Heavy Periods Q & A

What is a heavy period?

Abnormally heavy periods can indicate a medical condition known as menorrhagia. It may be hard to differentiate from a heavy flow day, but it’ll typically require changing your tampon or pad every hour, on top of severe, debilitating menstrual cramps.

Painful cramps can be caused by a range of conditions and may pose risks for other health issues, making it best to discuss your case with your doctor.

What are the symptoms of menorrhagia?

Some women naturally have a heavier period than others. It’s best to discuss your situation with your OB/GYN. A sudden heavy flow could potentially lead to anemia, making you weak and tired.

Indications of possible menorrhagia may look like:

  • Changing your pad or tampon every 1-2 hours for over a day
  • Changing pads in the middle of the night
  • Wearing two pads at a time to manage heavy flow
  • Skipping things you usually enjoy doing due to painful cramps
  • Passing blood clots that are the size of quarters
  • Having periods that last longer than a week
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Bleeding after menopause

What are the causes of menorrhagia?

Heavy periods can stem from various sources, such as hormone problems. Hormonal imbalances cause the lining that builds up inside your uterus during your menstrual period to become too thick. That, in turn, leads to a heavier period. Other causes include:

Growths in the uterus:

Fibroids may also grow in your uterine lining that can cause your periods to be much heavier and longer-lasting.

Certain IUDs:

An intrauterine device (IUD) is a form of birth control that may incite heavy periods.

Pregnancy-related problems:

Such problems, such as an ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage, can lead to heavy bleeding that can be mistaken as a heavy period.

Some female cancers:

Sometimes, cancer of the uterus, cervix, or ovaries may create excess, heavy bleeding.

Bleeding disorders:

These types of disorders are rare but hereditary. Since having a bleeding disorder makes it hard for the person to stop bleeding, it can also make a menstrual period much heavier and longer.

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