Period Health Talk: When to Worry About Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
A woman’s menstruation cycle starts during a girl’s puberty stage which occurs between ages 10 and 14 in which the process begins to cause physical and hormonal changes in a girl’s body to become sexually mature.
Menstruation is a monthly blood discharge which is due to the shedding in the lining of the uterus because of the absence of pregnancy. The period can cause menstruation issues that can make a woman experience various period-related complications such as premenstrual syndrome, fibroids, and seemingly normal heavy menstrual bleeding. In this case, when heavy menstrual bleeding seems normal, how will you know when it starts to be beyond the normality? Read more as we discuss heavy menstrual bleeding.
So, What’s Normal and What’s Not?
Heavy menstrual bleeding is also called menorrhagia, which is its medical term for abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding during menstrual periods. Heavy menstrual bleeding might be a common concern, but most women do not usually experience blood loss severe enough to be diagnosed as menorrhagia.
With menorrhagia, a woman is not able to continue her daily activities during her period due to too much blood loss and cramps. So, how will you be able to tell apart if it is still normal or it’s beyond it? Listed below are the signs that you should look out:
What Causes Menorrhagia?
The exact cause of menorrhagia is yet to be discovered by researchers, but there are many conditions which may trigger menorrhagia. Here are some of the common reasons included:
Hormone imbalance. Hormones play a significant role in a woman’s menstruation cycle as well as with pregnancy. Estrogen and progesterone are both hormones that regulate the buildup of the uterus’ (endometrium) lining, wherein if a hormone imbalance occurs, then the endometrium develops in excess causing heavy menstrual bleeding.
In this case, hormone imbalance is caused by a number of conditions such as PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome, insulin resistance, obesity, and thyroid problems.
Medications. Certain medications can contribute to heavy bleeding or prolonged menstrual bleeding, such as anti-inflammatory medications, hormonal medications like estrogen and progestins, and anticoagulants like warfarin, or enoxaparin.
Ovary Dysfunction. If your ovaries do not ovulate during the menstrual cycle, then your body is not producing progesterone enough as it would during an average period. With this said, this leads to a hormone imbalance that results in menorrhagia.
Inherited Bleeding Disorders. Bleeding disorders like Von Willebrand’s disease is a condition wherein an important blood-clotting factor is impaired or deficient; as a result, it can cause an abnormality in menstrual bleeding.
Other Medical Conditions. Other medical conditions can cause menorrhagia which includes the following:
• Uterine Fibroids
• Intrauterine device (IUD)
• Liver or kidney disease
When Should You See a Doctor?
Menorrhagia might be a simple, common and a treatable issue, but if it is just because of a hormone imbalance or an indication of a severe condition, no one will know not unless you go for a checkup. So, if your menstrual bleeding seems uncontrollable, lasts longer than a week, and can impact your daily life then make an appointment with a gynecologist.
Other signs like bleeding between periods, after sex, menopause, or during pregnancy might also be an indication for you to see a doctor.
Treatment for Menorrhagia
The treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding may depend on which causes the conditions that including the patient’s needs. With this being said, treatments may include hormones like birth control and IUDs, NSAIDs like naproxen and ibuprofen, and non-hormonal drug tranexamic acid, and lastly, surgery.
For surgical procedures, hysterectomy, or endometrial ablation (which is a less invasive procedure) should be carefully considered since it may affect possible childbearing in the future. Hysterectomy will result in the inability of procreation while endometrial ablation will make pregnancy risky or unlikely.
Heavy menstrual bleeding may make women susceptible to other conditions like anemia. Thus, one might need to attend to this condition too. Overall, menorrhagia can cause many inconveniences to a woman’s life, and using tampons or pads may not be enough to lessen the burden somehow.
With this being said, why not consider trying out menstrual cups to help you out? You can read or search sites on how to use menstrual cups if you are new to it so that you can decide whether it fits your situation or not.