlying Conditions
Blood clots in and of themselves aren’t a medical condition, but rather a possible symptom of another underlying condition. Your healthcare provider may start trying to diagnose the cause of your blood clots by asking you some questions, such as:
- How long does your period last?
- How heavy is your usual flow?
- Have you noticed changes in your flow over time?
- Have you been pregnant before?
- Have you ever had pelvic surgery?
- Do you use birth control and, if so, what kind?
- What medications are you on?
Next, your healthcare provider will do a pelvic exam. They may also want to do some tests to figure out what might be causing your blood clots. These tests may include:
Blood Clots Healthcare Provider Discussion Guide
Get our printable guide for your next healthcare provider’s appointment to help you ask the right questions.
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Diagnosis Of Painful Periods And Heavy Bleeding
UT Southwesterns experienced gynecologists conduct a thorough evaluation, which includes a:
- Physical exam
- Review of personal medical history, including details of the patients menstrual cycle
- Discussion of symptoms
Patients should bring information about the dates and lengths of their last several periods. For sexually active patients, a pelvic exam will be performed to check for infections and to examine the cervix.
To diagnose heavy bleeding and painful periods, our doctors usually recommend one or more tests, such as:
- Blood tests to look for signs of iron deficiency, thyroid disorders, or blood-clotting abnormalities
- Ultrasound: Diagnostic tools that use sound waves to produce images of the pelvic organs. Used to look for any abnormalities
- Pap smear: Sample of cells from the cervix that are examined under a microscope for infection or changes that can lead to cancer or already are cancerous
- Endometrial biopsy: A test that samples a small amount of endometrial tissue for examination under a microscope
- Magnetic resonance imaging scans: Equipment that uses a large magnet and radio waves to produce detailed images of pelvic organs
Based on the results of these tests, we might recommend further testing, such as: