Heavy periods or Menorrhagia: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment
When a women lose an excessive amount of blood during their period that is known as heavy periods. It can sometimes happen along with other symptoms, such as period pain.
Heavy bleeding doesn't always associated with serious health problems, but it can affect a woman physically and emotionally, and disrupt everyday life.
The amount of blood lost during a period varies from woman to woman. So it is difficult to define exactly what a heavy period is. Usually the average amount of blood lost during a period is 30 to 40 ml. 60ml or more blood loss in each cycle is considered as heavy menstrual bleeding.
If you are using an unusually high number of tampons or pads, that is an indication that your blood loss is excessive.
There are several conditions that can cause heavy periods which include:
In this condition tiny cysts are formed on ovaries which interfers with regular ovulation. PCOS is a major cause of infertility and can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
This is an infection in the upper genital tract, may be in the womb, fallopian tubes or ovaries that can cause pelvic or abdominal pain and bleeding after sex or between periods.
When tissue from the womb lining becomes embedded in the wall of the womb, that can cause heavy bleeding.
When small pieces of the womb lining are found outside the womb, such as in the fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder or vagina can cause heavy bleeding.
Non-cancerous growths that develop in or around the womb and can cause heavy or painful periods
Non-cancerous growths in the lining of the womb or cervix can cause heavy bleeding.
An underactive thyroid gland doesn't produce enough hormones, causing tiredness, weight gain and depression.
Von Willebrand disease is a disease where blood cells stick together (clot) when you bleed causing heavy bleeding.
Heavy or painful periods can be due to cancer of the womb.
Some medical treatments that can cause heavy periods include:
Diagnosis is usually done by a pelvic examination. Sometimes a blood test may also be recommended to check for iron deficiency (anemia). You may need to have an ultrasound scan if an underlying cause of your heavy periods isn't found.
Treatment of heavy period is not required if there is no serious cause behind it, or the bleeding doesn't affect your everyday life. If treatment is necessary, medication is usually preferred first. The aim is to:
Contraception pills and Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be used to treat heavy periods.
If medication isn't effective in treating your heavy periods, surgery is suggested.
If the cause is fibroids, you may be recommended either:
If your heavy periods aren't caused by fibroids, your options include: