Menorrhagia is the medical term for periods (menstrual cycles) that are unusually long and/or heavy. Those who have menorrhagia have to adjust their daily activities during their cycles because they have such heavy blood loss.
A large number of people do experience heavy blood flow for 2-3 days of their cycle, but don’t experience the kind of blood loss or cramping that comes with menorrhagia. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), approximately 10 million women deal with menorrhagia every year.
Symptoms of Menorrhagia
If you suspect you may have menorrhagia, here are the most common symptoms to watch for:
- Pad or tampon needs to be changed at least every hour
- Pad or tampon needs to be changed multiple times during the night
- Large blood clots (bigger than a quarter)
- Bleeding lasts for more than a week
- Tiredness and/or fatigue (usually due to anemia)
Causes of Menorrhagia
Possible causes of menorrhagia fit into two major categories:
- Uterine problems: uterine fibroids or polyps (non-cancerous growths), uterine cancer, adenomyosis, miscarriage, or certain IUDs.
- Hormonal problems: imbalance of estrogen and progesterone, PCOS, thyroid issues, or anovulation.
Certain medications can also cause excessive bleeding as well as some kidney and liver diseases.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Menorrhagia
Your doctor will probably do a blood test, ultrasound and/or an endometrial biopsy to confirm whether or not you have menorrhagia. They may also opt to do further testing if necessary.
From there, there are many different treatment options, including various medications and procedures. The most common procedure is an endometrial ablation.
Choosing which treatment to try often depends on several factors such as stage of life, future pregnancy plans, and the severity of your bleeding and pain.
Talk to Your Doctor If You Think You Have Menorrhagia
If you are experiencing the symptoms of menorrhagia and your everyday life is significantly affected, talk to your gynecologist or OB/GYN to find possible causes and solutions. Don’t wait to make an appointment to discuss your options because if menorrhagia goes untreated, it can cause other issues like anemia (which causes fatigue and weakness).
If you live in North Florida and need an experienced women’s doctor, call our Gainesville or Lake City offices today to schedule your appointment.