Heavy menstrual bleeding refers to prolonged bleeding that lasts more than 7 days and loses two times of blood than normal people (the normal blood loss is about 40 cc). Prolonged bleeding and painful cramps can interfere with your day-to-day activities, stopping you from living your life to the fullest. Here we’ll take a look at the symptoms and causes of heavy menstrual bleeding and when you need to see a doctor.
Symptoms of heavy menstrual bleeding
Some women have heavy periods all the time, from their very first menstrual flow. For others, they start after years or decades of typical periods. Women who have heavy menstrual bleeding may have to:
1. Change pads or tampons at least once an hour for a day or more
2. Change pads or tampons during the night
3. Wear two pads at a time to manage heavy flow
4. Pass blood clots larger than 1 inch (about 2.5cm)
Common causes of heavy menstrual bleeding
Certain drugs, such as aspirin, as well as medical treatment, can cause increased bleeding. But the most common causes of it fall into the following two areas:
1. Uterine-related problems. Some conditions of the womb and ovaries can cause heavy bleeding, including fibroids, endometriosis, adenomyosis, endometrial polyps, cancer of the womb, pelvic inflammatory disease and so on. Besides, problems related to pregnancy, such as a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, can cause abnormal bleeding.
2. Other illnesses or disorders. Other conditions that can cause heavy periods include blood clotting disorders, such as Von Willebrand disease, as well as diabetes. A number of other medical conditions, including liver or kidney disease, may be associated with heavy menstrual bleeding.
Treatments of heavy menstrual bleeding
Heavy menstrual bleeding is one of the most common problems women report to their doctors. It affects more than 10 million American women each year.
A complete blood test is necessary for all women with heavy periods to rule out iron-deficiency anemia caused by heavy periods. Your doctor may also provide a physical examination for any abnormalities. If the doctor has not been able to identify the underlying cause of your heavy periods, he/she may suggest further tests, including hysteroscopy and ultrasound scans.
Heavy periods aren’t necessarily a sign that there is anything wrong, but the causes and symptoms still tell you when you should go to a doctor. Be alert to the signals of your body and follow the doctor’s advice.