Signs to Look Out for and Risk Factors of Heavy Periods
Severe cramping and a heavy flow that might last longer than one week are common symptoms when you have heavy periods (menorrhagia). When you experience menorrhagia, your flow will be so heavy that you might need to change your sanitary protection (tampons or sanitary towels) every hour the entire day. Though hormonal imbalance significantly contributes to heavy periods, sometimes the condition might result from growths inside your uterus. Do not suffer from uncomfortable symptoms when you can consult your Fairfax, VA OBGYN team for help.
What are the symptoms you are likely to have with heavy periods?
You will know your periods are heavy when you have the following signs:
- Bleeding that lasts longer (usually more than one week)
- Passing more extensive blood clots
- Minimizing your everyday activities because of severe cramping
- Need to double your sanitary protection
- Need to wake up several times a night to change your sanitary protection
- Need to change tampons or sanitary towels every hour
- Feeling tired
What causes heavy periods?
- Hormonal imbalance
You shed the uterine lining (endometrium) that builds up in your womb during your monthly menstrual flow. Unfortunately, if your estrogen and progesterone hormones fail to balance, your body makes the uterine lining too thick, leading to heavy bleeding as you shed the thick wall. Additionally, you might also have hormonal imbalance when you fail to ovulate during your menstrual cycle as you should, which will likely result in a thick lining and heavy bleeding. Conditions likely to cause hormonal imbalance include obesity, thyroid problems, insulin resistance, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
- Pregnancy-related complications
Though rare, sometimes fertilization occurs, and the cells implant outside your uterus instead of inside your uterus, resulting in ectopic pregnancy. Since the pregnancy is not viable, you will likely experience severe health issues like heavy bleeding, which you might confuse with heavy periods. Experiencing a miscarriage may also cause heavy bleeding.
- Uterine growths
Polyps growing within your uterine lining and fibroids growing in your uterus can make you have heavy periods likely to last longer than they should.
- Certain IUDs
Though IUDs are effective birth control forms, the device is likely to make your periods heavy, especially if it does not have hormones.
You are likely to have the condition when glands form your uterine lining (endometrium) embed in your uterine muscle resulting in painful and heavy periods.
Several other factors likely to result in heavy periods include cancer (cervical and uterine cancer), certain medications, and inherited bleeding disorders.
What are your risk factors for experiencing heavy periods?
Your risk of experiencing heavy bleeding depends on various issues, including your age and a pre-existing medical condition. In your typical menstrual flow, your ovaries release an egg which triggers your body to produce progesterone that regulates your periods. However, when your ovaries fail to release an egg, insufficient progesterone may cause heavy periods. Anovulation is a common cause in adolescents, especially the first year after their initial flow. However, uterine pathology, including adenomyosis, may cause heavy periods in older adults.
A heavy menstrual flow will prevent you from enjoying your everyday activities. Talk to your gynecologist if you dread the intense cramping and blood loss for professional help.