What About Conventional Medicine
Your doctor will discuss which treatment would be most effective for you. He may suggest a contraceptive pill or HRT which would influence your hormones in order to regulate your periods. However, it is important to be aware of the side effects of these treatments. He may also give you medication to stop flooding quickly, if your periods are very heavy or prolonged.
If you are worried that your heavy periods are caused by an underlying health issue or are resulting in anaemia, then it is also important to visit your doctor. Heavy periods are not something which should be ignored, as loss of blood can be detrimental to health.
You Have An Underlying Blood Disorder
It’s rare, but it’s possible that extra-long periods are a sign of an underlying illness, like a hematologic disease, says Dr. Toth. Some of the underlying diseases associated with bleeding, like hemophilia or Von Willebrand disease, are genetic, so if you have this you likely already know about it.
Still, if your periods are lasting a super-long time, and you’ve already been cleared for other conditions, it’s worth checking in with your doctor about tests to rule out a blood disorder that you might not be aware of.
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.
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What Tests Will Be Done To Diagnose Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
Your provider will do a physical exam and a pelvic exam. Many non-invasive procedures are available that can help your provider diagnose what’s causing your bleeding, such as:
- A sonohysterogram to check for problems in the lining of your uterus. A sonohysterogram allows your provider to see the inside of your uterus while it’s filled with saline. It offers higher accuracy and sensitivity when detecting abnormalities in your uterine cavity than an ultrasound without saline.
- A hysteroscopy to check for polyps, fibroids or other irregular tissue in your uterus. Hysteroscopy allows your provider to inspect your vagina, cervix and uterus. Your provider can remove growths that may be causing your bleeding, like fibroids or polyps, during a hysteroscopy.
You may have other tests, depending on your age and how severe your symptoms are. Other tests may include:
- A blood test to check for signs of anemia, clotting issues, or thyroid disease.
- A Pap smear to study cells from your cervix for changes that may indicate cancer.
- An endometrial biopsy to check uterine tissue for cancer cells or other irregularities.
- Transvaginal ultrasound to check the appearance of the organs and tissues in your pelvis.
- Magnetic resonance imaging to check for abnormal structures inside your uterus when an ultrasound doesn’t provide enough information.
- A cervical culture to test for infection, as indicated by your medical history and the results of your physical exam.
Youre Medically Overweight Or Obese
Obesity can affect your menstrual cycle, says Dr. Horton, because larger bodies produce excess estrogen, which can affect how often you have your periods and eventually cause you to stop ovulating regularly. When you stop having periods every month, the lining of the uterus will become thick, and eventually shed, resulting in very heavy and prolonged bleeding.
Losing weight can help you regulate your periods, she says. Your doctor may also prescribe birth control pills or progesterone to help with the prolonged heaving bleeding.
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Diagnosis Of Painful Periods And Heavy Bleeding
UT Southwesterns experienced gynecologists conduct a thorough evaluation, which includes a:
- Physical exam
- 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:
Uterine Fibroids Or Polyps
Uterine fibroids and polyps can lead to extended, and sometimes heavy, bleeding.
Fibroids occur when muscle tissue begins to grown in the wall of the uterus.
Polyps are also the result of irregular tissue growth in the uterus and cause small tumors to grow.
Generally, neither fibroids or polyps are cancerous.
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First What Constitutes Heavy
The average period will see about 30 mL of blood loss with a normal upper limit of 80 mL . If youre using a Lily Cup Classic A, for example, youd probably fill it completely less than 3 times over the course of your period. Menstrual cups make it very easy to monitor the amount of flow you have but heavy can also be indicated by:
- Needing to change your pad or tampon at least every 1-2 hours
- Needing to change your pad in the middle or the night or double up
- Pass blood clots larger than an American quarter
Heavy periods are more common when hormone levels may fluctuate such as in our teens or right before menopause, or, again, always be heavy throughout your life. Its called menorrhagia, and if its a sudden shift this is something to discuss with your doctor.
Is It Normal For A Period To Not Stop
For some women it may seem as if the bleeding literally doesnt stop, continuing through the entire month. But this isnt usually the case.
Since the time between cycles is counted from the first day of your period, a woman who has a 24-day cycle with eight days of bleeding will experience only 16 days period-free. It may seem like youre always having your period even though youre within a standard timetable.
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Hormone And Ovulation Changes
Changes to your hormones or ovulation may cause a long period. You may notice hormonal changes when you first get your period during puberty or in perimenopause. You may also experience a hormonal imbalance from different health conditions, such as thyroid disorders or polycystic ovary syndrome.
If your hormones arent at a normal level or if your body doesnt ovulate during your menstrual cycle, the uterine lining can become very thick. When your body finally sheds the lining, you may experience a period thats longer than normal.
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.
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How Do You Know If You Have Heavy Periods
First things first how do you know if you have a heavy period? Normal period blood loss is considered 30-80 mL, approximately 1-6 tablespoons. But what does that really mean?
Here are the most common signs that your period is truly heavy:
- Your period lasts longer than 7 days.
- You need to use more than 6 pads or tampons per day, not fully soaked, or youre soaking through more than two pads or tampons in a day.
- You typically need to change your pads or tampons after only 1 or 2 hours.
- Youre regularly soaking through your clothes on your period, or youre having to double up on pads so you dont.
- You have to change your tampon or pad during the night.
- Youre passing blood clots the size of a quarter or larger with your period blood.
- Youre having to plan your activities around your period.
If you consistently have a heavy period, you may also find yourself feeling weak, tired and sluggish during the day, which can be a sign of iron deficiency anemia due to a consistently heavy period.
What Are Possible Complications From A Long Period
Delaying a diagnosis could result in a more invasive procedure or intensive treatment for the underlying cause.
Additionally, if your long period causes heavier blood loss, you could be at risk of developing anemia. This may contribute to feelings of tiredness and weakness.
Your doctor can use results from a blood test to diagnose anemia. If your iron levels are low, your doctor may recommend boosting your diet with iron-rich foods and a possible iron supplement to get your levels back to normal.
Long periods may also be painful and interfere with your well-being and quality of life. You may miss days of school or work, or withdraw from activities you enjoy because of your long period.
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An Introduction To Heavy Periods And Menopause
In the lead up to the menopause, known as the peri-menopause, many women experience changes to their normal menstrual cycle, including unusually heavy bleeding. This symptom is usually accompanied by irregular periods. A woman may go for several months without a period and then experience particularly heavy bleeding, or may find her periods coming thick and fast.
Aside from the obvious inconvenience of this, heavy bleeding may also lead to further health problems, such as anaemia. This is when there is not a high enough level of iron in the body. This can lead to extreme exhaustion and weakness.
While many women suffer from heavy periods in the lead up to their menopause, it is important to remember that prolonged bleeding should be checked by your doctor. Bleeding for longer than 1 week per month is not healthy.
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Problems With The Uterus
Did you know that menstrual blood comes from the lining of your uterus? Each month, the tissue on the inside of the uterus builds up in preparation for pregnancy. But if an egg isnt fertilized, that lining sheds, which you experience as your period.
Knowing this, its easy to see how problems with the uterus can cause heavy menstrual bleeding. Some include:
Polyps or fibroids: These benign growths within the uterus can prevent effective contraction of the uterus , which can result in heavy bleeding.
Endometrial problems: If the endometrium is inflamed or infected, the normal process of monthly shedding may not work as well and could lead to heavy menstrual bleeding.
Cancer or precancer of the uterus or cervix: If abnormal tissue is growing in the uterus or cervix, it can bleed easily due to rapid growth.
Complications of pregnancy: Miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy can cause heavy bleeding. And this can happen even before someone knows theyre pregnant.
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What Causes Unusually Heavy Periods
When we notice a change in our bodies, for example, weight loss or gain, a change in libido, aches, pains, skin breakouts or heavy periods, our bodies are usually trying to tell us something. Unusually heavy periods can often be caused by:
- Hormonal imbalance: in a typical menstrual cycle, the balance between the bodys estrogen and progesterone regulates the buildup of the uterus lining , which is shed during the period. If theres a hormone imbalance, the endometrium develops excessively, and the body sheds it through a heavy menstrual bleed. Hormone imbalances can be caused by obesity, polycystic ovary syndrome , thyroid problems and insulin resistance.
- Medication: some anti-inflammatory medications, hormonal medications, and anticoagulants like warfarin can cause heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding.
- Childbirth: heavy menstrual bleeding is common among new mothers.
- Uterine polyps: these small, benign growths on the uterus lining may contribute to heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Dysfunctional ovaries: the ovaries role is to release an egg during the menstrual cycle . The body then produces the hormone progesterone, but a hormone imbalance and menorrhagia may occur if this does not happen.
What Causes Heavy Periods And Abnormal Bleeding
In girls, pregnancy and dysfunctional uterine bleeding are likely to cause abnormal bleeding.
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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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.
Can Excessive Menstruation Be Treated
If your doctor finds stress or birth control pills as the cause of your excessive menstruation, you will be advised or other contraceptive methods used. Also, vaginal infections and other causes will require further testing. Vaginal infections gonorrhea and chlamydia, can be treated with antibiotics. If your bleeding is due to a polyp, a curettage or polyp forceps is used with good success rate.
Also, vaginal infections and other causes will require further testing. Vaginal infections gonorrhea and chlamydia, can be treated with antibiotics. If your bleeding is due to a polyp, a curettage or polyp forceps is used with good success rate.
Wondering why My period wont stop? Let us know.
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Anticoagulants, often referred to as blood thinners, are often taken to help people reduce and break up potentially dangerous blood clots. While anticoagulants like aspirin allow blood to flow through your body more easily, thus decreasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke, they also allow blood to flow more freely down there, according to research from the Royal Free Hospital in London. Your M.D. could help you figure out what meds might be best to prevent this from happening.
Watch 5 women share their first period stories:
What Causes Menorrhagia
During your menstrual cycle, if an egg is not fertilized, the uterine lining breaks down, and bleeds. The egg and the uterine lining are then shed during your period.
Hormone problems or conditions that affect the uterus can result in heavy bleeding. Other diseases or bleeding disorders can also cause it.
Hormone problems include:
- Pregnancy problems
- Use of an intrauterine device
Other conditions such as thyroid, kidney or liver disease, cancer or bleeding disorders can also cause heavy bleeding.
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How Long Is Too Long
Generally, a period lasts between three to seven days. A menstrual period that lasts longer than seven days is considered a long period.
Your doctor may refer to a period that lasts longer than a week as menorrhagia. You may also be diagnosed with menorrhagia if you experience unusually heavy bleeding that lasts less than a week. Five percent of women have menorrhagia.
A long period may be a sign of a serious underlying health condition, such as:
- hormone irregularities
- uterine abnormalities
Its important to see your doctor if you experience a long or heavy period so they can identify the underlying cause or rule out more serious possible causes.
Menorrhagia can cause discomfort during your period as well as disrupt your regular routine. You may find that the bleeding affects your activities or your sleep. You may also experience iron deficiency anemia if you regularly experience long menstrual periods, especially if theyre heavy.
Read on to learn more about long periods, including possible causes and what you can do to manage this symptom.
Long periods can be caused by a wide range of underlying conditions.