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.
Causes Of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
How do you know when your period is normal and when its not? Menstrual bleeding is different for every woman and can change as you age. There might be days when you have a heavy flow and cramps, which is completely normal. But if you have heavy bleeding that interferes with daily activities, you could have a condition called menorrhagia, or heavy menstrual bleeding.
Heavy menstrual bleeding can be caused by subtle health problems that can go unnoticed. In some cases, a larger health issue is the problem. For instance, endometriosis can cause painful and heavy periods. March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, so now is a good time to get familiar with its symptoms.
If you experience heavy menstrual bleeding, it might be time to talk to your doctor. Your doctor will ask you about your health history, perform a physical exam and may order tests like an ultrasound, Pap test or blood tests. After your doctor rules out other potential health problems, they may be able to diagnose you with menorrhagia.
Signs and symptoms of menorrhagia may include:
- Soaking through one or more sanitary pads or tampons every hour for several hours
- Waking up in the middle of the night to change their sanitary pads
- Using two sanitary pads to manage heavy menstrual bleeding
- Bleeding longer than a week
- Passing blood clots larger than a quarter
- Restricting daily activities due to heavy menstrual bleeding
- Symptoms of anemia, tiredness, fatigue, and shortness of breath
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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Should I Be Concerned If My Cycle Has Changed
Any change in your normal menstrual cycle may be a cause for concern. A change in your cycle could be:
- you have a period more often or less often than is normal for you
- your period does not come at all, this is called amenorrhoea
- your bleeding is heavier or lighter than usual
- your period is longer or shorter than is normal for you
Why Is My Period Irregular All Of A Sudden
Sometimes, irregular periods can be caused by some medicines, exercising too much, having a very low or high body weight, or not eating enough calories. Hormone imbalances can also cause irregular periods. For example, thyroid hormone levels that are too low or too high can cause problems with periods. read more
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Endometrial Hyperplasia And Cancer
Endometrial hyperplasia, which is the overgrowth and thickening of the endometrium, can cause heavy period flow.
It is due to unopposed effects of estrogen especially in women taking hormone replacement or diseases like polycystic ovarian syndrome. Symptoms are:
- Bleeding or spotting between period
- Sometimes extremely heavy periods
If your heavy period is due to cancer, then you may experience any of these symptoms
- Vaginal heavy bleeding
- Pain during sexual intercourse
Both endometrial cancer and hyperplasia is usually common in women over the age of 40. Your chances to have cancer increases if youre
Diagnosis Of Painful Periods And Heavy Bleeding
UT Southwesterns experienced gynecologists conduct a thorough evaluation, which includes a:
- Review of personal medical history, including details of the patients menstrual cycle
- Discussion of symptoms
Patients should bring information about the dates and lengths of their last several periods. For sexually active patients, a pelvic exam will be performed to check for infections and to examine the cervix.
To diagnose heavy bleeding and painful periods, our doctors usually recommend one or more tests, such as:
- Blood tests to look for signs of iron deficiency, thyroid disorders, or blood-clotting abnormalities
- Ultrasound: Diagnostic tools that use sound waves to produce images of the pelvic organs. Used to look for any abnormalities
- Pap smear: Sample of cells from the cervix that are examined under a microscope for infection or changes that can lead to cancer or already are cancerous
- Endometrial biopsy: A test that samples a small amount of endometrial tissue for examination under a microscope
- Magnetic resonance imaging scans: Equipment that uses a large magnet and radio waves to produce detailed images of pelvic organs
Based on the results of these tests, we might recommend further testing, such as:
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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.
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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Youre Taking Blood Thinners
Have you ever gone to get your ear pierced and forgotten to mention to the piercer that you took some Advil for pain? You probably encountered a LOT more blood than they were banking on.
It doesnt always clickand we arent always warnedof all the ways that new medication will impact our bodies, so you may have not realized that anticoagulants such as coumadin will indeed cause a heavier period than normal.
Anticoagulants and other anti-inflammatories prevent clots so that blood can flow more easily through your body which includes, you guessed ityour period.
How To Treat The Problem
If you have one heavy period, it can be common to experience these infrequently and there may be no need to consult your GP. However, if you experience a persistent change with a heavier flow for three months or more, you should consult your doctor. Also, the NHS state that if you are experiencing other symptoms such as severe cramp and bleeding between periods then a doctor will be able to see if there is an underlying cause for this.
Some common treatments for heavy periods include contraceptives though I won’t go into the details much more than this as what you are prescribed will depend on what’s going on with your body!
Once you’ve got the green light from your doctor, a herbal remedy such as Agnus castus may be used to address heavy periods.
This symptom is often associated with too much oestrogen or too little progesterone but the remedy helps to balance these things out. Please note however, that Agnus castus cannot be used alongside hormonal contraceptives.
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Causes Of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
While in many cases it is not possible to determine the exact cause, there are a number of reasons a woman may experience abnormal uterine bleeding. Some of the known causes of abnormal uterine bleeding include:
- spontaneous miscarriage in pregnancy
- ectopic pregnancy lodgement of the fertilised egg in the slender fallopian tube instead of the uterine lining
- hormonal disorders conditions such as hypothyroidism , polycystic ovarian syndrome and hyperprolactinemia can disrupt the menstrual cycle
- ovulatory dysfunction this is when the ovary does not release an egg each month. Most commonly, this occurs at either end of a woman’s reproductive years, either during puberty or at menopause
- endometriosis the cells lining the uterus can travel to, attach and grow elsewhere in the body, most commonly within the peritoneal cavity
You Have An Overactive Thyroid
An overactive thyroidalso known as hyperthyroidismbegins producing too many thyroid hormones, which can cause serious issues for your heart, blood pressure, muscles, and more. Abnormally light periods and missing periods are also a symptom of hyperthyroidism. If youre experiencing some of the other symptoms of an overactive thyroid, make an appointment to see your doctor.
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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.
Everything You Need To Know About Abnormally Heavy Periods
When it comes to getting your period, establishing whats normal is a fine art: Every human body is as unique as a snowflake, and your period is no exception. Your period may show up irregularly or the number of days you bleed may go up and down. The pain you experience in the days leading up to menstruation may also fluctuate throughout your life.
But one change we all tend to notice when it comes to our period is a sudden increase in the quantity of blood shed. Especially when it leads to unexpected leakage . Its annoying, concerning, and, TBH, straight-up disrespectful of your uterus.
For some, heavy periods are a temporary thing: They may be caused by a change in birth control, medication, or some other vague factor like an increase in stress. For others, a heavier period is just something theyve always had and probably always will have, whether due to a chronic medical condition or just a genetic happenstance.
Usually, the only reason to worry is if your period is suddenly MUCH heavier than its always been. In these cases, make sure to talk to your doctor to investigate. In the meantime, well explore some of the common causes of heavy periods and offer up a few of our pro tips for coping with a heavy flow.
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How Can The Risk Of Abnormal Menstruation Be Reduced
Here are some recommendations for self-care:
- Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle by exercising moderately and eating nutritious foods. If you have to lose weight, do so gradually instead of turning to diets that drastically limit your calorie and food intake.
- Make sure you get enough rest.
- Practice stress reduction and relaxation techniques.
- If you are an athlete, cut back on prolonged or intense exercise routines. Excessive sports activities can cause irregular periods.
- Use birth control pills or other contraceptive methods as directed.
- Change your tampons or sanitary napkins approximately every four to six hours to avoid toxic shock syndrome and prevent infections.
- See a doctor for regular check-ups.
For Many Women That Time Of The Month Isnt Actually A Monthly Occurrence At All
In fact, about one third of women do not have regular periods. This can mean that the time between periods is very long, or changes from cycle to cycle.
Having irregular periods isnt always a bad thing, but it can definitely be a nuisance. Like when it arrives when youre unprepared, or when you are planning to go on holiday.
More seriously though, irregular periods add a degree of difficulty to getting pregnant or can be the first signal that something else may be wrong with your health.
So how do you know if your periods are normal? What is a normal length of time between periods? And how irregular can they be before you should start to worry?
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Youre Using Hormonal Birth Control
One of the most common reasons for a lighter period is going on hormonal birth control some doctors even prescribe it to women with very heavy periods for that exact reason. So if youve recently started the pill, are using the patch or the ring, or gotten a hormonal IUD, and your periods have lightened up, its normal to have light cycles, to completely skip cycles, or have small amounts of dark or light blood.
What Can Cause Irregular Periods
There is a huge range of reasons why someone might not be experiencing a regular cycle, and its always a good idea to talk with your doctor if that happens. Lets break down a few common causes of irregular periods, according to the Mayo Clinic:
A few other factors that may contribute to menstrual irregularities:
- Birth control: People are sometimes put on birth control to regulate their cycles. Most people return to a regular monthly cycle within weeks or months after stopping birth control, but this can vary depending on your body and the type of birth control you were on .
- Endometriosis: Endometriosis occurs when tissue thats similar to the lining of the uterus starts to grow outside of the uterus. It often grows on the ovaries or fallopian tubes, and sometimes on other organs. Endometriosis can cause pain during and before menstruation, heavy periods, irregular bleeding, and painful intercourse.
- Hypo- and hyperthyroidism: Your thyroid helps control your menstrual cycle. Too much or too little thyroid hormone can make your periods very light, heavy, or irregular. Thyroid disease can also cause your periods to stop for several months or longer, a condition called amenorrhea, or may result in abnormal uterine bleeding.
- Stress: Experiencing stress can tell certain non-essential body systems to shut down. Its not uncommon to have changes to your menstrual cycle during stressful times.
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Home Remedies To Stop Prolonged Periods
There are several natural remedies to treat the symptoms of heavy periods. You can try a few to find out which work best for you and your lifestyle.
Applying a heat pad
Period pain and cramps can be relieved by applying a heat pad the warmth helps relax your muscles.
Cooking in a cast-iron pot
To balance out the iron youll be losing during your heavy periods, you can introduce more iron in your diet by cooking in a cast-iron pot. Moist foods will absorb more iron from the pot than dry foods. However, dont overdo it and cook every meal in your cast-iron pot as you could end up with more iron in your diet than you need.
Resting and exercising
Heavy periods can leave you feeling extremely tired so take rest breaks whenever you can. Relaxing exercise can help you deal with the stress of heavy periods.
Using a menstrual cup
Menstrual cups are becoming more popular as an eco-friendly way for women to manage their periods. If you have heavy periods, these silicone cups come with the added bonus of being able to hold more blood than tampons or pads. This means fewer trips to the toilet to change your sanitary product.
Wearing period pants at night
Period pants look the same as normal pants but have an additional absorbent layer. When worn with a sanitary product at night, they can prevent blood seeping through onto your clothes and bed linen.