If your period is heavy, you might just accept it as part of your life. While heavy periods are common (...the CDC estimates 1/5 women suffer from heavy bleeding), it's important for you to know that these periods are not normal.
Even more important, there are lots of effective treatment options available.
Missed work, sleep disturbances, and major alterations to your daily life during your period are all signs that you could be suffering a heavy period. Continue reading for more background information about heavy periods, along with causes and treatment options.
Menorrhagia is the medical term that refers to periods that are either very heavy and/or last longer than seven days. Your period may also be considered heavy if:
If you're of the scientific bend, you can try to measure your flow from the number of tampons you soak in a period. A soaked maxi pad or super tampon holds about 10ml of blood, meaning that a medically defined heavy flow would soak at least eight of these during a cycle.
The large loss of blood with a heavy period puts you at a higher risk for anemia, which is a condition where your blood is unable to carry enough oxygen to your body, thus causing your organs to not work as well.
According to the CDC, signs of anemia include:
While anemia is easily remedied with the help of your doctor, long-term anemia can cause lasting damage to your body. It's important for you to make an appointment soon if you have heavy periods and signs of anemia.
In many women, the cause of menorrhagia is never known, but a few of the more commonly known ones include:
But regardless of whether the cause is known or unknown, your GYN physician should be able to treat your heavy periods.
There are a variety of treatment options (prescription/drug based or surgical) your doctor may suggest depending on your situation. Continue reading for a brief description of the more common approaches.
The women's health physicians, nurses and staff at Gainesville and Lake City's All About Women are dedicated to helping you have the best quality of life. Heavy periods definitely interfere with your quality of life, but can be resolved so you can sleep through the night and not increase your risk of anemia.