While the amount of blood a woman loses during a menstrual cycle can vary widely depending on the woman and the cycle, some unlucky women experience blood loss and cramping so severe that it interferes with their day-to-day activities. The condition is called menorrhagia, and it affects more women than you might expect!
Symptoms of Menorrhagia
Women who have heavy menstrual periods often soak through a pad or tampon for an hour for multiple hours in a row, and they often bleed longer than a week. They may pass large blood clots past the first day of their menstrual cycle, and they may suffer additional complications such as tiredness or shortness of breath. Women who suffer from heavy menstrual periods often must double up on sanitary protection, wake up in the middle of the night to change pads or tampons, and miss out on fun activities where they will not have frequent access to a bathroom.
What Causes Menorrhagia?
Heavy menstrual periods can be caused by a number of different factors, including a hormone imbalance, uterine fibroids, polyps, uterine dysfunction and cancer. They can also be caused by certain inherited bleeding disorders or medical conditions, pregnancy complications, an intrauterine device, and certain medications. Identifying the cause of the excessive bleeding is typically an important step in finding the right treatment method.
What Treatments are Available for Heavy Menstrual Periods?
In many cases, heavy menstrual periods are treatable and reversible. Doctors generally recommend treatments such as oral contraceptives, medications and hormones. For especially serious cases, doctors may also recommend dilation and curettage, focused ultrasound ablation or hysterectomy. Doctors also commonly prescribe iron supplements to replenish the iron that is lost through heavy bleeding. Speak to your doctor about your symptoms to find out which treatment option may be best for you.