My Period Lasting Longer Than Usual Is It Normal
If your period usually lasts for four days and increased to 6 days, then its not prolonged. Also, some women may experience prolonged bleeding once in a while and normalize the next periods.
If your period is persistently long and lasting more than seven days then it abnormal.
Causes of period lasting longer than usual include
Longer than normal period? What to do
If your period lasts longer than normal, then you should monitor it.
Is your bleeding heavy with blood clots? Is it the first time you notice it? Has it been persistent? Do you experience excessive menstruation?
If this is the first time, then you should monitor your next period. If its persistent, then you should let your doctor know.
Diagnosis And Treatment For Abnormal Bleeding
Treatment of menorrhagia is possible once your doctor is aware of the condition.
Your doctor will most definitely ask of your medical history if you are an adult. This is most likely because if it were an adolescent, his or her first guess would be anovulation due to her age.
He or she may recommend you for some test procedures after he or she must have told you to keep tabs on your menstrual cycle. These tabs or notes will now help the doctor during diagnosis.
Some test which might help to diagnose menorrhagia include:
- Ultrasound or laparoscopy. These tests due to its imaging abilities help to show the image of your uterus, pelvis and ovaries using sound waves/ direct visualization and so can help detect abnormalities if spotted.
- Pap smear/test. This test works with the collection of cells from your cervix. These cells are tested to look out for inflammation or an infection around the cervix which may be cancerous and so lead to heavy bleeding when you menstruate or irregularly.
- Blood tests. Your doctor takes your blood sample and checks if there is a case of iron deficiency in your blood due to Anemia and some other problems like blood-clotting anomalies and thyroid disorder .
- Endometrial biopsy. A tissue sample of your uterine wall might be taken to a pathologist by your doctor in order to know why it keeps shedding blood.
- Further tests such as hysteroscopy, sonohysterography, etc. depending on what the previous set of tests would show.
What If My Period Changes
Changes in your period can be a sign of a problem, and most changes are worth seeing a doctor about. Some changes that should be investigated include:
- Your period stops for more than 90 days
- Periods that become irregular when you usually have regular periods
- Bleeding for longer than normal, for example your period normally lasts 5 days and is suddenly 9 or 10 days long
- Bleeding between periods, particularly if you are not on any birth control
- Pain during your period where you have not usually had pain
- Your bleeding has become very heavy, soaking through more than one pad or tampon per hour or staining night clothes
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When Its Time To See A Doctor
You know your body best, so if you feel like youre bleeding too much, you probably are. If youre concerned that your period is too heavy or if its interfering with your daily life, it may be time to see your doctor.
Your doctor will ask you about your menstrual cycle, heavy bleeding and other symptoms you are experiencing. They will ask about your family medical history, and they may run bloodwork and check iron levels, a sign of anemia and blood loss.
For the first few years of your period, there may be months where you dont ovulate, called anovulatory cycles. This is normal but can cause some inconsistencies with your uterine lining and may lead to heavy or irregular bleeding.
Sometimes, a heavy period can be an indicator of a more serious problem. Common conditions that can cause heavy menstrual bleeding include:
· Hormonal disorders. Hypothyroidism and other hormonal disorders can cause heavy bleeding both during your period and bleeding before or after your period, called breakthrough bleeding.
· Fibroids. Noncancerous growths that develop along the lining of the uterus and can cause heavy, painful periods.
· Von Willebrand disease. A hereditary blood disorder caused by either not having enough Von Willebrand factor a protein that helps form blood clots to stop bleeding or having VWF that does not work as it should. As many as 20 percent of adolescents with heavy periods may have this disorder.
What Causes Heavy Painful Periods
If you have heavy painful periods, then its likely due to
- Endometriosis This is endometrial tissues found outside your uterus. It can cause painful and heavy periods. Analgesics like ibuprofen can subside the pain.
- Adenomyosis This is presence of endometrial tissues inside the wall of the uterus. It can be treated with analgesics or cured with removal of the uterus.
- Uterine fibroid
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Cancer Of The Endometrium
Cancer that affects the endometrium of the uterus can cause bleeding in women especially after 40 years. However, younger women may have prolonged heavy period, abdominal pain and vaginal pain during intercourse.
If your doctor suspects cancer as the cause of your long heavy periods, removal of the uterus or hysterectomy will be performed. Removal of the uterus with radio or chemotherapy can achieve cure if done early.
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.
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Seeing A Gp And Further Tests
A GP will start by asking you about your heavy bleeding, any changes to your periods and any other symptoms you have, like bleeding between your periods or period pain.
The GP may also suggest a physical examination or refer you for further tests to try to find out if there’s an underlying cause for your heavy periods.
Further tests may include:
What Are The Treatment Options For Heavy Periods
Your doctor should take your symptoms seriously, ask the right questions and use the best tests to find the cause of your heavy periods without undue delay. Treatment will depend on the cause – as mentioned above, often no cause is found. However, there are still treatments that can make periods lighter. Your doctor will explain the benefits and the possible side-effects.
You should be given information about the full range of treatments that could help and what they involve. Your doctor should also support you to choose one that is right for you. If you are still having problems, your doctor should refer you to a healthcare professional with specialist knowledge of diagnosing and treating heavy periods.
Treatment aims to reduce the amount of blood loss. The rest of this leaflet discusses treatment options for women who have regular but heavy periods with no clear cause . This is the majority of cases. If there is an underlying cause, such as a fibroid or endometriosis, treatment options may be different. See the relevant leaflets to read about treatment for these conditions.
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It Could Be A Sign Of Pregnancy
While one of the clear signs of pregnancy is missing your period, it turns out that some women continue to experience bleeding or a light version of their period when theyre pregnant, says fertility expert Janet Choi, M.D., medical director at CCRM in New York. In fact, shes had patients whove been struggling to get pregnant go out drinking after a light version of their period shows uponly to later learn that they really are pregnant.
Unusually light periods or spotting could also indicate an ectopic pregnancy , which can be very dangerous. When in doubt, take a pregnancy test.
How Much Bleeding Is Too Much
Heavy menstrual bleeding is characterized by experiencing any of the following:
- 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.
You can learn about the causes of HMB here.
If you are concerned about your menstrual bleeding, or other bleeding tendencies, you can use the self-administered bleeding assessment tool available at the Lets Talk Period website . This tool is designed to evaluate menstrual and other bleeding tendencies and tell you if you should be screened for a bleeding disorder.
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Do You Have Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
Understanding whether or not you suffer from HMB requires the accurate recordingof your menstrual history. The intensity of bleeding varies from person toperson, so determining what is clinically heavy is tricky. Furthermore, while asingle period can be heavy, a real problem isnât likely to exist unless the HMBis present at least most of the time.
The medical definition of this is when HMB is present for the majority of periods within the previous six months. Entering your bleeding intensity diligently and correctly in your Clue app will make it easier to assess if bleeding qualifies as heavy.
Your healthcare provider may ask you how many pads/tampons youhave been using in one day. Also, blood clots are very important to note â theirsize, number and color. They contain blood, and it is important to measure andcount them to get an approximation of how much blood has been lost.
Distinguish between regular and maxi tampons or pads, as maxi can usually absorbtwice more than regular .
Check how soaked your tampon or pad is. Is it fully soaked with blood, or justhalf?
Count blood clots they contain blood too.
For a menstrual cup, check the volume capacity and measure how full the cup is.
If the number of soaked tampons or pads is **sixteen or more** for the entireduration of your period , thenyour flow is heavy.
If you note 80mL or more blood with your menstrual cup for one entire cycle,your flow is heavy.
Emergency Treatment To Rapidly Stop Heavy Bleeding
Some women have very heavy bleeding during a period. This can cause a lot of blood loss, and distress. One option as an emergency treatment is to take a course of norethisterone tablets. Norethisterone is a progestogen medicine. Progestogens act like the body’s natural progesterone hormones – they control the build-up of cells lining the womb .So, if a period is very heavy or prolonged, your doctor may advise that you take norethisterone tablets. A dose of 5 mg three times daily for 10 days is the usual treatment. Bleeding usually stops within 24-48 hours of starting treatment. If bleeding is exceptionally heavy then 10 mg three times daily may be given. This should then be tapered down to 5 mg three times daily for a week, once your bleeding has stopped.
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What Is Considered A Heavy Period
In some cases, you may have a sudden heavy period that comes unexpectedly. Most women will occasionally have heavy bleeding. Its not unusual to have changes in your flow.
However, your period is a heavy period if it lasts for more than seven days or you need to change your pad or tampon after two hours. Some women actually have to double-up on pads. If this happens to you, please contact our office for an appointment.
What Is The Prognosis For Living With Menorrhagia
If left untreated, menorrhagia can interfere with daily life. In addition, it can cause anemia and leave you feeling tired and weak. Other health problems can also arise if the bleeding problem is not resolved. With proper treatment and doctor assistance, menorrhagia can be managed and not cause a disruption to your life.
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You Lost A Ton Of Blood During Or After Childbirth
This is a very rare condition, says Dr. Akopians. Losing a lot of blood deprives your body of oxygen, which can end up damaging the pituitary gland and cause something called Sheehans syndrome. That, in turn, drastically reduces the glands production of all types of hormones, including those that control your menstrual cycle. This hormone production not only impacts your menstrual cycle, but it can affect other parts of your body, like your thyroid. So if your doctor is concerned about this, they will likely refer you to an endocrinologist for diagnosis and treatment.
The bottom line: While having a lighter period than normal isnt necessarily cause for alarm, dont ignore the change. Track your cycle for a couple of months, and if it doesnt go back to your normal, make an appointment with a gynecologist.
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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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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: