What is menorrhagia?
Do you have heavy periods?
If you ever feel like your period is extra heavy or is lasting really long, it may be a condition called menorrhagia, which affects around one in five people in the U.S.
What is menorrhagia?
Simply put, menorrhagia is an excessively heavy period that often lasts a long time (7 or more days). But how do you know if you have a heavy flow? Typically menstrual bleeding is considered heavy if you have to change your tampon or pad every 1-2 hours or if your blood clots are about the size of a quarter or larger.
Menstrual bleeding varies for everyone. Some people notice a difference because their period suddenly gets heavier but for others, it might have always been heavy. This is why many people who have menorrhagia aren’t always aware because to them, it’s how it’s always been. This means open dialogue about periods and feminine health is more important than ever.
What are the signs and symptoms of menorrhagia?
Menorrhagia can affect day-to-day life. Because of the increased blood loss, some symptoms include:
- Iron deficiency
- Fatigue and low energy
- Severe cramping
It’s important to let your doctor know all your symptoms so they can best assess the cause and recommend treatment.
What is menorrhagia caused by?
Many factors contribute to menorrhagia. One of the first things your doctor might do is see if you’re pregnant as abnormally heavy bleeding might be a symptom of miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. Your doctor will then check your blood work likely looking for signs of
- Anemia: Low red blood cell count
- Hypothyroidism: When the thyroid doesn’t release enough hormones
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): A condition where your uterine lining doesn’t shed for months, so when your period does occur, it might be extra heavy
- Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP): Low platelet count that hinders blood clotting and results in excess bleeding
Your doctor may also conduct these tests to narrow down the cause:
- Pelvic exam to check for things like cervical polyps
- Ultrasound to check for uterine fibroids and polyps
- Pap test to see if there’s an infection, inflammation, or cell changes
- Biopsy to detect cancerous cells
Other causes may include:
- Blood disorders
- Ruptured cysts
- Large fibrous tumors
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
Treatment for menorrhagia depends on the cause; sometimes you might have to try a few solutions to find the right treatment. Potential treatments include:
- Birth control pills
- IUD that contains progestin
- Removing any cervical or uterine polyps
- Tranexamic acid (to help with blood clotting)
- Surgery to remove the lining of the uterus in some cases
- Hysterectomy in very severe cases
For many, menorrhagia is not dangerous, but if you feel like it’s affecting your quality of life, consult your doctor to determine the cause and discuss treatment options.
Muff love ❤️
Model: Jordyn Weibe @thesugarfreak_