Why Do I Have A Heavy Period

heavy period
Heavy menstrual bleeding is an abnormal or prolonged bleeding which is medically referred to as Menorrhagia. Heavy period has been an underlying health problem in over 30% women which occurs during their reproductive lifetime, many women do not know that they can get help for it. Others do not get help because they are too embarrassed to talk with a doctor about their problem.This bleeding can last up to 5-7 days, with this you can't maintain your usual activities when you have your period because you have so much blood loss and cramping. Heavy period can be caused by various factors such as cancer, dysfunction of the ovaries, hormonal imbalance, medications, pregnancy complication. It is important you should go to the hospital or consult your doctor.


signs and symptoms of a heavy period includes;

- Regular replacement of one or more sanitary pads or tampons every hour for several consecutive hours
- Using double sanitary protection to control your menstrual flow
-Having multiple interuptions when sleeping in the course of changing sanitary protection during the night
-Bleeding for longer than a week (bleeding can last for 7 days or more)
-Passing blood clots larger than a quarter or larger
-Inability to carryout daily activities due to heavy menstrual flow
-One may experience symptoms of anemia, such as tiredness, fatigue or shortness of breath, appear pale
-Experiencing constant pain in the lower part of the stomach during menstrual periods.

When you need to see your doctor
When a patient experience any of the following, she should immediately seek medical attention;

- When your period becomes heavy that it soaks at least one pad or tampon an hour for more than two hours
- Bleeding between periods or irregular vaginal bleeding

- Vaginal bleeding after menopause
- If your period prevents you from doing normal activities because of pain, cramping, and heavy bleeding, it’s time to see your doctor.

The doctor may ask you the following questions;

- At what age did you start seeing period?
- What is the normal duration of your period ?
- How many days do you experience a heavy period?
- How do your periods affect your quality of life?
- Your doctor may also carryout a historical research to determine if any of your family members have had heavy menstrual bleeding.
- The doctor may also have you complete this questionnaire to help in  determining if you need to be tested for a possible bleeding disorder.

common causes of an heavy period includes;

HORMONAL IMBALANCE: Hormonal imbalances occur when there is presence of too much or too little  hormone in the bloodstream.When there is a change in the hormonal balance it can affect a normal menstrual cycle, a balance between the hormones estrogen and progesterone regulates the buildup of the lining of the uterus (endometrium), which is shed during menstruation. If a hormone imbalance occurs, the endometrium develops in excess and eventually sheds by way of heavy menstrual bleeding.

DYSFUNCTION OF THE OVARIES: If your ovaries fails to release an egg (ovulate) during a menstrual cycle (anovulation), your body doesn't produce the hormone progesterone, as it would during a normal menstrual cycle. This may result to one having a heavy menstrual period.

UTERINE FIBROIDS: These noncancerous (benign) tumors of the uterus occurs at a childbearing years. Over 25% of all women have fibroids and about one third of these women will experience pain and abnormal bleeding,typical menstrual cycle last  for 3-7 days. Blood flow usually starts off heavy and gets lighter with time. Uterine fibroids may cause heavier than normal or prolonged menstrual bleeding.

POLYPS: This originates from the uterine lining, its a small, benign growths on the lining of the uterus (uterine polyps)  that may cause heavy or prolonged bleeding.

ADENOMYOSIS: This originates from endometrial lining of the uterus grow into muscle of the uterus, this condition occurs when glands from the endometrium become embedded in the uterine muscle, which may cause heavy bleeding and painful periods.

INTRAUTERINE DEVICE (IUD):  Heavy or prolonged period is a well-known side effect of using a nonhormonal intrauterine device for birth control. Your doctor will help you plan for alternative management options.

PREGNANCY COMPLICATIONS: A single, heavy, late period may be as a result of miscarriage. Furthermore, another cause of heavy bleeding during pregnancy includes an unusual location of the placenta, such as a low-lying placenta or placenta previa.

CANCER: Uterine cancer and cervical cancer can cause excessive menstrual bleeding, especially if you are postmenopausal or have had an abnormal Pap test in the past.

MEDICATIONS: Certain medications, including anti-inflammatory medications, hormonal medications such as estrogen and progestins, and anticoagulants such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) or enoxaparin (Lovenox), can contribute to heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding.

Other medical conditions. A number of other medical conditions, including liver or kidney disease, may be associated with menorrhagia

Risk factors

Risk factors of menorrhagia varies with age and whether you have other medical conditions. In a normal menstrual cycle, the release of an egg from the ovaries stimulates the body's production of progesterone, the female hormone most responsible for keeping periods regular. When there is no egg released, insufficient progesterone can lead to heavy menstrual bleeding.

Menorrhagia in adolescent girls is typically due to anovulation. Adolescent girls are especially prone to anovulatory cycles in the first year after their first menstrual period (menarche).

Menorrhagia in older reproductive-age women is typically due to uterine pathology, including fibroids, polyps and adenomyosis. However, other problems, such as uterine cancer, bleeding disorders, medication side effects and liver or kidney disease must be ruled out.


Prolonged or heavy bleeding can lead to the following medical conditions:

Anemia: Anemia is a condition in which the number of red blood cells in the blood is low. The number of circulating red blood cells is measured by hemoglobin, a protein that enables red blood cells to carry oxygen to tissues.

Iron deficiency anemia occurs as your body attempts to make up for the lost red blood cells by using your iron stores to make more hemoglobin, which can then carry oxygen on red blood cells. Menorrhagia may decrease iron levels enough to increase the risk of iron deficiency anemia.

Signs and symptoms include pale skin, fatigue and  headaches. Although diet plays a role in iron deficiency anemia, the problem is complicated by heavy menstrual periods.

Severe pain Along with heavy menstrual bleeding, you might have painful menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea). Sometimes the cramps associated with menorrhagia are severe enough to require medical evaluation.

Treatment you get will depend on the cause of your bleeding and how complicated it is. Your doctor also will look at things such as your age, general health, and medical history as well as how well you respond to certain medications and therapies. Below are the list of the common treatments.

Drug Therapy

Iron supplements: This involves intake of iron tablets to get more iron into your blood to help it carry oxygen  if you show signs of anemia and diets rich in iron such as red meat, dried fruits, nuts etc.

Ibuprofen: It is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug which helps to reduce pain, menstrual cramps, headache and the amount of bleeding. In some women, NSAIDS can increase the risk of bleeding.

Birth control pills: To help make periods more regular and reduce the amount of bleeding.
Intrauterine contraception (IUC). To help make periods more regular and reduce the amount of bleeding through drug-releasing devices placed into the uterus.

Hormone therapy (drugs that contain estrogen and/or progesterone): To reduce the amount of bleeding.

Antifibrinolytic medicines (tranexamic acid, aminocaproic acid): Promotes blood clotting by preventing blood clot from breaking down once it has formed.

Surgical Treatment

Dilation and Curettage (D&C): A procedure in which the top layer of the uterus lining is removed to reduce menstrual bleeding. This procedure might need to be repeated over time.

Operative hysteroscopy: A surgical procedure, using an endoscopic optical lens to view the inside of the uterus, that can be used to remove polyps and fibroids, correct abnormalities of the uterus, and remove the lining of the uterus to manage heavy menstrual flow.

Endometrial ablation or resection: This is an outpatient medical procedure in which all or part of the lining of the uterus is removed to control menstrual bleeding. While some patients will stop having menstrual periods altogether, others may continue to have periods but the menstrual flow will be lighter than before. Although the procedures do not remove the uterus, they will prevent women from having children in the future.

Hysterectomy: A major operation requiring hospitalization that involves surgically removing the entire uterus. After having this procedure, a woman can no longer become pregnant and will stop having her period.

Also read: what your boobs says about your health

Why Do I Have A Heavy Period  Why Do I Have A Heavy Period Reviewed by Gregory on October 03, 2018 Rating: 5

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