Period problems like short, long or heavy periods, irregular periods, etc are common among females. In most cases, the condition is not harmful or threatening to the female and the doctor may suggest medication or lifestyle changes to treat the conditio. But, in some cases, an underlying medical condition or disease might be responsible for heavy menstrual bleeding. However every female’s period cycle is different. There is no standard level to know if your period bleeding is heavy. But, a female would know if she has heavy menstrual bleeding as it would be much lighter as her previous cycles and she may also need to change pads much more frequently.
If you experience a heavy period bleeding, which may require a change of sanitary pad every couple of hours, or if your period cycle lasts longer than 7 days, you should consult a gynecologist without delay.
Typically, heavy menstrual bleeding is accounted as blood loss greater than about 80 mls each cycle. As it is absolutely difficult to measure the volume of menstrual blood loss, it is easier to track your menstrual blood loss with the frequency at which you change your sanitary pads or tampons. Menstrual clots in period blood larger than 1 inch in diameter should also be reported to a gynecologist.
Gynecology conditions that cause heavy menstrual bleeding
Heavy menstrual bleeding may be caused by various underlying issues. Hormones in the female’s body play an important role in her menstrual cycle. In most cases, hormonal imbalance or gynecological conditions are responsible for heavy menstrual bleeding.
- PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)- PCOS is a hormonal disorder in which the ovaries make large amounts of androgens, the male sex hormones. Due to this, small cysts may form in the ovaries. A female with polycystic ovary syndrome is likely to have irregular periods or other menstrual problems. Other symptoms of PCOS include obesity, infertility and excessive hair growth on the face, neck, back or stomach and acne (this condition is known as hirsutism). Treatment of PCOS depends on whether the female desires pregnancy. If the female does not wish to get pregnant that time, lifestyle changes along with other treatment options like birth control pills or oral contraceptive pills can regulate the female’s period cycles.
- Uterine polyps or uterine fibroids- Uterine polyps are small noncancerous growths which form in the lining of the uterus. On the other hand, uterine fibroids are tumors which attach to the wall of the uterus (endometrium). A female may have one or several uterine fibroids that range in size from an apple’s seed to as large as a grapefruit. Females with uterine fibroids and polyps may experience heavy bleeding and severe pain during periods. Treatment for uterine fibroids and polyps depends on their size and other accompanying symptoms. If the female is above the age of 40 and has no relief from other treatment options for fibroids, doctors may suggest a hysterectomy, only if she no longer wishes to have children.
- Endometriosis– This is the condition in which the endometrial tissue which lines the inner side of the uterus grows outside the uterus. Often, the endometrial tissues may also grow on the ovaries and fallopian tubes. In severe cases, it can sometimes grow on the intestines or other organs of the lower digestive tract. Endometriosis may cause abnormal and heavy menstrual bleeding, cramps or pain before or during periods, and painful seex. Timely treatment of endometriosis is necessary for the female’s well-being.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease or PID- Pelvic inflammatory disease or PID is a bacterial infection which affects the female reproductive system. Bacteria may enter the vagina through sexual interourse or contact and further spread to the uterus and other parts of the upper genital tract. In severe cases of pelvic infalmamatory disease, the bacteria might also enter the reproductive tract if the female goes through childbirth, miscarriage, or an abortion. Symptoms of PID include a heavy menstrual bleeding and vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor, long, short or irregular periods and pelvic and lower abdominal pain.
- Dysfunction of ovaries- If the ovaries do not release an egg to ovulate during a menstrual cycle, the female’s body does not produce progesterone (a hormone), as it is normally released during a normal menstrual cycle. This condition may lead to hormonal imbalance and cause prolonged or heavy menstrual bleeding. Timely treatment of this condition can prevent the condition from worsening and may also help control any accompanying symptoms effectively.
- Gynecology cancers such as uterine cancer and cervical cancers may have heavy menstrual bleeding as one of their symptoms. It is best for the female to undergo regular Pap smear tests and cervical screening for timely diagnosis for cancer and other abnormal HPV cells in the body.
- Apart from diseases, certain complications associated with pregnancy, such as miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy may also result in heavy bleeding. Heavy bleeding in pregnancy is an alarming sign and should be reported to a OB-GYN right away.
Consulting a gynecologist for heavy menstrual bleeding
A female suffering from heavy menstrual bleeding faces various challenges everyday such as continuous hassle of changing sanitary protection frequently, prolonged periods, anemia (iron deficiency), feeling lethargic, weak or uncomfortable. Such symptoms can impact her quality of life and trigger stress.
More importantly, heavy menstrual bleeding may be a symptom of a more serious condition.
Heavy menstrual bleeding may just be a symptom of a treatable issue, like hormonal imbalances, or may indicate a serious condition. A female experiencing abnormal, heavy menstrual bleeding should make an appointment with a best gynecologist in Delhi right away for timely treatment.