For The Immediate Relief
If you are losing a lot of blood during a heavy period and feeling weak or sick, drink some strong black tea with sugar to provide your body with temporary relief and regain some strength.
This tip is especially helpful to those who feel nauseous and struggle with food intake, sometimes for days. Then, when you are feeling better, you should eat something more substantial to help your body recover faster.
Unlike during a normal period, a heating pad is not recommended during a very heavy period. On the contrary, if you are losing a lot of blood, use an ice pack while laying down on a flat surface and elevate your feet slightly.
Monitor your blood loss very carefully! If you are changing pads more frequently than every 2-3 hours, more than one pad at a time, have accidents in blood, e.g. soiling clothes, bed linens, have blood gush or flood out or pass clots quarter size or larger you need to tell your doctor about these findings immediately.
Periods Are Worse When Its Cold
This is, unfortunately, true. For many women, their periods will be longer and heavier during winter. Pain levels can also be higher and mood changes worsened when the days become shorter. This is because along with the normal hormonal changes that occur during a menstrual cycle, the loss of vitamin D can affect moods. Women living in colder environments can experience this as the norm.
You Have Random Pelvic Pain
Pelvic discomfort just before your period and during the first few days of your period can be normal. You may also experience some sensitivity around ovulation. But if you have pelvic pain at other times during your cycle, that may signal a problem.
Another possible sign your cramps arent normal is if you experience pain during sex. Some causes of painful sex are also responsible for abnormally bad period cramps.
If severe cramping is accompanied by fever, vomiting, dizziness, unusual vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge, or if the pain is especially severe, call your healthcare provider immediately.
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Signs Of Abnormally Heavy Periods
Every womans period is different. Some periods are short, lasting just two to three days, while others consistently last a week. While differences in your periods duration and the length of your menstrual cycle might vary, certain symptoms shouldnt be ignored.
Heavy menstrual bleeding, also known as menorrhagia, can severely impact your quality of life and overall well-being. Signs that you might have periods that are too heavy include:
- Bleeding that lasts longer than a week
- Soaking through a pad or tampon every hour
- Needing to change pads or tampons during the night
- Passing blood clots larger than a quarter
Blood lost during your period contains red blood cells, which are important for your overall well-being. Women with regular periods dont lose enough blood to experience negative side effects, but significant blood loss during your period can lead to anemia.
How Do I Know Whats Causing My Heavy Periods
Your doctor will perform an evaluation and likely ask you a variety of questions about your menstrual cycle and how it affects your quality of life. Consider keeping a period log for multiple cycles that notes how many days of bleeding you experienced, how heavy your flow was, and how many sanitary products you needed to control it, and then share this log with your doctor.
From there, to determine the cause of your heavy menstrual bleeding, your doctor may order one or more of these tests:
- Blood test to screen for anemia, thyroid disorders, and blood-clotting issues
- Endometrial biopsy to assess the uterine tissue for abnormalities or growths
- Pap test to evaluate cells from the cervix for infection, inflammation, or cancer
- Ultrasound to evaluate the structure of the uterus, ovaries, and pelvis
Depending on what these initial tests find, your doctor may order additional tests or procedures:
- Sonohysterography to look for problems in the uterine lining
- Hysteroscopy to take a closer look inside the uterus
- Dilation and curettage to find whats causing the excessive bleeding
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Can Heavy Periods Cause Health Problems
Untreated heavy or prolonged bleeding can stop you from living your life to the fullest. It also can cause anemia. Anemia is a common blood problem that can leave you feeling tired or weak. If you have a bleeding problem, it could lead to other health problems.
When should I go to the ER for menstrual bleeding?
When Menstrual Bleeding Is an Emergency Go to the nearest emergency room if you experience severe, acute bleeding in which you soak through four or more pads or tampons in a two-hour period.
When To See A Doctor
Period blood clots are a normal part of your menstrual cycle. But when you notice any changes to the size and amount, it could point to an underlying condition. When speaking to your doctor, be prepared with the following information:
- How long your period usually lasts.
- How heavy your usual flow is.
- If youve been bleeding between periods.
- If youve noticed changes over time.
- If youve been experiencing pain.
- If theres a chance you might be pregnant.
- A list of medications you are currently on.
- A list of other medical conditions.
Expect your doctor to do a pelvic exam. They may also want to do a blood test, a pap test or an ultrasound during your visit.
After an exam and testing, your doctor may prescribe the following based on the results, how severe the clots are and your other symptoms:
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Youre Spotting A Ton Between Periods
The weird thing about spotting is that its one of those period problems that can actually be totally normalto a certain extent. For example, spotting isnt necessarily worrisome if youve just started a new type of birth control, or are pregnant , Dr. Minkin says. But if nothing in your life has changed and you start spotting between periods, its time to check in with your doctor.
Oftentimes, something thats ultimately pretty harmless is causing this menstrual cycle problem, like a benign uterine or cervical polyp thats prompting you to bleed between periods. But spotting is also a common sign of pelvic inflammatory disease , which happens when sexually transmitted bacteria from infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea spreads to reproductive organs like your uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. In addition, pelvic inflammatory disease can cause issues like fever, strange vaginal discharge that smells bad, and burning when you pee.
If you have PID, your doctor will first address the STI in question with antibiotics, says the CDC, then treat your partner for an STI if necessary. Pelvic inflammatory disease is a leading cause of chronic pelvic pain and infertility in women, so if you suspect you have it, getting quick treatment is of the essence.
Key Points About Heavy Period Bleeding
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What Causes Abnormal Clots Outside Of A Period
Clot formation can last longer in those with heavy menstrual flow. About 33% of people with a uterus have periods so heavy that they soak through a pad or tampon every hour for several hours.
Possible medical causes for passing clots when not on your period include:
What Do We Do With All This Blood
How to handle this bleeding is such a challenge. Holy cow, this takes time my friends. Im an old pro at having periods I have long and heavy periods, a history of gigantic fibroids , and I am still figuring things out. Which leads me to the funny conversation today at ZRT MENSTRUAL CUPS. Im a bit obsessedseriously, Ive bought 3 different brands in the last week. As a woman who really struggles with periods, I really, really love menstrual cups. They changed my period experience from something I dreaded to just a blip on the calendar.
Cups are getting so popular that we are even seeing Tampax get into the game. Diva cup and Saalt are both available at Target, so really you can easily find one to try . Why do I love them? They easily catch 2-4 times the blood volume as a tampon. Which means instead of changing a tampon every 2-3 hours, you might get away with dumping them every 6-12 hours. Less bathroom time hurray! Less vaginal dryness and irritation double hurray! Plus, sex is possible in some of these versions so hurray for less period hassles in general!
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Chronic Blood Loss In Women
Many women experience a significant loss of blood each month during their menstrual cycle and can also bleed in between their periods. This is categorized as chronic blood loss and is normally caused by an underlying condition, such as , endometriosis, , or . Many women who suffer from chronic blood loss often have clinical symptoms of anemia.
What To Do If You Have Heavy Bleeding During Your Period
To get more iron into your blood to help it carry oxygen if you show signs of anemia. Ibuprofen . To help reduce pain, menstrual cramps, and the amount of bleeding. In some women, NSAIDS can increase the risk of bleeding. Birth control pills. To help make periods more regular and reduce the amount of bleeding.
Can a hormone imbalance cause heavy menstrual bleeding?
If a hormone imbalance occurs, the endometrium develops in excess and eventually sheds by way of heavy menstrual bleeding. A number of conditions can cause hormone imbalances, including polycystic ovary syndrome , obesity, insulin resistance and thyroid problems. Dysfunction of the ovaries.
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When You Take Birth Control Your Period Isnt True Menstruation
Although you will bleed when taking your week of sugar pills, it isnt the same as a true period. It is sometimes known as monthly withdrawal bleeding. Because birth control prevents ovulation, the processes are different.
When you arent on birth control, your ovulation should start somewhere in the middle of your cycle, though this can vary. When the egg created by your ovaries isnt fertilized, your hormone levels decrease. Then, you began to shed the lining of your uterus.
Most types of contraceptives give you hormones for three weeks and then stop for one week . They will prevent your ovaries from producing an egg every month, but they wont usually stop the buildup of the uterine lining. The bleeding at the last week of your birth control schedule is just a reaction to not having hormones.
Uterine Polyps Or Fibroids
A blockage in the uterus may stop it from contracting as it should, meaning that it cannot force the blood out as quickly as usual. The blood will leave the body more slowly so it will have more time to pool and form clumps.
The blockage can also cause a heavier flow, which results in more blood pooling.
Blockages may occur as a result of growths in the uterus. These include uterine polyps and fibroids, which are not cancerous but can cause other health issues without proper management.
Uterine polyps and fibroids consist of either endometrial or muscular tissue that grows in the uterine wall. They can cause symptoms such as:
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If You Use Tampons Pads Or Period Undies
Because they absorb the fluids, tampons, pads, and period underwear make measuring more of a challenge.
Youll first need to determine the items fully soaked capacity. This info will be on your preferred products packaging .
To estimate how much youre losing, keep a record during your period of the following:
- what product youre using and what size it is
- how full it is when you change it
- how often you change it
Track this info for your next three or four periods so you have enough info to determine your average total loss.
If You Use Menstrual Cups Or Discs
Because they collect the fluid rather than absorb it, menstrual cups or discs will make measuring your blood loss way easier.
Cups typically hold 30 to 60 milliliters at a time, and some even have volume markings to help you track your flow. If your cup is unmarked, just check the packaging or the manufacturers website to find out the capacity.
Discs dont have markings, so youll want to check the packaging or the web to see how much they hold.
During your period, keep a record of how much fluid is in your cup or disc every time you take it out. Do this for your next three or four cycles.
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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.
Is It Normal To Faint During Your Period
During your period, blood is reallocated and diverted to the womb and abdomen so that menstruation can take place. This means that the circulation of blood to other parts of your body can suffer which explains, for instance, why your digestion might be slower the week before your period.
As a result of this poor blood circulation, some women find that they experience light-headedness and even fainting during their period, especially if they already suffer from low blood pressure. This is because the brain requires an adequate supply of oxygen and glucose at all times and, if circulation is poor, the blood carrying these essential elements might struggle to reach the brain.
So, fainting is not something that should be happening to you on a regular basis. If you find that you often faint during your period , there could be something serious going on. You should make sure to visit your doctor to get to the root of the issue. There could be many reasons why you might faint, especially around the time of your period, some of which Ill discuss below.
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How Can Heavy Bleeding Affect You
- feel fatigued, exhausted, dizzy and look pale
- have low iron levels because of the blood loss
- have cramping and pain in the lower abdomen
- need to change sanitary products very frequently
- fear bleeding through to your clothes, which can affect your daily activities.
Listen to a podcast
Jean Hailes Medical Director, Dr Elizabeth Farrell, discusses heavy menstrual bleeding through a personal story with a woman who suffered heavy periods for more than 25 years.
When To See Your Healthcare Provider For Heavy Bleeding
Consider talking to your healthcare provider if you see any of the following :
No period bleeding for 3-6 months
Bleeding or spotting in between periods
Soaking one or more pads/tampons every hour
Bleeding for longer than 7 days
Bleeding or spotting after sex
Blood clots larger than the size of a quarter
Large grayish clots
Any changes that see out of the normal for your period
Consider seeking emergency care if you:
Feel lightheaded, dizzy, short of breath, or experience chest pain related to period bleeding
For some people, blood clots are most common on the heaviest days of their period. If you experience heavy period bleeding and are worried, you should consider talking with a healthcare provider. Even if you do not have the symptoms in this article, being worried is reason enough to check in with your healthcare provider. Consider talking with your friends about your periods, because sharing what each of your period blood looks like and how it changes cycle to cycle may bring reassurance to you all. You may see that what you’re experiencing is similar to your friends’ experiences too.
to track your bleeding and symptoms during your period to better understand what is normal for you, and to spot any changes.
An original version of this article was published September 27th 2017.
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Cervical Or Endometrial Cancer
Cervical cancer, which can be caused by human papillomavirus , can invade other parts of the body. Treatment for cervical cancer includes surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy.
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.