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#16:“When Ruby Red Goes Wrong: Heavy Periods”

Updated: Mar 22, 2023


Morning ladies! I introduce this condition in my last #WomenWednesday post, but I want to dive into it more to give us more understanding about heavy periods aka Menorrhagia. How do we know if we are bleeding too “heavy”? “Understanding whether or not you suffer from heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) requires the accurate recording of your menstrual history. The intensity of bleeding varies from person to person, so determining what is clinically heavy is tricky. Furthermore, while a single period can be heavy, a real problem isn’t likely to exist unless the HMB is present at least most of the time. The medical definition of this is when HMB is present for the majority of periods within the previous six months” (Tabor & Munro, 2019).


WHAT IS MENORRHAGIA?

Menorrhagia is a medical term for menstrual periods with abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding. Although heavy menstrual bleeding is a common concern, most women don’t experience blood loss severe enough to be defined as menorrhagia. With menorrhagia, you can’t maintain your usual activities when you have your period because you have so much blood loss and cramping.


SYMPTOMS

Here are some more guidelines to determine if what you are experiencing is heavy:

  1. Your menstrual period lasts longer than seven days.

  2. Your flow soaks through tampons or pads every hour for a few hours in a row.

  3. You need to change pads or tampons during the night.

  4. You have multiple grape-sized (or larger) blood clots.

  5. Your heavy menstrual flow keeps you from doing things you would normally do.

  6. You are tired, have a lack of energy or are short of breath.

  7. You feel a heavy pain in your abdomen and lower back.


THE CULPRITS: CAUSES OF MENORRHAGIA

  1. Growth In the Uterus (Womb)

    1. Polyps are growths within the lining of the uterus. Fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumors that grow within the uterus. Both can make your periods much heavier or make them last longer than they should.

  2. Hormonal Imbalance

    1. The endometrium develops in excess and eventually sheds by way of heavy menstrual bleeding.

  3. Other Medical Conditions

    1. A number of other medical conditions including, Endometriosis, Thyroid problems, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), Kidney Disease, and Liver Disease may be associated with menorrhagia.

  4. Certain IUDs

    1. Any women use a small intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control. If your IUD doesn’t contain hormones, it may make your periods heavier.


WHEN DO I NEED TO TALK TO MY GYNECOLOGIST?

You should talk with your Gynecologist(GYN) before your next scheduled exam if your experience:

  • Vaginal bleeding so heavy it soaks at least one pad or tampons an hour for more than 2 hours

  • Bleeding between periods or irregular vaginal bleeding

  • Any vaginal bleeding after menopause

Your GYN may ask you how many (and what size) pads/tampons you have been using in one day. Also, blood clots are very important to note-their size, number, and color. They contain blood, and it is important to measure and count them to get an approximation of how much blood has been lost.


HOW DO THEY TREAT IT?

  1. Birth Control Options. Taking birth control pills (BCP), can alter the balance of hormones in your body, which can put an end to heavy periods.

  2. Certain Drugs. Your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce the flow of your heavy periods. You may only need to take the medication when you have your period.

  3. Surgery. If your doctor finds that you have polyps or fibroids, you can have them shrunk or removed. This may stop the heavy bleeding.

  4. Removing the lining of your uterus. There are different ways that doctors can do this. The simplest procedure called dilation and curettage, or D7C, only removes the outermost layer of the lining of your uterus. If often stops heavy periods, but some women need to get this done more than once.

  5. Hysterectomy. In extreme cases, you may need this surgery, which will remove your uterus. You won’t get your period anymore, but you also won’t be able to get pregnant.


Resource:

Hello Clue

Mayo Clinic

WebMD


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