Menorrhagia is the medical term for heavy bleeding during periods, which affects far more women than you may realize. About one third of women in the United States seek help for heavy bleeding.
The first thing to understand about heavy bleeding is that it isn’t normal. The second point is that it’s important to diagnose the cause so we can curb the menstrual bleeding and improve your quality of life.
Dr. Fernando Otero and our team at Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley understand the many roads that lead to menorrhagia, and we have the experience to help identify and remedy the problem.
Here, we take a look at some of the more common causes of heavy bleeding and how we can help.
Defining heavy bleeding
When we discuss heavy bleeding, there are a few characteristics that qualify the condition, including:
- Bleeding for more than 7 days
- Soaking through tampons or pads every hour or so
- Soaking through tampons or pads at night
- Periods that contain large blood clots (about the size of a quarter or larger)
This bleeding may be accompanied by pelvic pain in the form of cramps, but discomfort isn’t always present when you have menorrhagia.
Common causes of heavy bleeding
There are a number of conditions that can cause heavy bleeding, including:
A majority of women develop benign fibroids in their uteruses during their reproductive years, and they don’t cause any symptoms. If the fibroids grow large or numerous enough, however, they can lead to more bleeding during your menstrual cycles.
If your ovulation is irregular, your uterus can thicken, which can lead to heavier-than-normal periods. Another condition that can thicken your uterus is adenomyosis, because endometrial tissue grows inside the muscular walls of your uterus.
This condition may affect more than 1 out 10 women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the US. If you have endometriosis, your endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus. The bleeding issues that can accompany endometriosis usually include spotting between periods. The hallmark of symptomatic endometriosis, however, is pelvic pain.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
With PCOS, your hormones are imbalanced because your ovaries produce more androgens, and one of the side effects may be heavy bleeding.
There are other issues that can lead to menorrhagia, such as uterine cancer, a bleeding disorder, or pelvic inflammatory disease, but the above conditions represent the more common drivers of heavy bleeding.
Treating heavy bleeding
As you can see above, there are many different roads to heavy bleeding and our first step is to identify what’s behind the problem. Once we have a diagnosis in hand, we can take the steps necessary to remedy the issue, which may include:
- Hormonal medications
- Fibroid removal
- Endometrial ablation
In extreme cases of menorrhagia, we may recommend a hysterectomy to put an end to the problem, once and for all.
To get to the bottom of — and relieve — your heavy bleeding, the first step is to contact one of our offices in McAllen or Edinburg, Texas, to set up an appointment.