Women experience very different menstrual cycles. The heavy periods ou heavy menstrual bleeding are a menstrual disorder common in women of childbearing age. This is usually bleeding involving more blood flow than is usually seen during periods that can last longer than seven days.
What Are Heavy Periods?
The heavy periods (menorrhagia) are defined as excessive or prolonged menstrual blood loss affecting your daily, social and emotional life. The amount of blood lost during menstruation varies greatly from woman to woman. This is why it is difficult to give a precise definition.
This bleeding may be heavy enough that you need to change tampons or menstrual panties several times a day. Many women describe their periods as heavy. However, it is often difficult to know if your periods are normal or heavy compared to other women.
What Are The Symptoms Of Heavy Periods?
Although it may sometimes seem much larger, the total amount of blood lost during menstruation is around 60 ml. At this rate, it takes approximately four hours for a tampon or pad to need changing. For comparison, doctors consider a woman to have a heavy period when she regularly loses more than 80 ml of blood.
When a woman loses too much blood during her period, it can lead to iron deficiency. If the body lacks iron, it cannot produce enough red blood cells resulting in anemia.
The use of a period tracker app can help you easily keep a history of your cycles. Note the start and end dates of your periods, the volume of your flow, the number of sanitary protections you use and any other symptoms.
Heavy periods are characterized by the following symptoms:
- Change sanitary protection every hour of the day or night
- Use periodic double protection to prevent leakage
- Having periods that last longer than 7 days
- Presence of large blood clots
- Anemia (fatigue, shortness of breath)
What Causes Heavy Periods?
It can sometimes be difficult to diagnose the causes of heavy periods. They are sometimes caused by problems with the lining of the uterus or by a hormonal disorder. It can also be due to taking medication or illness. But in half of women with heavy periods, no particular cause is identified.
However, certain physical conditions affecting the uterus, such as fibroids and polyps, can cause heavy menstrual bleeding. Stress-related issues can also lead to heavy bleeding.
For most women between the ages of 25 and 40, heavy periods have no underlying cause. It is relatively common for periods to become heavier as you approach menopause.
However, certain pathologies can sometimes be the cause:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Hormonal imbalance
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Uterine polyps or fibroids
Which Treatments For Heavy Menstruation?
The treatments available for very heavy periods depend on their cause. Surgery may be done to remove fibroids, polyps, and other noncancerous growths from the uterus. However, many women first use certain medications that help reduce bleeding.
Another option is to use hormonal contraceptives like the birth control pill or an intrauterine device (IUD). Both of these types of contraceptives reduce bleeding by inhibiting the growth of the lining of the uterus.