You Have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Affecting between 8-20% of women worldwide, PCOS is a condition in which ovulation occurs infrequently, irregularly or not at all resulting in hormonal imbalance, thick uterine lining tissue and you guessed it, wonky periods. Menses might be absent for months at a time, irregular, heavy and lengthy when they do come.
6. You Have An Infection
Any infection of the uterus can cause heavier bleedingyes, this includes STIs like gonorrhea and chlamydia. These types of infection cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to infertility. If you have had unprotected sexpenetrative or oraland notice heavier bleeding and pelvic pain its important to get yourself tested and treated if need be.
A Period Thats Heavy On The First Day
Many women experience heavier bleeding on the first day of a period and lighter bleeding on the last days. A heavy flow that might get in the way of your normal activities is unusual.
Birth control changes
If you recently stopped using hormonal birth control, your periods may be very heavy in the first days as your cycle adjusts to the hormone changes.
Like birth control, medications you take may interfere with your cycle and lead to heavy bleeding on the first day of your period.
What Causes Heavy Periods And Abnormal Bleeding
In girls, pregnancy and dysfunctional uterine bleeding are likely to cause abnormal bleeding.
As the age increases, you should also think about IUCD , fibroids, endometriosis, adenomyosis, pelvic infection, polyps, hypothyroidism.
In perimenopausal women, consider endometrial carcinoma. General bleeding problems such as von Willebrand’s disease may be the cause as well.
It is an abnormal thing if you have to use 2 or more pads within two 2 hours.
Heavy bleeding can also be related to the following issues:
Dysfunctional uterine bleeding . This is a heavy and/or irregular bleeding in the absence of recognizable pelvic pathology. It is associated with anovulatory menstrual cycles. Anovulation is a medical term for the situation when the ovaries do not release an oocyte during a menstrual cycle. Therefore, ovulation does not take place.
Complications in pregnancy. Heavy periods can be due to a miscarriage and it can also be as a result of an abnormal location of the placenta .
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How Supplements Can Help
Taking extra vitamins during your period might help with bleeding. Certain nutrients like iron, especially help replenish what you lose each month.
Check with your doctor before taking any supplement. They can determine whether you actually need to take a supplement, the appropriate dose for you, and side effects or interactions to watch for.
Potential supplements include:
What Tests Help Doctors Know The Cause Of Your Heavy Periods
After reviewing your medical history and asking about your menstrual cycles, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following tests or procedures:
- Blood tests. These tests will look at the hemoglobin and iron levels and thyroid hormone levels.
- Ultrasound. This is an imaging test that uses sound waves to produce images of your reproductive system.
- Pap test. This is a small procedure in which your doctor takes a small sample of your cervix and sends them to the laboratory for analysis.
- Endometrial biopsy. This involves taking a sample of tissue from the inside of the uterus and sending them to the laboratory to check for cancer.
- Hysteroscopy. This procedure involves using a thin, long flexible tube fitted with a lighted camera to look inside the uterus.
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How Is Heavy Menstrual Bleeding Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will ask a series of questions about your medical history and menstrual cycle to diagnose heavy menstrual bleeding.
Your provider may ask about:
- Your age when you got your first period.
- The number of days your period lasts.
- The number of days your period is heavy.
- Family members with a history of heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Your pregnancy history and current birth control methods.
- Current medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter ones.
Come prepared to talk about your quality of life, too. Your provider needs to know if you’ve been doubling up on menstrual products, avoiding activities or placing restrictions on your life in any way because of heavy periods.
How To Stop Heavy Menstrual Bleeding With Clots Caused By Fibroids
#1. Uterine Artery Embolization
Uterine artery embolization is useful for women who are suffering from heavy menstruation caused by fibroids.
It mainly focuses on shrinking the fibroids by blocking uterine arteries and cutting off the blood supply to the fibroids.
During this process, the surgeon uses a catheter through the large artery in the thigh and guides it to the uterine arteries where substances are injected to reduce the blood supply to fibroids.
#2. Focused Ultrasound Surgery
This too treats menstruation caused by fibroids by shrinking them.
It uses ultrasound waves to destroy fibroid tissues. No incisions are done for this procedure.
It involves the surgical removal of any fibroids. The performance of surgery depends on the size, position, and number of fibroids.
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Double Up On Your Period Products:
Make sure you are using the right products for your flow, as period products come in different shapes and absorbencies.
If youre worried about leakage, buy plenty of supplies. Have overnight pads on hand and make sure not to use a tampon while you sleep.
Its also a good idea to have an extra set of clothes, underwear, bedsheets, and towels to protect where youll be sitting or lying down.
It can be also advised to double up in protection at the beginning of the cycle. Period underwear, for example, is a great backup method for tampons and a cup.
How To Get Rid Of Heavy Period Medically
This drug is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that reduces blood loss during period to 25 percent. It is however not advised if you have asthma or a duodenal ulcer.
This drug is used only when you experience extremely heavy periods. It can reduce excessive bleeding during period by 50 percent in women.
Combined oral contraceptives pills
This has been very useful in treating heavy periods in women. It also helps as a contraceptive to prevent pregnancy. However, it is not suitable for smoking women or women above 35 years. There is also a risk of venous thrombo-embolism. If you are overweight, then this may not be the best solution to your heavy bleeding due to additional weight gain.
Hormonal intrauterine system
Use of levonorgestrel IUDs reduces bleeding to about 95 percent in women. Though it can cause breakthrough bleeding during the first 9 months, it is reduces blood loss and painful periods in women.
Gonadotropin releasing hormone agonist
This drugs act on the pituitary to reduce or stop production of estrogen. Decreased estrogen will cause absent periods. However, these drugs are not used for long term. If used for more than 6 months, it causes hot-flushes, irregular periods, sweating and osteoporosis.
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When Should You Seek Help From Your Healthcare Provider About Your Period Heaviness
If your period amount is regularly over 80 mL, your period is longer than 8 days in length, or if your menstrual flow is so heavy that you are repeatedly soaking through a pad or tampon every two hours, this is considered heavy menstrual bleeding, and should be discussed with your healthcare provider . This type of excessive menstrual bleeding can impact a personâs quality of life and can cause anemia . Heavy menstrual bleeding can have many potential causes including: fibroids , adenomyosis , problems with blood clotting , uterine polyps , and tumors .
If your period has stopped and you are not taking any form of hormonal contraceptive, you should also discuss this with your healthcare provider, as you could be pregnant.
Even if your period falls out of the âofficialâ typical range, itâs important to know what is ânormalâ for you. The majority of health research is conducted on populations from western industrialized countries, which may not reflect your own personal genetic background or environment. Everybody is different, just as everyones period is different. Speak to your healthcare provider if you are concerned about your period volume.
Lets support one another.
Is It Normal For My Period To Stop At Night
Is it normal for my period to stop at night? My pad hardly has anything on it in the morning. Serena*
It might seem like your period stops at night, but what you’re noticing is probably gravity at work. When a girl is standing up, gravity helps blood flow out the vagina. But if she’s lying down, blood doesn’t flow out as easily, especially on lighter flow days. It’s like when you hold a bottle of water upside down: Gravity makes the water pour out much faster than it does when you hold the bottle on its side.
If you notice a pad has barely any blood on it when you get up in the morning, that’s most likely what’s going on. Your flow will start up again as gravity plays its part.
On days when you bleed a lot, night flow can be heavy too. So protect yourself by wearing a high-absorbancy nighttime pad, just in case.
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
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Related: Are Your Periods Irregular You Could Have This Syndrome And Not Even Know It
Yes, this includes infections of the sexually transmitted variety. Gonorrhea, chlamydia, or any infection on the lining of the uterus can cause heavy bleeding, Wysocki says. So if you have been having unprotected sex and are noticing unusual menstruation, its a good idea to see a doctor ASAP. If you do have an STD, there are many medications that can help you out.
A Recurring Period Thats Heavy And Painful
If every period is heavy, painful, and difficult to work around, you may have underlying, long-term issues.
Your body typically balances progesterone and estrogen, the two hormones that play the biggest roles in menstruation.
Too much estrogen, however, can lead to a thickened uterine lining. This can cause heavy bleeding as the lining is eliminated during your period.
An underactive thyroid gland may also cause heavy or irregular menstrual bleeding
Roughly 10 to 30 percent of women with heavy periods have a bleeding disorder, such as von Willebrand disease. These disorders can make it difficult to stop your bleeding.
These small growths on the lining of the uterus can make periods heavier.
Fibroids are noncancerous growths of the muscle tissue of the uterus. They can develop on the outside of the uterus, within the wall, or protrude into the cavity or some combination of these.
Cancer in your uterus, cervix, and ovaries is rarely the sole cause of heavy bleeding, but a heavier period may be a symptom.
During this transition before menopause, you may experience hormonal changes and unusually heavy bleeding during your period.
After you have a baby, heavy periods arent uncommon. These changes may be permanent, or your period may return to a flow similar to what you had before getting pregnant.
- painful periods
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When Should I See A Doctor For Heavy Periods
Heavy periods arent something that you have to put up with. If your period affects your daily life by causing you to miss work or school, cancel social activities or plan your day around bathroom breaks, its time to seek treatment.
We recommend making an appointment with one of our womens health experts if you experience any of the the symptoms described above. An expert will be able to diagnose whats causing your heavy periods and recommend effective treatments. If youre not sure whether your period is normal, just ask.
What Is Normal Period Length And Menstrual Flow
In women, period occurs due to regular cyclic shredding of the endometrium covering the uterus. This is due to hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle.
What is menstrual cycle? Menstrual cycle is the time difference between 2 of your periods. It varies from women to women but usually last 21 to 35 days.
How long do your period last? Normal girls period last for 2 to 7 days. Period flow may be heavy during the first days of menstruation. However as your period progresses, it becomes lighter with less pain during period
How does period occur? During your cycle, estrogen and progesterone play a crucial role to ensure the thickening and maturation of the endometrium. After ovulation occurs and if the egg released is fertilized by the sperm, it is implanted into the endometrium.
Before ovulation, estrogen is the dominant type of hormone produced by the growing follicles. However, after ovulation, the ruptured follicle forms the corpus luteum which increases production of progesterone.
If your egg released is not fertilized and implanted into the uterus, it causes the corpus luteum to breakdown. This will result to decreased hormones and shredding of your endometrium as period.
When is period said to be prolonged?
Long or prolonged periods is when your menstruation last more than the usual 7 days.
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Your Period Often Takes You By Complete Surprise
An unexpected period is a classic annoying menstrual cycle problem. Pour one out for all the times you thought youd have a period-free vacation, only for it to show up right as you hit the beach. Fun! Irregular periods could be due to a number of different things that are in your control, like stress and travel, Dr. Streicher says. But they can also happen because of various health conditions.
Take thyroid issues, for example. Hypothyroidism, which is when your thyroid gland in your neck doesnt produce enough hormones, can lead to an irregular period, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can also cause myriad other symptoms, like heavier than usual periods, fatigue, constipation, dry skin, weight gain, impaired memory, and more. Treatment typically involves taking medication that mimics the thyroid hormone.
On the flip side, hyperthyroidism, which is when your thyroid gland is overactive, can cause light or infrequent menstruation, along with issues like sudden weight loss, rapid heart rate, increased appetite, and more frequent bowel movements, according to the Mayo Clinic.
PCOS and uterine polyps, which we discussed earlier, could be behind irregular bleeding, too.
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:
Other conditions that can cause heavy periods include:
Heavy Menstrual Bleeding The Takeaway
Heavy menstrual bleeding can be frustrating and difficult to live with. But once you figure out if you have it, there are plenty of options available to help you manage the pain and side effects.
If your periods are making life difficult every month, make an appointment with your doctor. They will be able to help you put a plan in place.
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Heavy Period Symptoms Are
- Changing your pads every 1 or 2 hours during the days
- Waking up many times at night to change your pads
- Trying to double your pads to prevent staining
- Feeling weak after days of very heavy bleeding
- Extremely heavy periods affecting your daily activities or work
If you have any of these symptoms, then your period may be heavy. To understand how much blood you lose during periods, you should monitor your period length and menstrual cycle.
- Record the number of sanitary pads you change day and night. Is it fully soaked with period blood clots?
- Record the length of your menstrual cycle. Is your menstrual cycle getting shorter or longer?Learn how to calculate your menstrual cycle.
- Try to remember the last time you had a normal period flow. If this is the first time, then stressful activities could play a role.
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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What Are The Causes Of Heavy Periods
Heavy flow is most common in the teens and in perimenopauseboth are times of the lifecycle when oestrogen levels tend to be higher and progesterone levels to be lower.
Note: There are also various other ways that your menstrual cycle can affect your physical performance daily.
Understanding the possible cause behind your heavy periods can help you figure out the best way to approach it.
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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