A heavy period is what is medically referred to as menorrhagia. Women with this condition often experience some level of pain during menstruation. Although different women lose a varied amount of blood during menstruation, the average amount that you should lose is between 30-50 ml.
How much is heavy period?
You should consider yourself as having a heavy period if you lose more than 80 ml of blood during menstruation. Because it is difficult to measure the blood you lose, you should draw the conclusion that you have the condition if;
- You use several pads or tampons on a single day.
- If menstruation overflows to your bedding or underwear.
- If you use either a pad or tampon with a towel to help absorb the blood.
- Some blood is in form of clots.
It is very important that you differentiate menorrhagia from lochia, the other kind of heavy bleeding that you experience after giving birth.
There are various reasons why you may have heavy bleeding (menorrhagia). The following are the top 10 causes that you need to be familiar with.
1. Intrauterine Devices (IUD’s)
IUD contraceptives are some of the major causes of heavy bleeding. However, you really need to ascertain if indeed you started experiencing heavy bleeding after insertion of the same. It is important to know that heavy bleeding associated with the use of IUD is never permanent. It only lasts for about three months after which your period normalizes. You may need to switch to a different contraceptive method just in case the heavy bleeding continues beyond three months.
2. Hormonal Changes
Hormonal changes that cause imbalance is the other major cause of heavy bleeding. This is usually common during adolescence especially with the first two or three menstrual flows. You are also most likely to experience heavy bleeding as you approach menopause, in which case it serves as a sign of menopause.
3. Cervical Cancer
You really need to be worried in case you experience unusual heavy bleeding. This is because it is one of the signs of cervical cancer. Indeed, you need to be concerned if the heavy bleeding is accompanied by other usual signs relating to your reproductive system. Development of cervical cancer is often associated with infection by the human papillomavirus. You, therefore, need to ascertain whether or not you have had several round of the infection in the past. A pap test can determine any infections and is also very easily available confirmatory test of cervical cancer. Consult your gynecologist and book a pap smear test.
4. Bleeding Disorder
You may be experiencing heavy bleeding simply because of a bleeding disorder. There are various bleeding disorders associated non-stop flow of blood. Of all the disorders, the von Willebrand (VWD) disease is the most common.
5. Endometrial Cancer
This is similar to cervical cancer except that it is associated with over-multiplication of cells that line the uterus. Unlike cervical cancer, the development of this type of cervical cancer is associated with hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
6. Cervical Polyps
Cervical polyps are a small and delicate matter that grows on the surface of the cervical canal. They fact that they are delicate means that they are easily uprooted to flow out during menstruation, which may inform your heavy bleeding. The growth of cervical polyps is often associated with high level of estrogen in the body, congestion in blood vessels or both.
7. Endometrial Polyps
These are similar to cervical polyps except that they grow on the lining of the uterus. Just like with cervical polyps, they are swept away during menstruation, contributing to the heavy period.
8. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
PID is any infection that affects the organs along the upper section of the reproductive system including the ovaries, the Fallopian tubes, and the uterus. Pelvic inflammatory disease can be caused by abortion, gynecological surgical procedures and childbirth. PID causes heavy bleeding that can be accompanied by pelvic pain, abdominal pain and bleeding of blood after sex.
Fibroids are the other most common causes of heavy bleeding that is often accompanied by painful menstruation. Although they are tumors that grow in the uterus, they are non-cancerous. You are most likely to have fibroids if you are of child-bearing age, have given birth in the past and the level of estrogen in your body is high.
Endometriosis is a condition associated with the extension of uterus lining outside the uterus. The uterus lining grows to get into such other areas as the fallopian tubes, bladder, ovaries, and in some cases down into the vagina.
Experiencing heavy bleeding may not signal anything serious in regard to your health. However, it is always appropriate to consult your physician. This is because almost all the causes are treatable. Furthermore, heavy bleeding during menstruation reduces red blood cells significantly. This puts you at risk of becoming anemic in addition to having a low level of oxygen in your body.