Dealing With Abnormal Menstrual Bleeding

One of the most common complaints that gynecologists hear is that of menorrhagia, or abnormal menstrual bleeding. When a woman comes to the doctor with this complaint, generally pregnancy must be ruled out before further testing is done. Following the initial tests, the doctor must take a detailed patient history to fully understand what is happening and find the actual cause of the heavy periods.

Indications of heavy bleeding include the passage of large clots, like the size of a quarter or larger during your period, bleeding for longer than seven days, and needing to change a large maxipad or tampon every 60 -90 minutes over a period of several hours.

Causes of Heavy Periods

Women of all ages can experience abnormal menstrual bleeding. Generally, it is due to either hormonal reasons or a structural problem within the uterus.

Infection in the lining of the uterus
• Fibroids – a benign overgrowth of the muscle tissue within the uterus
• Adenomyosis – in this condition, the inner lining of the uterus breaks through the muscle wall of the uterus
• Missed or erratic ovulation
• Low thyroid
• Problems with the hypothalamus or pituitary gland
• PCOS – polycystic ovarian syndrome

Most commonly, heavy periods occur at two different times in a woman’s life. The first time is when the ovaries are maturing, in the first two or three years after the periods have begun. The body is beginning to produce estrogen, but ovulation is not regular. It is not uncommon for younger women to have erratic periods and heavy bleeding. However, this condition should be discussed with the gynecologist.

Secondly, many women begin to have erratic periods and heavy bleeding when they enter their 40s. There is still a lot of estrogen being produced, but the best eggs in the ovaries have been used up. Progesterone is not released in the body to signify that the uterus should shed its lining. Thus, when the woman gets a period, it can be very heavy.

Relationships of Heavy Periods and Mental Health

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), researchers have found a relationship between the symptoms of abnormal menstrual bleeding and mental health. In some cases, women have sought mental health services before seeking treatment for heavy periods. The NCBI found evidence that the psychological well-being of a woman is significant in how she deals with heavy and excessive bleeding.

Talk to Your Gynecologist

Many of the causes of heavy periods are not life threatening, just very inconvenient and uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options which can be discussed with your gynecologist to enjoy life again instead of dreading the days of the month when you have your period.

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