Heavy periods are not only distressing, they can interfere with your day to day life in a major way. Women with unusually heavy periods commonly report missing school days and work days, and having to avoid social engagements. Unfortunately, many women deal with heavy periods for a long time before seeking help.
OB/GYN Kiran Patel, MD, and family medicine physician Leela Patel, MD, specialize in women’s health and provide compassionate, patient-centered care. Our team wants patients with heavy periods to know that you don’t have to suffer silently. There are treatments to lighten your periods so that they don’t have a significant impact on your quality of life.
What is considered a heavy period?
Menstrual flow varies from woman to woman, so how do you know if your period is unusually heavy? In general, your period is considered heavy if you find that you have to change tampons or pads in less than two hours, you pass very large clots, or your period lasts more than 7 days.
These rules aren’t absolute. For example, if you have to change tampons or pads every three hours, and your heavy bleeding interferes with your daily life, you should seek treatment. If you’re distressed by heavy bleeding, we can help.
Causes of heavy periods
Diagnosing the underlying cause of heavy periods can be challenging. There are certain conditions linked to heavy periods. However, an exact cause isn’t always found. The following are some known conditions that are associated with heavy periods.
Fibroids are abnormal growths that develop in the uterus. They’re very common and often don’t cause symptoms. However, fibroids can grow large enough to cause problems, excessive bleeding being one of them.
Uterine polyps are non-cancerous (benign) growths that arise in the uterine lining (endometrium). They can also develop in the cervix. Polyps can cause heavy menstrual bleeding, bleeding between periods, or bleeding after sexual activity.
In endometriosis, tissue similar to the uterine lining, or endometrium grows in other parts of the body, the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and bladder. When this happens, the tissue continues to function the same as it does in the uterine lining, shedding every month during your period. This can cause excruciating pelvic pain, and heavy bleeding.
The inside surface of the uterus may have an abnormally thick lining, which is called endometrial hyperplasia. It can cause heavy menstrual bleeding, or irregular bleeding. Endometrial hyperplasia can sometimes lead to endometrial cancer, which is more common after menopause but can also strike younger women.
Treating the underlying cause of heavy periods can lead to improvements. However, don’t worry, even if an underlying cause isn’t found there are still treatments that can ease your heavy periods.
If you’re struggling with abnormally heavy periods don’t hesitate to reach out to our experts. You can reach out to us by calling our South Charleston, West Virginia, office to schedule a visit with one of our providers. New and existing patients can also request an appointment online.