Heavy Menstruation and Fibroids
- Normal periods: these refer to blood losses between 30-40 ml every month. Bleeding can persist for 8 days but averagely, the bleeding lasts for 5 days.
- Heavy Periods: Blood loss of about 80 ml or even more. This is roughly a half teacupful. Nevertheless, it’s difficult to determine the exact amount of blood that a woman can lose during menstrual periods.
- Menorrhagia: This means heavy periods that recurrently occur each month. Such blood losses interfere with the individual’s quality of life. For instance, it may stop you from performing daily activities like shopping, exercising, or working.
Heavy periods are very common, and for most cases, the real cause is unknown. However, fibroids and endometriosis have proven to be the primary contributors. There are multiple ways to alleviate heavy periods and effectively managing them. Options include surgical operations, IUD, and the use of certain medications.
What are heavy periods?
Studies indicate that one in every three women experience heavy menstrual periods. Nevertheless, it’s often difficult to establish whether your monthly periods are normal or abnormally heavy. Some women who think their menstrual periods are heavy actually encounter moderate blood loss. On the other hand, women who feel that their periods are normal actually experience heavy blood loss. Some medical definitions of menstrual periods include:
1. Normal periods - these refer to blood losses between 30-40 ml every month. Bleeding can persist for 8 days but averagely, the bleeding lasts for 5 days.
2. Heavy periods - Blood loss of about 80 ml or even more. This is roughly a half teacupful. Nevertheless, it’s difficult to determine the exact amount of blood that a woman can lose during menstrual periods. Typically, a period is regarded as heavy if it comes with the following signs:
- Passing of enlarged blood clots
- Flooding of blood through beddings and clothes
- Necessitates the use of double sanitary protection like tampons or napkins
- Requires frequent changes of tampons or sanitary pads
3. Menorrhagia - This means heavy periods that recurrently occur each month. Such blood losses interfere with the individual’s quality of life. For instance, it may stop you from performing daily activities like shopping, exercising, or working.
What causes recurring heavy periods?
Fibroids are the commonest cause of heavy periods in many women. Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors affecting the masculine muscles of the womb. With this condition, the shape and size of the uterus are distorted. It isn’t a hormonal problem. It is more prevalent among childbearing as well as menopausal women. During this time, you might experience heavy and irregular periods.
Other possible causes of heavy menstruation include:
- Endometriosis - it is a condition wherein endometrial tissues develop outside the uterus and causing pelvic pain.
- Polyps - these are small fleshy lumps that grow on the uterine lining.
- Pelvic infections - these infections have been proven to cause heavy bleeding. For instance, chlamydia can trigger occasional heavy bleeding. Such infections can be treated with antibiotics.
- Endometrial cancer - most cases of this disease affect women ages 50 and 60 years old.
- Hormonal Changes - menstrual periods can be infrequent and sometimes very heavy if you don’t ovulate each month. For instance, this happens among those women with polycystic ovary syndrome or an underactive thyroid gland.
- Warfarin - a medication that can interfere with normal blood clotting. This medicine can trigger heavier menstrual periods.
- Intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUD) - can also cause heavy periods. Nevertheless, an intrauterine system can effectively treat heavy periods.
- Blood clotting disorders - these are rare causes of excessive bleeding. Other symptoms are likely to accompany such conditions including bruising and bleeding from other organs of the body.
When you stop taking contraceptive pills, you may start experiencing heavy periods. Other women get lighter monthly periods while on the contraceptive pill. Normal menstrual periods return when the pills are stopped. They might appear heavier but they’re usually normal. If your monthly periods are extremely heavy, you may have to consult your doctor for detailed examination tests.