If your monthly visitor seems a little outrageous, there’s good news. Channel your inner Twisted Sister and proceed:
When Enough is Enough
Everyone, at some point, has experienced a truly awful period: whether cramps had you in a constant state of ache or if you were bleeding an unusual amount. But how do you know when it’s just one bad period, or if it’s something a little more serious? One of the most commonly searched questions regarding periods is about a little heavy bleeding—so what does that mean?
Menorrhagia is unusually heavy menstrual bleeding: which means you’re either needing to change your pad or tampon more than every one or two hours, or if your period lasts longer than a full seven days. Other signs may be the passage of large blood clots, or nighttime bleeding that requires getting up to change pads or tampons.
That’s right, ladies—if this is the normal for you and your periods, it doesn’t have to be that way anymore.
What Causes It?
As with most medical conditions, there isn’t much you did yourself to cause menorrhagia; it typically stems from underlying medical conditions. Don’t be alarmed: if you do have heavy periods, your doctor can perform a few tests to determine if that’s the case for you. Possible causes include:
- Hormonal imbalances during adolescence or menopause are the most common causes for heavy menstrual flow. When you’re just starting out, or a few years before menopause sets in, your body is undergoing drastic hormonal changes which could lead to a heavier flow.
Likewise, nonhormonal birth control devices such as IUDs (intrauterine devices) could create hormone imbalances. Another common problem with IUDs is adenomyosis, a condition where the glands from the lining of the uterus becomes imbedded in the muscular wall. This problem is most likely to occur in middle-aged women who have given birth multiple times.
- Speaking of giving birth, miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies could lead to heavier period flows. An ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilized egg becomes implanted within a fallopian tube instead of within the uterus.
- Heavy bleeding could be a sign of noncancerous uterine tumors, which typically occur during childbearing years. Rarely, it may also be a sign of uterine, ovarian, or cervical cancer. Diseases such as thyroid, kidney, liver, or pelvic inflammatory (PID) may also contribute to heavy period flows. Blood platelet disorders and lupus are other conditions which could be causing your monthly problems.
While these underlying causes seem frighteningly serious, it could also be as simple as use of blood thinners. Before you panic, consider treatment options:
- Birth Control isn’t just for the sexually active: the dose of hormones can help to calm and regulate periods. If birth control may be causing your irregular period, you can always switch to a method that better suits you and your lifestyle.
- Antibiotics can treat some noncancerous tumors, as well as certain infections and diseases. Some diseases, such as PID or Lupus, may require a variety of different medications to manage comfortably.
- Chemo- or radiation therapies are both viable, popular treatment options for certain cancers and diseases. Some tumors will also shrink by themselves, while others may require surgical removal.
No matter the diagnosis, there are options: it’s important to take your heavy periods seriously. You’re body has been trying to tell you something, and we’re here to listen. Make an appointment with us today so you can start living your life without uncomfortable monthly visits!