My Periods Are Extremely Heavy: Can You Help?

Feb 01, 2023
My Periods Are Extremely Heavy: Can You Help?
Periods can always be a bit of an annoyance, but if you have heavy flow, menstruation can take a big toll on your quality of life. Here’s what causes heavy menstrual bleeding and how treatment can help.

Heavy periods are more than just annoying. When menstrual bleeding is above average, it can take a toll on your life in many ways, preventing you from socializing and even keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep. 

Also called menorrhagia, heavy bleeding can also lead to anemia, a condition that causes dangerously low levels of iron in your blood. Although menorrhagia can cause a host of problems, it can be treated — and the sooner you consider treatment, the sooner you can prevent its complications and effects.

At OB/GYN Associates of ConroeRichard Roberts, MD, helps women in Conroe, Texas, manage heavy bleeding with patient-centered gynecological services tailored to each woman’s needs and treatment goals. If you have heavy menstrual bleeding, here’s what Dr. Roberts wants you to know.

Heavy bleeding: What to know

As many as 54% of menstruating women suffer from heavy bleeding, but how can you tell if you’re one of them? Some sources suggest a woman loses between 2-4 tablespoons of blood during an average period. A woman who loses more than 4 tablespoons can be said to have heavy periods — but who uses a tablespoon to measure their menstrual fluid?

A better way to determine if you have heavy bleeding is to consider the length of your period and the impact it has on your life. Women with heavy bleeding may have longer periods than usual, but that’s not always the case. 

Instead, look for “side effects” associated with heavy bleeding, like:

  • Needing to wear more than one pad 
  • Needing to wear a tampon and a pad
  • Needing to change protection often — sometimes every hour
  • Needing to get up during the night to change protection
  • Passing clots
  • Severe cramps or lower back pain during menstruation
  • Inability to perform activities due to flow

Many women find their heavy flow prevents them from traveling or performing everyday activities, like going to the grocery store or attending a child’s school event. Frequent bathroom trips can cause embarrassing issues at work, as well.

Why heavy periods happen

Many women experience menorrhagia as part of menopause, with periods becoming heavier and more erratic in the months and years leading up to menopause (a period of time called perimenopause).

Some medical conditions can cause heavy bleeding, as well. These include conditions like:

  • Uterine fibroids or polyps
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Thyroid disease
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Adenomyosis (thickening of the uterine lining)
  • Cancer

Some medications may also cause or contribute to heavy menstrual bleeding.

Treating heavy periods

During your office evaluation, Dr. Roberts performs a pelvic exam and often orders additional tests and evaluations, like lab tests and ultrasound or other diagnostic imaging, to determine the cause. Once the cause is identified, Dr. Roberts can tailor your treatment to your specific needs.

Many women benefit from an in-office treatment called endometrial ablation. This treatment uses heat energy to destroy the uterine lining. After treatment, periods will be much lighter or they may stop completely.

Other women can find relief with medications to balance hormones or treat other underlying problems, like thyroid disease. Uterine artery embolization is another technique used for women who have uterine fibroids. Finally, for women who are done having children, a hysterectomy removes the uterus (and sometimes the ovaries) to stop menstruation right away.

Find relief for heavy menstruation

Heavy periods certainly take a toll on you physically, but by interfering with your lifestyle, they can have an emotional impact, too. Fortunately, treatment can help.

Stop suffering from heavy periods. To learn how we can help, contact our office to book an appointment with the team at OB/GYN Associates of Conroe today.