Menorrhagia, also known as heavy bleeding during periods, is known to affect one in every five women all over the world. It lasts for a minimum duration of 7 days or more. Due to this excessive menstrual bleeding, the affected woman needs to change her sanitary napkins or tampons at least every 2 hours. A woman suffering from menorrhagia or heavy menstrual bleeding is also known to pass clotted blood with pieces of blood that are larger than a quarter.
Menorrhagia can also lead to anemia in many women as very high volumes of blood are lost, as a result of heavy periods. With Menorrhagia, every period that you have causes such severe blood loss and cramping that it becomes difficult to resume daily activities. Having said that, Menorrhagia is an extremely severe condition which requires immediate medical attention.
Causes of Heavy Bleeding during Periods
In more than half of the women diagnosed with Menorrhagia, the reasons for heavy bleeding during periods cannot be spotted. However, there are a few conditions which can lead to this heavy bleeding.
For young girls, the causes of heavy bleeding could be hormonal changes which occur during adolescence when the girl is going through puberty. Another possible reason can be inherited blood disorders like the Von Wille brand’s disease, in which the blood-clotting function is impaired. A few other medical diseases such as the Pelvic inflammatory disease or illnesses of the kidney and thyroid can also lead to heavy menstrual bleeding.
For older women, complications during pregnancy, such as a miscarriage, can lead to Menorrhagia. Other than that, an ectopic pregnancy (which occurs when the fertilized egg slips into the Fallopian tube rather than the uterus) could also be the underlying reason for heavy bleeding. Furthermore, menopause affects the estrogen and progesterone production in women, which can lead to heavy bleeding during periods. A widely known cause for Menorrhagia in middle-aged women is polyps which are small growths in the uterine lining.
Signs and Symptoms for Heavy Bleeding during Periods
Women suffering from Menorrhagia need to change their sanitary napkins/ tampons at least every 2 hours, and in some cases, even more often than that. They also undergo constant pain in their lower abdomen, have menses for more than a week, need to get up multiple times during the night to change their sanitary napkins/tampons and pass coin-sized pieces of clotted blood. The severe loss of blood that they encounter can also lead to tiredness, fatigue and anemia.
Menorrhagia can be diagnosed by a complete physical exam by a doctor. Blood tests to check for anemia, ultrasounds of the uterus and ovaries, and endometrial biopsies to take a sample tissue from the uterus are also efficient ways to confirm if a woman is suffering from the disease.
Menorrhagia is a very severe medical condition that requires immediate medical attention. Treatments are however very different for each woman depending on her personal situation. The non-surgical options to treat heavy menstrual bleeding include taking iron supplements, oral contraceptives, hormonal intrauterine devices, and other non-steroid anti-inflammatory forms of medication.
There is also a hormonal therapy to regulate the menstrual cycle and balance the lining of the uterus. As a part of the therapy, a supplement is taken for 14 to 27 days, depending on one’s menstrual cycle, as it produces a hormone called progesterone which the female body would normally do during a period.
If the drug therapy does not work, a hysteroscopy can be performed in which the uterine masses are removed from the Uterus by the doctor using a long thin scope. Then, there is dilation and curettage which involves dilating and then scraping out the uterine lining.
Other options are endometrial ablation or endometrial resection, which can be performed to destroy the uterus lining permanently. Women can also opt for a full hysterectomy and get the cervix, uterus and ovaries removed. However, Non Surgical Treatments should be given consideration before inquiring about surgical treatments as the former prove to be a safer alternative. These surgeries are only recommended as a last resort because they destroy all chances of getting pregnant.