What Is Heavy Menstrual Bleeding?
Heavy menstrual bleeding is one of the most common medical issues women report to providers. One out of every five American women suffers heavy periods each year (CDC, 2017). Here Oohvie shares what heavy bleeding is, what causes it, and treatment. Use Oohvie to track your cycle and share your data with the healthcare provider you choose in your HealthLynked account and take back control of your health.
What Is Menorrhagia?
Menorrhagia is the technical term for heavy period bleeding. Menorrhagia isn’t any form of increased bleeding but rather an excessive or prolonged loss of blood that impacts the woman’s quality of life (Mayo Clinic, 2020). One of the risks from Menorrhagia is anemia, a condition in which the number of circulating red blood cells decreases, causing weakness and fatigue, often requiring iron supplements (John Hopkins). Severe cramping often accompanies Menorrhagia, which may need to be evaluated by a doctor.
Causes for Menorrhagia fall into three prime categories: uterine problems, hormone issues, and other disorders. Uterine conditions can include noncancerous growths, polyps, fibroids, pregnancy-related issues, along with reactions to certain types of birth control (CDC, 2017). Hormone imbalances occur when the levels of estrogen and progesterone are out of sync. The balance between these hormones allows the endometrium, or uterine lining, to shed naturally during menstruation. Hormone issues can cause the endometrium to grow excessively, meaning more blood is needed to expel it (Mayo Clinic, 2020). Obesity, insulin usage, and thyroid conditions are all common causes of hormone imbalances. Other disorders causing Menorrhagia can stem from the liver, kidney, pelvic diseases, and certain types of cancer (CDC, 2017).
Your doctor will recommend treatment based on your family and medical history, cycle data, and medical testing. Hormone treatments can involve increasing progesterone levels, birth control pills, or prostaglandin inhibitors to control blood loss. In cases where the problem originates from the endometrium ablation or resection procedures to remove the uterus lining may be recommended (John Hopkins).
Do You Have Menorrhagia?
Menorrhagia can be a challenge to diagnose because not all periods are created equal. What might qualify as heavy bleeding for one woman could seem normal to another. A regular period is considered four to five days long and has a cumulative blood loss of about two or three tablespoons (CDC, 2017). Track your cycle with Oohvie to provide your doctor with the most accurate information and share it automatically through your HealthLynked profile. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your doctor for an appointment.
- You have to change your pad or tampon every hour or two.
- You regularly change your pad or tampon during the night.
- You double up on pads to control your flow.
- Your periods last longer than seven days.
- Your flow has quarter-size blood clots.
- Your period keeps you from living your life to the fullest.
- Fatigue or lack of energy.
- Consistent, severe cramping
“Heavy Menstrual Bleeding.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 Dec. 2017, www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/blooddisorders/women/menorrhagia.html.
“Menorrhagia (Heavy Menstrual Bleeding).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 1 July 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menorrhagia/symptoms-causes/syc-20352829.
“Menorrhagia.” Johns Hopkins Medicine, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/menorrhagia.