If a woman is experiencing heavy bleeding during periods that last longer, such a condition is called menorrhagia. Heavy bleeding during periods could affect a woman both physically and emotionally. For this reason, it is important to take her to a hospital for management. Though it is not possible to measure the amount of blood loss during periods, one can diagnose a heavy period by observing some factors.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Menorrhagia?
The general signs and symptoms of menorrhagia are:
- Changing soaked sanitary napkins every two to three hours
- Presence of blood clots
- Staining your bed linens or cloths at night
- Having your regular life affected due to periods
- Bleeding that lasts for more than a week
- Passing large blood clots
- Requirement of double sanitary protection
- Waking up to change the sanitary pad during the night
- Anemia, tiredness, fatigue, or shortness of breath
When to See Your Doctor?
Heavy or abnormal uterine bleeding is a common issue that every woman experience in life, but when the blood loss is profound it is called menorrhagia. When you have this condition, you cannot manage your daily chores owing to heavy blood loss and muscle cramps. You have to visit a gynecologist who can administer effective treatments for abnormal uterine bleeding.
The other conditions when you have to visit your doctor are:
- When abnormal vaginal bleeding occurs between periods or if you are experiencing irregular vaginal bleeding
- If you have any vaginal bleeding after menopause
- If the bleeding is heavy and you need to change the sanitary pad every half an hour or one hour
What Are the Causes of Menorrhagia?
Though the reason for menorrhagia is not known in certain cases, there are some known causes, and they are:
Uterine polyps: Small, non-cancerous or benign growths in the lining of the uterus are called uterine polyps, and they may cause prolonged or heavy periods, irregular menstrual bleeding and vaginal bleeding post menopause. You can diagnose this condition by having a uterus scan.
Hormone imbalance: Proper balance of estrogen and progesterone hormones are essential to regulate the endometrium in normal cycle, which are shed during menstruation. When the hormonal imbalance occurs, the lining develops excessively resulting in heavy menstrual flow. Many conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), insulin resistance obesity, and thyroid can cause hormone imbalances.
Uterine fibroids: The occurrence of non-cancerous (benign) tumors in the uterus appear during the childbearing years, which may cause prolonged or heavy menstrual bleeding.
Ovary Dysfunction: When the ovaries do not release an egg during a menstrual cycle or anovulation occurs, the body fails to produce normal progesterone hormone, which leads to hormone imbalance and ultimately in menorrhagia.
Intrauterine device (IUD): If you are using a non-hormonal IUD (intrauterine device) for birth control, it may cause menorrhagia, which is a side effect. In such a case, your doctor may prescribe an alternative plan for birth control.
Adenomyosis: When the endometrium gland grows in the uterine muscle, it may thicken and break down to cause painful and heavy periods. Most doctors are unsure about the causes of adenomyosis, but hormonal treatments or hysterectomy (removing the uterus) can help.
Cancer: Excessive menstrual bleeding may also be due to uterine or cervical cancer. This condition is mostly possible in postmenopausal women who have had an abnormal Pap smear test in the past.
Apart from the above-mentioned condition Menorrhagia may occur due to inherited bleeding disorders such as Willebrand’s disease. It is always advisable to visit the right gynecologist hospital for the management of menorrhagia as the risk factors differ with age, medical history, ovulation and hormonal conditions.