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Understanding Heavy Periods So You Can Find Relief

The compassionate women's health providers at Gainesville and Lake City's All About Women discuss when to seek treatment for heavy periods.

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.

What Doctors Define as a Heavy Period

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:

  • You lose more than 80 mL of blood (...normal blood loss is around 30 mL)
  • You must get up to change your tampon or pad during the night, or every hour for several hours
  • You have to double up on pads or use a pad with a tampon to prevent leaking
  • You have a constant pain in your lower stomach during your period

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.

Anemia: A Possible Complication of Menorrhagia

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:

  • Fatigue with regular everyday activities
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irritability or depression
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness

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.

Causes of Heavy Periods

In many women, the cause of menorrhagia is never known, but a few of the more commonly known ones include:

  • Uterine Fibroids (...particularly in women of childbearing age)
  • Uterine Polyps (...particularly in women nearing menopause)
  • Hormone Imbalances
  • Recent Insertion of a copper IUD

But regardless of whether the cause is known or unknown, your GYN physician should be able to treat your heavy periods.

Treatment of 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.

Drug Therapies

  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): These drugs, such as Ibuprofen, are sometimes a first attempt at managing symptoms. They can reduce inflammation and reduce bleeding, but not as much as hormone medications.
  • Tranexamic Acid: This blood clotting medication can reduce bleeding better than NSAIDs.
  • Hormone Treatment: Your doctor may suggest the hormone progestin to help reduce bleeding. You may take progestin in a pill (birth control) or a vaginal cream, or through the progestin-containing Mirena IUD .

Surgical Procedures

  • Hysteroscopy: This procedure may be used to examine the uterus and evaluate for fibroids and polyps. Surgeons then decide how to approach treatment.
  • Endometrial Ablation (brand name NovaSure). In this procedure, radio waves are used to destroy the tissue that lines the uterus, which usually ends periods all together. Pregnancy is not possible after this procedure.
  • Hysterectomy: This is a major, last resort option in which your gynecological surgeon will remove your entire uterus. Robotic hysterectomies, which we perform at All About Women, offer a less invasive surgery option compared to the traditional approach.

Don't Delay – Seek Help For Your Heavy Periods Today

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.

Contact our compassionate and knowledgeable team of providers to make an appointment, or continue browsing our blog and knowledge center to learn more today.

Contact us
‹ All About Women OB/GYN Knowledge Center
 
Gainesville
6440 W Newberry Road, Suite 111
Gainesville, FL 32605
(352) 331-3332
Lake City
4447 NW American Lane, Suite 102
Lake City, FL 32055
(386) 754-1744

Gainesville and Lake City OB/GYN Care

OB/GYN doctors at All About Women, Obstetrics & Gynecology offer personalized, technologically advanced obstetrics and gynecology services from Board Certified OB/GYB physicians. Besides expert women's healthcare, permanent birth control and prenatal care, OB/GYN doctors also offers advanced hysterectomy surgery in and around the Gainesville area.


Women's Health Care in Alachua & Columbia Counties

With offices in Gainesville and Lake City, Florida, All About Women, M.D. provides expert OB/GYN services covering the entire range of women's healthcare needs. Our OB/GYN physicians and nurse midwives provide expert care during pregnancy as well as state of the art in-office treatments for gynecologic disorders including Novasure endometrial ablation to treat/stop heavy menstrual bleeding.

Personalized & Expert Prenatal Care

Gainesville obstetricians at All About Women, M.D. help ensure pregnancy goes as smoothly as possible by offering the best prenatal care available. And for those having difficulty getting pregnant, AAW obstetricians and gynecologists offer couples the best infertility help and treatment available.


Advanced Minimally Invasive Surgery: daVinci Surgical System

Clinic founder Dr. Anthony Agrios, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist also specializes in the daVinci Robotic surgery system, a minimally invasive option commonly used for a hysterectomy and other procedures. Instead of creating several small incisions like traditional surgical methods, OB/GYN surgeons simply open one incision with the daVinci system to complete the procedure. Not only do patients experience less pain and blood loss, they recover and get back to normal much faster.


Pregnancy & Prenatal Care: Creative Pregnancy Announcement : Fruits for Pregnant Women

OB/GYN Tips: Choosing an OB/GYN : Robotic Hysterectomy

Infertility & Reproduction Health: Infertility Treatment : Permanent Birth Control

Women's Health: Preventive Care : Well Women Care : Mammogram Screenings : Abnormal Periods

Gainesville Maternity Care

 

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All About Women
Gainesville and Lake City, Florida Obstetrics & Gynecology

Offices conveniently located in the heart of North Florida (Alachua County & Columbia County). Serving women of all ages and backgrounds
in and around Ocala, Williston, Chiefland, Perry, Live Oak, Lake City, Starke, Palatka and Gainesville.