Heavy Periods Could Be Uterine Fibroids
While many women may not face serious issues like these when managing their period each month, if youve ever described your period as difficult, painful, atypical or messy or you feel that something isnt quite right with your period you should discuss your concerns with your doctor to make sure all symptoms are taken seriously.
When Should You Be Concerned About Heavy Periods
Lets be frankheavy periods ruin the quality of your life.
Its more than an inconvenience. Its a monthly reminder that makes it difficult to complete day-to-day activities. In fact, its one of the most common conditions we treat.
But when should you be concerned?
What is considered a heavy period?
How much blood is too much?
You should be on the watch for the following symptoms:
- Becoming pale, dizzy or weak. If this happens, you should contact us immediately. This may be a sign of anemia.
- Passing blood clots that are bigger than a quarter.
- Having to change pads or tampons during the night.
- Bleeding through your clothes on a regular basis.
- Being unable to participate in daily activities such as work, school or sports.
Nationwide, more than 10 million women have menorrhagiathe medical term for heavy bleeding during your cycle.
What Is The Normal Menstrual Flow
In a randomly selected group of premenopausal women, the most common amount of menstrual flow was about two tablespoons in a whole period . However the amount of flow was highly variableit ranged from a spot to over two cups in one period! Women who are taller, have had children and are in . That means it is normal to soak one to seven normal-sized pads or tampons in a whole period.
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Why Did My Period Get Heavy All Of A Sudden
A sudden heavy period may be the result of normal hormonal fluctuations or a side effect of birth control. However, heavy periods can also indicate an underlying health condition. A person should talk to their doctor if they experience heavy bleeding or cramping that prevents them from completing normal activities.
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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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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An Introduction To Heavy Periods
Many women complain of their heavy periods, but what does heavy actually mean? Heavy periods, also called Menorrhagia, are surprisingly common and affect many women.
Although it is often hard to measure how heavy you periods are, generally periods are classed as heavy if you lose over 60ml of blood over the course of each period thats just over 3 tablespoons worth…. This can be hard to measure though so throughout this page we discuss some common signs and symptoms that suggest you might be experiencing particularly heavy periods.
We then go on to discuss some common causes and in line with this, some ways in which you can manage your periods going forward if your periods are heavy there are some solutions!
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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
your birth control method
Signs To Watch For With Heavy Periods
Here are some signs that menstrual bleeding may be too heavy, and that you should call the doctor:
- The girl is looking pale and feels dizzy and/or weak. If this is happening, you should call your doctor immediately.
- She needs to change her pad or tampon during the night.
- She is bleeding through her clothes.
- She is passing clots that are bigger than an inch wide.
- Her periods are interfering with her ability to go to school, play sports, or otherwise engage in regular activities.
There are many reasons why girls may have heavy periods. The most common reason is simply that the body is just getting started and getting regulated. If that is the case, it usually gets better with time. However, there are other causes as well, which is why its important to see the doctor.
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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.
When Should You See A Doctor About Abnormal Bleeding
“You need to see a doctor if you dont have a monthly period or have more than one period per month. Feeling lightheaded or dizzy when you stand is also concerning,” says Dr. Schrop. She also urges women to see a doctor if they experience bleeding after going through menopause, or if they experience bleeding while pregnant.
Finally, Dr. Schrop says to see a gynecologist if you are experiencing any of the following:
- Bleeding that requires more than one tampon or sanitary pad in an hour, for several hours in a row
- Bleeding or spotting between periods
- Bleeding after having sex
- Nipple discharge
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How To Stop Very Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
You can help yourself to get some relief from the heavy flow that comes during the menstrual cycle.
#1. Changing the Diet
Though no such studies are there stating diets alone can stop heavy periods, but eating habits do help in managing it.
These changes can also reduce the flow to some extent:
- Take an iron-rich diet Since you lose a lot of blood during heavy periods, iron can reduce the risk of anemia while also helping in the formation of new blood cells.
- Vitamin C The vitamin would only help you along with iron to prevent iron deficiency and anemia.
- Stay hydrated Replenishing your body with water can help you fight fatigue and weakness.
- Avoid foods with processed sugar.
#2. Birth Controls
There are many birth controls available in the market that can help regulate menstrual flow.
They thin out the endometrial lining that reduces the amount of blood and tissues lost during the menstrual cycle.
This way these options can also help you reduce the length of your menstrual cycle.
#3. Over-the-Counter Medications
Some medicines available over the counter can help you relieve period pain and also regulate the blood flow.
However, make sure you consult your doctor before taking any such medications.
#4. Hormonal Treatments
Doctors might recommend hormonal treatments for women who are suffering from hormone-induced menorrhagia.
These treatments usually involve progesterone as they have a fast-acting effect.
How Heavy Is Too Heavy For A Period
The medical term for menstrual bleeding that is seven days or longer is menorrhagia.
In general, if your heavy period goes through one tampons or pads in an hourcontinuing for several hoursthen you should schedule an appointment to see us.
Other signs that your heavy period is too heavy include:
- Doubling up pads during your menstrual cycle
- Changing tampons or pads during the night
- Having blood clots the size of a quarter
- Experiencing fatigue, lack of energy or breathlessness
Another key in deciding whether or not your flow is too heavy is to ask yourself this question: Does my period interfere or make me unable to perform day-to-day activities?
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What Is Considered Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
Normal menstrual bleeding is defined here. Heavy menstrual bleeding happens when you have:
- 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.
Clinically, HMB , is a loss of 80 mL of blood or more, in one cycle. You can use this Pictorial Blood Assessment Chart to help you determine if you are experiencing HMB. However, the experience of HMB is different for each woman, and your perception of your bleeding is more important than the actual amount of blood loss. If you feel your bleeding is more than you can reasonably manage, you have HMB. HMB can be difficult to cope with. It can disrupt your day-to-day life and cause you to miss out on activities you would otherwise participate in. It can cause difficulty concentrating, and reduce performance at school and at work. Younger girls and women may miss school, sports, or other social activities because of HMB. Anemia can result from the excess blood loss. Feeling tired, dizzy, light-headed, or having headaches and are common symptoms associated with HMB.
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.
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
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:
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