Everything You Need to Know About Heavy Periods

Do you have heavy periods? If so, you’re not alone. Many women experience heavy periods at some point in their lives. In this blog post, we will answer all of your questions about heavy periods.

What is a normal menstrual cycle supposed to be? What are the causes of heavy periods? What does abnormal uterine bleeding mean?

What can I do to help with my heavy periods? Is there a way to end my heavy periods? We will cover everything you need to know about heavy periods!

What is a “normal” menstrual cycle supposed to be?

The average menstrual cycle is 28 days long. However, a “normal” menstrual cycle can range from 21 to 35 days. Most women have a period every 21 to 35 days.

The bleeding usually lasts for two to seven days. Heavy periods are defined as bleeding that lasts for more than seven days or soaks through one or more sanitary pads or tampons every hour for several consecutive hours. 

Blood clots larger than a quarter are also considered heavy bleeding. The short answer is that if you have heavy periods, you are miserable!

What are the causes of heavy periods?

There are many possible causes of heavy periods, including (but not limited to):

  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • STDs (sexually transmitted diseases)
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Use of certain medications, such as anticoagulants or blood thinners

What medical terms are used to describe heavy periods?

Here are some of the terms doctors commonly use to describe heavy periods:

  • Abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) is any heavy or unusual bleeding from the vagina. The possible causes of AUB are the same as the ones stated above.
  • Menorrhagia is heavy menstrual bleeding. It can be caused by any of the conditions mentioned above.
  • Metrorrhagia is irregular vaginal bleeding that occurs at unpredictable times. The causes of metrorrhagia are the same as the ones stated above.

What can I do to help with my heavy periods?

First and foremost, talk to your doctor!  There are a few things you and your doctor can try to help with heavy periods.  Your doctor might recommend one or more of the following:

  • Trying Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) to help regulate your hormones.
  • Using birth control pills, an IUD, or progesterone to help regulate your hormones.
  • Getting imaging done of the pelvic area or abdomen to see if there are fibroids or other issues in the uterus.
  • Having lab work done to check your hormone levels and/or thyroid function.
  • Having a pelvic exam done to check for any abnormal inflammation or STDs.
  • Having lab work done to check for clotting disorders.
  • Trying a prescription medication to help with heavy periods.  There are several on the market currently.
  • In more extreme cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove fibroids or endometriosis.

Is there a way to end my heavy periods?

Yes! One of the more common ways to end heavy periods without having a hysterectomy is to have an endometrial ablation. 

What is an endometrial ablation you ask?    It is a procedure where the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) is removed or destroyed.

This helps to lighten or stop menstrual flow.  There are several types of endometrial ablation, including:

  • Thermal balloon ablation
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Hydrothermal ablation
  • Cryoablation
  • Microwave ablation

Endometrial ablation is not for everyone. Your doctor will help you to decide if endometrial ablation is best for you based on your age, childbearing plans, and overall health.

Another option is a hysterectomy, which is the surgical removal of the uterus. This is a more extreme option and is usually only recommended if other treatments have failed or if there are other health concerns present.

This procedure comes with its own set of side effects and risks, so be sure to discuss all options with your doctor before making a decision.

We hope this article has helped to answer some of your questions about heavy periods. Remember, if you are ever concerned about abnormal bleeding, please be sure to talk to your doctor!

They will help you to determine the best course of action for you.  If you live in the New Braunfels, Texas area we are happy to help you with your heavy periods.  Call us at 830-627-7979 to schedule an appointment.

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