What Can Cause Heavy Periods?
What we mean by PERIODS is woman monthly menstrual flow. As every woman’s character is different, so is their menstrual flow different from one to another. Some periods are short, light, and regular. The average menstrual flow in women lasts about 4-5 days in a month, and the amount of blood lost is usually small, like 2-3 tablespoon. Though, this can differ from a person to another and from period to period. This is typically referred to as Normal Menstrual Flow.
But in a situation where a woman’s menstrual periods are heavy, irregular, and last for more than 7 days, the bleeding is soaked through the sanitary pad, and there is a need to change your pad at least every 1-2 hours, it is no longer healthy. In situations, you need to double your sanitary protection to control your menstrual flow, and the blood clots in the stream are the size of a quarter or more abundant; it is considered to be Abnormal Menstrual Flow (Heavy Period) also known as Menorrhagia.
Menorrhagia can impact the quality of life and trigger stress. It can make living your normal life very difficult. It can also be the reason for other health problems such as anemia, by reducing the number of circulating red blood cells, and thus resulting in weakness, tiredness, and severe pain.
What Can Cause Menorrhagia
Many possible conditions can cause abnormal menstrual flow. Both physical and hormonal factors can impact the menstrual cycle. In some cases, the causes may not be known by studying your menstrual cycle since everyone is different. It is advisable and helpful to see or talk to your doctor whenever you have symptoms of the Heavy Period. The most common causes of Abnormal Menstrual Flow are:
- Uterine fibroids: This is one condition that may cause the menstrual flow to be more substantial or lasts than usual. They are small, non-cancerous growths inside the uterus. Apart from heavy menstrual flow, these uterine fibroids can result in pain during sex, infertility, complication during pregnancy, frequent urination, lower back pain, etc. If this is the case, it may need medication or surgery to remove the fibroids and control the Abnormal Menstrual Flow.
- Uterine polyps: These are also non-cancerous growths that occur on the uterus, causing heavy virginal bleeding. These uterine polyps may be difficult to recognize because they often don’t come with symptoms and, in some cases, may later be cancerous. So it is very vital to see your doctor for proper medications.
- Infection: Any uterus infection can cause substantial periods such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia e.t.c. This type of infection can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, leading to fertility issues and abnormal menstrual flow.
- Endometriosis: this occurs when tissue from the uterine lining grows outside the uterus, causing pain and heavy bleeding.
- Adenomyosis: This is when glands from the uterine lining grow into the uterine wall, making the uterus enlarge and thick, which can cause painful and heavy periods.
- Complication during pregnancy: pregnancy complications such as miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy can cause heavy virginal bleeding. It would be best if we are cleared on the two. A miscarriage is when a fetus dies in the uterus, an ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fetus starts growing outside of the uterus. Any of these complications can cause severe virginal bleeding, which will require urgent doctor attention to treat it.
- Cervix or uterus cancer: This is not really common. It’s a situation where there is heavy virginal bleeding due to uterine cancer and not related to the menstrual cycle, which may cause painful urination.
- Birth control: If there is a change in your birth control, it can affect your menstrual flow and makes to be abnormal. An excellent example of this is using a copper or hormonal IUD (intrauterine device). It can cause irregular menstrual periods for three to six months after insertion. The appropriate thing to do if you notice a change in your menstrual flow after going through birth control is to see or talk to your doctor for proper alternative management.
- Hormone imbalance: Abnormal menstrual flow can happen due to too much or too little estrogen and progesterone. These hormones are what control the menstrual cycle, so when they are not balanced, they will make the uterine lining to thicken, and when the thick lining sheds during menstrual flow, it may cause heavy bleeding and heavy periods. Stress can cause this hormone imbalance as well as menopause or perimenopause.
- Medication: Some medication side effect is abnormal menstrual flow, especially medicine that thin the blood such as blood thinners, anticoagulants, and other anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): This is a dysfunction in the ovaries in which the ovulation occurs irregularly and, in some cases, results in a hormone imbalance where the thick lining tissues cause abnormal menstrual flow. Sometimes, it might cause an absent menstrual cycle, which is not related to menopause and makes menstrual flow heavy and lasts more than average when it is present.
- Bleeding disorders: A heavy period could also be caused by some bleeding disorders such as von Willebrand disease. Though it is sporadic, if the heavy period occurs regularly and you are bleeding easily after any minor cut, it might be von Willebrand disease. You should talk to your doctor to get an appropriate diagnosis.
- Change in circumstances or life generally: As a human, our body responds to every environment and events. An unfavorable condition like stress can cause abnormal menstrual flow. Some changes in your life also can trigger heavy periods like after pregnancy situations.
Other health conditions that can trigger abnormal menstrual flow include thyroid disorders, liver or kidney disease.
What You Can Do to Maintain Your Heavy Period
When heavy periods are not too complicated or caused by a severe condition like uterine fibroids or cancer, you can do a few things at home to suppress and maintain the situation for the meantime before seeing the doctor if the abnormal menstrual flow is not back to normal. This includes:
- Getting enough rest: What our body needs mostly to restore the lost blood is energy, which we can get by getting enough rest when it is possible.
- Hydrating: Staying hydrated during periods helps your menstrual cycle move freely and prevent your blood from getting too thick. Above all, a heavy period makes the body to lose a lot of water, blood, and iron by staying hydrated can support the overall body health.
- Having Good Diet: Food plays a vital role in overall body wellness. If you have a proper diet, it will make your body feel right. Eating foods that contain more iron-like meat, beans, green vegetables, and so on, can help you reduce heavy periods prevent tiredness or dizziness due to the abnormal bleeding. Food rich in vitamin C can help your body absorb the extra iron in your diet. And avoid any food or drinks that contain too much sugar.
- Taking supplement: Taking some specific supplements like Vitamin C and iron can help prevent body deficiency. The body needs iron to create new blood cells, taking an iron supplement can provide enough red blood cell required to avoid anemia.
- Doing Exercise: A regular exercise promotes general activeness and wellness. Good cardiovascular exercise can help lighten the menstrual flow, reduce the number of days, and lessen water retention.
- Using Herbal Remedies: Some herbal remedies are useful in maintaining a heavy period, but you may need to find out more about it from your doctor to know which one will work best with your condition. Examples of good herbal remedies that can reduce heavy periods are ginger, raspberry, myrtle fruit syrup, and so on.
When You Should See a Doctor
Heavy period symptoms are always complicated. Some are more serious and need a doctor’s attention, primarily when related to the fibroid, cancer, or pregnancy complications, and others that lead to heavy bleeding. Seeking medical help is the best option when your condition is getting critical like:
- Having symptoms of anemia such as tiredness, shortness of breath, and pale skin.
- When you keep bleeding more than seven (7) days.
- When the periods are getting painful or uncomfortable to perform daily activities.
- When you start to feel pain in the lower part of the stomach.
- When the blood is soaking through more than one sanitary pad.
All these conditions mentioned above is not what you should handle lightly, you need to see your doctor for proper medication and treatment. A heavy period is a common experience among women, so don’t be afraid or ashamed to seek medical attention when they are facing this problem. If you consult your doctor, he or she will help identify the real cause and make sure you are adequately diagnosed.