Living With Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
Abnormal uterine bleeding can impact your life in a negative way. Not being able to predict when bleeding will begin can cause you to be anxious all the time. Also, heavy menstrual bleeding may limit your daily activities during your period. For some women, it even prevents them from leaving the house.
If you have heavy menstrual bleeding, try taking ibuprofen during your period . Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug . NSAIDs can work to reduce the bleeding during your period.
You also should make sure that you are getting enough iron in your diet. Your doctor may prescribe an iron supplement to ensure that you dont become anemic.
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 (
What Causes Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
A variety of things can cause abnormal uterine bleeding. Pregnancy is a common cause. Polyps or fibroids in the uterus can also cause bleeding. Rarely, a thyroid problem, infection of the cervix, or cancer of the uterus can cause abnormal uterine bleeding.
In most women, abnormal uterine bleeding is caused by a hormone imbalance. When hormones are the problem, doctors call the problem dysfunctional uterine bleeding, or DUB. Abnormal bleeding caused by hormone imbalance is more common in teenagers or in women who are approaching menopause.
These are just a few of the problems that can cause abnormal uterine bleeding. These problems can occur at any age, but the likely cause of abnormal uterine bleeding usually depends on your age.
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How Heavy Is Normal Menstrual Bleeding
The duration and strength of menstruation varies from girl to girl and from woman to woman. Young girls whose period have just begun, for example, may have heavier periods than adult women.
Additionally, for many women, special events such as stress or travel, as well as hormonal contraceptive methods or a contraceptive IUD, can affect the strength of their periods. However, to give you a rough idea, on average about 40-60 ml of menstrual fluid is excreted during each period.
Women In Their 40s And Early 50s
In the years before menopause and when menopause begins, women have months when they dont ovulate. This can cause abnormal uterine bleeding, including heavy periods and lighter, irregular bleeding.
Thickening of the lining of the uterus is another cause of bleeding in women in their 40s and 50s. This thickening can be a warning of uterine cancer. If you have abnormal uterine bleeding and youre in this age group, you need to tell your doctor about it. It may be a normal part of getting older, but its important to make sure uterine cancer isnt the cause.
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Does A Heavier Period Mean Worse Pms Symptoms
The two are often linked because of the estrogen dominance/low progesterone imbalance. Too much estrogen and too little progesterone can lead to increased emotional and physical PMS symptoms. Progesterone is the feel-good, keep calm and carry on hormone, and when its low during the second half of the cycle, you may suffer from anxiety, anger, low mood disorders like depression, mood swings and snappiness, bloating, breast tenderness, and acne.
How Is Abnormal Uterine Bleeding Diagnosed
The tests your doctor orders may depend on your age. If you could be pregnant, your doctor may order a pregnancy test. If your bleeding is heavy, in addition to other tests, your doctor may want to check your blood count to make sure you dont have a low blood count from the blood loss. This could lead to iron deficiency and anemia.
An ultrasound exam of your pelvic area shows both the uterus and the ovaries. It may also show the cause of your bleeding.
Your doctor may want to do an endometrial biopsy. This is a test of the uterine lining. Its done by putting a thin plastic tube into your uterus. Your doctor will use the catheter to remove a tiny piece of the uterine lining. He or she will send that lining to the lab for testing. The test will show if you have cancer or a change in the cells. A biopsy can be done in the doctors office and causes only mild pain.
Another test is a hysteroscopy. A thin tube with a tiny camera in it is put into your uterus. The camera lets your doctor see the inside of your uterus. If anything abnormal shows up, your doctor can get tissue for a biopsy.
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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.
When To See Your Doctor
If bleeding is so heavy that you must replace a pad or tampon every hour, talk with your doctor.
Likewise, if your period prevents you from doing normal activities because of pain, cramping, and heavy bleeding, its time to see your doctor.
During a visit, your doctor may:
- conduct a physical exam
- request your health history
- request that your symptoms be recorded
They may also order a biopsy or imaging tests to look more closely at your uterus.
Its difficult to know if your period is considered normal or heavy without your doctors help. Theyll be your guide in the process of figuring out if an underlying issue is the reason for your heavy periods.
Typical treatments for heavy periods focus on regulating blood flow. Some treatments can also eliminate symptoms such as pain and cramping.
If an underlying condition is causing your heavy bleeding, treating it may eliminate your unusually heavy periods.
Typical treatments for heavy periods include:
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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 affect 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.
Can Any Herbal Remedies Help
Herbal remedies may also be useful in treating heavy periods:
- Agnus castus Agnus castus is fantastic for women who suffer from PMS and are oestrogen dominant. An imbalance in oestrogen can give rise to symptoms such as anger and irritability, mood swings, sore breasts and heavy, painful periods. Agnus castus gently increases the amount of progesterone your body makes which creates a better balance between progesterone and oestrogen.
- Kelp Kelp is a food source of many vitamins and minerals including iodine, iron, magnesium, calcium and B vitamins. It is especially rich in iodine which gently supports your thyroid .
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Can Abnormal Uterine Bleeding Be Prevented Or Avoided
If your abnormal uterine bleeding is caused by hormonal changes, you will not be able to prevent it. But if your hormonal changes are caused by being overweight, losing weight could help. Your weight affects your hormone production. Maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent abnormal uterine bleeding.
What Is Considered Light Bleeding Pregnancy
Light bleeding, or spotting, during pregnancy is common, especially during the first trimester. It is considered spotting when you notice a few drops of blood occasionally in your underwear, or if you wipe yourself with tissue and see a little blood on the paper. There should not be enough blood to fill a panty liner.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Heavy Periods:
Diagnosing heavy periods isnt always easy and women can often have the odd heavy one and then return to normal again. Below we outline some signs to look out for. If these are occurring more often than not, then it might suggest that your periods are heavy.
How much blood you lose:
The amount of blood loss per period is the obvious indicator of how heavy your period is. Periods are considered heavy if you lose more than 60 80ml per period . However, unless you have a tablespoon handy this might be hard to measure. Generally, if you are having to change your pad or tampon every hour for several consecutive hours then this is classed as a heavy period.
Flooding is a heavy surge of blood loss that often results in you soaking through your period product and onto your clothes or bedding. This shouldnt happen for an extended period of time or you can become anaemic very quickly. Frequent flooding suggests you have heavy periods.
Note make sure you are choosing the right period products for you. If the shape or size is wrong, you could leak as a consequence and confuse this for flooding.
Changing your period product during the night:
Generally having to get up during the night to change your period products can suggest you have a heavy flow.
During the night gravity means blood loss should be even slower, although flooding is more likely to occur when you stand up after a nights sleep if your periods are particularly heavy.
Length of your period:
What Tests Might Be Needed For Heavy Periods
Your doctor might do or advise one or more of the following tests:
- An examination to see whether the bleeding is coming from your cervix, not your uterus. This is done in a similar way as a cervical smear or HPV screening test.
- Blood tests to look for anaemia, iron levels, thyroid disease or a bleeding disorder.
- An ultrasound of your uterus and ovaries to detect abnormalities in your uterus, such as polyps or fibroids.
- A cervical smear in which a sample of cells is collected from your cervix and then looked at to see if you have an infection, inflammation or changes in the cells that might be or cause cancer.
- A sample of the lining of the uterus to see whether there are any precancerous or cancerous changes.
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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.
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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How To Treat Menorrhagia:
- Treatment for menorrhagia depends on the type of bleeding disorder. Amicar®, Cyklokapron®, desmopressin, or even platelet transfusion may be used.
- Stimate® nasal spray, if effective, may be used on the first day of the period.
- Birth control pills or hormones can be used to control the periods. They also raise the clotting factor levels in some women with bleeding disorders.
Some women with menorrhagia are treated with hormones. They receive a combination of estrogen and progesterone. This causes thinning of the lining of the uterus so that there is less lining to shed during the monthly period. The longer you take the hormonal medication, the lighter and shorter your period becomes.
There are several forms of hormone medicine. You and your health care provider can decide which will work the best for you. Hormones can be taken in a daily pill or as an injection that is given every three months. Your health care provider can put a device in your uterus. This intrauterine device releases a hormone that helps control the bleeding. It can be left in place for up to five years.
Removal of the uterus will stop menstrual bleeding completely, but it is a drastic step. Make sure you have discussed all other treatment options with your doctor.