How Is Heavy Bleeding Treated
Your doctor might prescribe the following treatments to reduce bleeding and pain:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce inflammation, pain and blood loss.
- Tranexamic acid can reduce blood loss by about 50%. It is non-hormonal and is taken only on the heavy days of the period.
- Insertion of a Mirena® intrauterine device releases a progestin hormone that thins the endometrium and can reduce bleeding by up to 95% after 12 months.
- The oral contraceptive pill can reduce bloodflow by up to 50%.
- Progestins can reduce blood loss by about 30%
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.
What Causes Heavy Periods
For many people with heavy periods, no cause is ever found. This is known as dysfunctional uterine bleeding . DUB can occur at any age and is more common in your late thirties.
Heavy periods may be caused by:
- a problem with the lining of your uterus . This lining is called the endometrium. It can sometimes become too thick or even become cancerous
- lumps in the muscle of the uterus, called fibroids
- a medicine that you take, such as a blood thinner
- a medical condition
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You Have Cervical Stenosis
A rare but uncomfortable problem, Dr. Akopians says this occurs when the cervix narrows or closes up completely. This may occur after previous surgery of the cervix or uterus, such as a LEEP procedure for an abnormal pap or an endometrial ablation for heavy menses. Cervical stenosis may also be due to low estrogen levels during perimenopause. As a result, blood stays trapped in the uterus or is only able to trickle out slowly. If you experience bad cramping, despite a light flow, talk to your doctor.
How To Treat A Long Period
Treatment methods for a long period can vary. Your doctor will treat the underlying cause. They may also recommend a treatment to reduce your current bleeding, regulate your period, or relieve any discomfort.
Hormonal birth control may regulate your period and shorten it in the future. This medication can be administered as:
Your doctor also may advise you to take medication that reduces pain or discomfort you experience from the prolonged period. These medications may include over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, such as Advil or Motrin.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure to alleviate long periods.
Dilation and curettage can thin the layer of your uterus and reduce how much you bleed during your period.
If youre no longer considering having children, you may undergo endometrial ablation, resection, or a hysterectomy. These procedures can relieve the long periods, but they may also eliminate the possibility of getting pregnant.
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What About Conventional Medicine
Your doctor will discuss which treatment would be most effective for you. He may suggest a contraceptive pill or HRT which would influence your hormones in order to regulate your periods. However, it is important to be aware of the side effects of these treatments. He may also give you medication to stop flooding quickly, if your periods are very heavy or prolonged.
If you are worried that your heavy periods are caused by an underlying health issue or are resulting in anaemia, then it is also important to visit your doctor. Heavy periods are not something which should be ignored, as loss of blood can be detrimental to health.
Treatments For Heavy Periods
A womans period is an excellent indicator of many facets of her overall health. Talking openly with your doctor about your cycle can help you get the treatment you need.
If you have consistently heavy periods, your doctor may recommend a combination of hormonal or nonhormonal therapy to regulate your cycle and prevent heavy bleeding. The hormones come in different forms, including:
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Does Menorrhagia And Dysmenorrhea Affect Fertility
These two conditions dont necessarily affect your fertility but can have damaging effects on your health. Blood loss and menstrual fluid loss can be very harmful, and it is important to seek help if you have these conditions.
Once again, having these conditions doesnt necessarily mean youre more fertile or infertile. In fact, Menorrhagia results due to hormonal imbalance mainly.
The pain and effects of cramps usually dissipate in pregnant women or as women grow older. So, these conditions are usually seen in women around 20 to 29 years old.
What Does A Heavy Period Entail
Ive mentioned women having heavy periods, but what does it entail? Heavy periods refer to longer menstrual cycles. Typically menstrual cycles last for 25 to 30 days, but they can extend to 40 days or even more during heavy periods.
As a result of longer menstrual cycles, women will bleed more and also lose more of their menstrual fluids.
Typically bleeding stops after 4-5 days, but women experiencing heavy periods can bleed even after a week. This is a sure-fire symptom of a heavy period and often needs to be diagnosed.
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What Counts As A Heavy Period
Before I start to explain the reasons why periods can suddenly get heavier, I thought it would be useful to examine what defines a period as heavy in the first place.
Firing through the box of tampons or pads
The first thing to consider is the amount of sanitary products you have to use during the course of your period. If you have to change your sanitary pad or tampon every hour or two then this can definitely not be considered normal. Also, if you find yourself having to use more than one of these products at the same time in order to protect yourself from leakages then again, this can be deemed a heavy period.
Lots of leakages
If leakages, known as flooding, are a common occurrence for you then this may also indicate that your period is heavy and can be associated with clots. However, do bear in mind that the strength of your chosen sanitary product may just be inadequate for your flow.
A long period
Another thing to consider here is the length of your period. It is normal for periods to last anywhere between three and seven days but if yours lasts beyond this its an indicator that things are a little heavier than they should be.
Large blood clots
Most women pass blood clots during the course of their periods so the key here is the size. If yours are regularly bigger than a 10 pence piece then it suggests your period is overly heavy.
Signs of anaemia
Lots of blood
If Your Period Seems Watery This Might Be Why
Lets face it: Periods can be weird. At various times they might be clumpy, brown, and, yes, smelly and usually this is all totally standard. But what does it mean if your menstrual blood is thin and watery?
There are a few possible explanations, and they depend on what your baseline looks like and if youve made any major changes recently, such as going on hormonal birth control or beginning to train for a marathon. tend to worry when their period isnt exactly the same as usual, Raquel B. Dardik, MD, an OB/GYN at NYU Langone Medical Center, previously told Refinery29. But theres a large variety of whats normal.
Many people notice that the color and consistency of their period blood changes from day to day. That said, if yours is suddenly light and watery throughout menstruation, and it never was before, its a good idea to check in with your OB/GYN to see whats up. Here are some possible explanations.
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Changes To Your Birth Control
I have written about methods of contraception in previous blogs but here I focus on how changing birth control methods can affect the amount you bleed.
Contraceptive patch and the pill
These contraceptives usually result in a lighter flow so if youve recently stopped using either of them you may experience a heavier period.
The non-hormonal coil
This common contraceptive is non-hormonal and commonly referred to as the ‘copper coil.’ It is inserted in the uterus by a doctor or nurse to stop you getting pregnant. Although it is very effective and can last for years, it comes with the unfortunate side effect of heavier and more painful periods.
Nevertheless, this is only temporary problem and things should settle down after a few period cycles. After all, the body needs time to adjust to the new hormone balance that contraceptives bring.
There is an alternative, hormonal coil known as the Mirena coil which can offer some hormonal support, and in some cases, make periods much lighter, shorter, or can even cause them to disappear completely.
Can I Figure Out How Much Im Bleeding
The easiest way, knowing that one soaked, normal-sized sanitary product holds about a teaspoon of blood loss. Keeping the Menstrual Cycle Diary or Daily Perimenopause Diary is a convenient way to assess the amount and timing of flow using either a count of soaked regular sized sanitary products or a measuring menstrual cup. . To accurately record the number of soaked sanitary products each day you need to recall the number you changed that were half full and multiply that to give the number of fully soaked ones. A maxi or super tampon or pad holds about two teaspoons or 10ml of bloodtherefore record each larger soaked sanitary product as a 2. In addition, record your best judgment about the amount of flow where a 1 is spotting, 2 means normal flow, 3 is slightly heavy and 4 is very heavy with flooding and/or clots. If the number of soaked sanitary products totals 16 or more or if you are recording 4s you have very heavy flow. To measure your flow using a menstrual cup with measurements, just add up the approximate amounts from each time you emptied it and record on the “# of pads/tampons” line.
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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.
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Frequently Asked Questionsexpand All
- How common is heavy menstrual bleeding?
Heavy menstrual bleeding is very common. About one third of women seek treatment for it. Heavy menstrual bleeding is not normal. It can disrupt your life and may be a sign of a more serious health problem. If you are worried that your menstrual bleeding is too heavy, tell your obstetriciangynecologist .
- When is menstrual bleeding considered heavy?
Any of the following can be a sign of heavy menstrual bleeding:
Bleeding that lasts more than 7 days.
Bleeding that soaks through one or more tampons or pads every hour for several hours in a row.
Needing to wear more than one pad at a time to control menstrual flow.
Needing to change pads or tampons during the night.
Menstrual flow with blood clots that are as big as a quarter or larger.
Heavy menstrual bleeding may be a sign of an underlying health problem that needs treatment. Blood loss from heavy periods also can lead to a condition called iron-deficiency anemia. Severe anemia can cause shortness of breath and increase the risk of heart problems.
Many things can cause heavy menstrual bleeding. Some of the causes include the following:
Bleeding disordersWhen the blood does not clot properly, it can cause heavy bleeding.
When you see your ob-gyn about heavy menstrual bleeding, you may be asked about
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 Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
Signs of heavy menstrual bleeding include:
- Abdominal pain.
- Periods lasting longer than seven days.
- Passing blood clots that are the size of a quarter or bigger. The blood may appear red, pink, brown, or even rust-like.
- Bleeding through 1 or more tampons or pads each hour for more than two consecutive hours.
- Losing more than 80 milliliters of blood during your period instead of what is typical, 35-40 milliliters.
- Anemia symptoms, like feeling exhausted, tired or short of breath.
With anemia, you may also notice signs of a condition called pica. Pica symptoms include hair loss, pale skin, and the urge to eat non-food items . See your provider if have these symptoms.
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How Is Heavy Bleeding Diagnosed
After a thorough history and clinical examination including a cervical screening test and swabs your doctor might order blood tests and/or a pelvic ultrasound to eliminate some of the possible causes listed previously. The gold standard is to perform a hysteroscopy and curette in all women over 35 years of age to rule out endometrial hyperplasia or cancer. This is where the lining of the womb is viewed with a telescope the hysteroscope and is then lightly scraped away and a biopsy taken for examination.
Youre Experiencing Early Signs Of Menopause
When a patient mentions a diminishing return on her tampon investment, the first thing Dr. Choi looks at is age. Menopause might be around the corner, but not always. Sometimes with aging the cycles change, she says, noting that its not necessarily a sign of infertility. Someone who needed to use a super pad in their 20s and early 30s may find they need less protection in their later 30s.
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Estimating The Volume Of Your Period
It is difficult to figure out how much menstrual fluid leaves your body every cycle. If you use a menstrual cup, these often have volume measurements indicated on the side of the menstrual cup to help you estimate how much fluid you have lost.
In general, the amount of fluid lost can be estimated when using pads or tampons, depending on the size and soaking amount of the menstrual product. A fully saturated light tampon can hold up to 3 mL of fluid, while a fully saturated super tampon may hold up to 12 mL . A regular daytime fully soaked pad may hold around 5 ml of fluid, and fully soaked overnight pad may hold 10-15 mL .
If you are repeatedly soaking through a tampon or pad every two hours, this is considered heavy menstrual bleeding and should be brought to your healthcare providerâs attention.
What Are The Symptoms Of Menorrhagia
If you have to change your pad or tampon every 1 to 2 hours because it is soaked, or bleed longer than 7 days, see your doctor. Spotting or bleeding between periods is also a sign of a problem.
The symptoms of menorrhagia may look like other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
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Youve Lost Or Gained A Ton Of Weight
Fluctuating weight can mess with your menstrual cycle, making your periods a lot shorter or lighter. Thats because when you gain weight, storing more fat in your body can affect your hormone levels and throw them out of balance. In a similar way, losing weight from restricting calories can put your body into stress mode and create an imbalance of hormones. Dr. Akopians notes that your body needs a healthy balance between protein, carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins, to keep operating normally.