Menorrhagia Explained: What You Need to Know About Heavy Periods
What Does Menorrhagia Mean?Menorrhagia,it is a condition in which a woman experiences heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding during her menstrual cycle.
What is Menorrhagia Definition?Menorrhagia is defined as bleeding that lasts more than seven days or blood loss that is more than 80 milliliters per menstrual cycle. It is of prime importance to note that the definition of heavy menstrual bleeding can vary from woman to woman, and what is normal for one woman may be abnormal for another. Menorrhagia can affect women of all ages, but it is occurs commonly in women who are approaching menopause. It is also estimated that up to one in three women will experience heavy menstrual bleeding at some point in their life. Women with certain medical conditions, such as fibroids, endometriosis, and thyroid disorders, are at a higher risk of developing menorrhagia. Menorrhagia is a common condition affecting millions of women worldwide. It is estimated that up to 10% of women of reproductive age may experience heavy menstrual bleeding. Menorrhagia can have a significant impact on a woman’s quality of life, causing fatigue, anemia, and interfering with daily activities. It is important for women who experience heavy menstrual bleeding to speak with their healthcare provider to determine the prime underlying cause and appropriate treatment.
What Does it Mean When You Have a Heavy Period?The main symptom of heavy menstrual bleeding is excessive and prolonged bleeding during menstruation.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Menorrhagia?Women with menorrhagia may experience the following:
- Heavy bleeding that lasts longer than seven days
- Passing large blood clots during menstruation
- Needing to change sanitary products frequently, such as every hour or more
- Bleeding through clothing or bedding
- Fatigue or weakness due to anemia caused by blood loss
- Shortness of breath or chest pain, which may indicate more severe anemia
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
- Bloating or constipation
- Nausea or vomiting
What Causes Heavy Menstrual Bleeding?The possible causes of menorrhagia can be broadly divided into three categories:
- Uterine-related problems: Menorrhagia can be caused by several uterine-related problems, such as fibroids, polyps, adenomyosis, and endometrial hyperplasia. Fibroids, they are noncancerous growths that can develop in the uterus and also can cause heavy bleeding. Polyps, also are small growths on the inner lining of the uterus that can cause irregular and heavy bleeding. Adenomyosis causes heavy bleeding and painful periods. Endometrial hyperplasia is an overgrowth of the uterine lining, which can cause heavy and prolonged bleeding.
- Hormone-related problems: Hormonal imbalances can also cause menorrhagia. These imbalances can be due to a variety of factors, such as thyroid disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and hormonal contraceptives. Thyroid disorders can cause irregular menstrual cycles, which can lead to heavy bleeding. It is a condition in which your ovaries produce too much androgen, leading to hormonal imbalances and heavy bleeding.
- Other illnesses or disorders: Menorrhagia can also be caused by other illnesses or disorders such as bleeding disorders, liver or kidney disease, and certain medications like blood thinners. Bleeding disorders, which include von Willebrand disease or platelet dysfunction, can cause heavy and prolonged bleeding during menstruation. Liver or kidney disease can interfere with blood clotting, leading to heavy bleeding. Certain medications, which include blood thinners or anti-inflammatory drugs, can also increase the risk of heavy menstrual bleeding.
To diagnose menorrhagia, a healthcare provider will first conduct a medical history and physical examination. They may also perform the following tests:
- Blood test: A blood test can check for anemia, thyroid problems, and other hormonal imbalances that can cause heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Pap test: A Pap test can help rule out cervical cancer or other abnormalities that may be causing heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Endometrial biopsy: An endometrial biopsy involves taking a sample of the uterine lining for examination under a microscope. This can help diagnose endometrial hyperplasia or cancer.
- Ultrasound: A transvaginal ultrasound can help detect abnormalities in the uterus or the ovaries that may be causing heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Hysteroscopy: It is a procedure in which a thin, flexible tube affixed with a camera is inserted through the vagina and cervix and then into the uterus to examine the uterine lining.
- Sonohysterogram: A sonohysterogram is a type of ultrasound that uses a saline solution to fill the uterus, providing a clearer picture of the uterine lining.
- Dilation and curettage (D& C): A D& C involves dilating the cervix and thereafter scraping the uterine lining to collect a tissue sample for examination under a microscope. This can help diagnose uterine cancer or other abnormalities.
How to Stop Menstrual Bleeding Immediately?The treatment of menorrhagia depends on the underlying cause, the severity of symptoms, and the patient’s individual needs and preferences.
How to Treat Heavy Menstrual Bleeding?Some common treatment options include:
- Medications/Drug Therapy: Depending on the cause of menorrhagia, a doctor may prescribe a list of medicine to stop bleeding, medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), hormonal contraceptives, progestins, or tranexamic acid to help reduce bleeding and manage symptoms.
- Surgical Treatment: If medication is ineffective or not appropriate, surgical treatment may be recommended. Some surgical options include endometrial ablation, in which the uterine lining is destroyed to reduce bleeding, or hysterectomy, in which the uterus is removed. These procedures are usually considered a last resort and are only recommended if other treatments have not been effective or if there is an underlying condition, such as cancer, that requires surgery.
- Other treatment: options for menorrhagia may include lifestyle changes. Women with menorrhagia may also benefit from using menstrual cups or other menstrual products that can hold more fluid, reducing the need for frequent changes.
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What Helps Stop Heavy Menstrual Bleeding?In addition to medical treatment, there are several self-care measures that women with menorrhagia can take to manage their symptoms and also improve their quality of life. These include:
- Rest and relaxation: Having plenty of rest and reducing stress can help manage symptoms of menorrhagia.
- Heat therapy: Applying heat to the region of the lower abdomen or back can help reduce cramps and discomfort associated with heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Dietary changes: Eating a healthy and balanced diet rich in iron and other nutrients can help manage anemia, which is common in women with menorrhagia.
- Exercise: Performing regular exercise can help improve mood, reduce stress, and manage symptoms of menorrhagia.
- Menstrual products: Using menstrual products such as tampons, menstrual cups, or pads with wings can help manage heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Keep track of your cycle: This can help you anticipate when your period is coming and prepare accordingly.
Medical Conditions Associated with various other medical conditions
When Should You Go to The Hospital for Heavy Menstrual Bleeding?Menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding) can be associated with several other medical conditions, including:
- Endometriosis: Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that normally is inside of a woman’s uterus grows outside of it, leading to heavy menstrual bleeding, pain, and other symptoms.
- Adenomyosis: It is a condition in which the tissue that normally is inside of the uterus grows into the muscular wall of the uterus, leading to heavy menstrual bleeding and pain.
- Fibroids: They are noncancerous growths that can develop in the uterus, leading to heavy menstrual bleeding, pain, and other symptoms.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): PCOS is a hormonal disorder in which the ovaries produce an excess of male hormones, leading to irregular periods, heavy menstrual bleeding, and other symptoms.
- Thyroid disorders: Thyroid disorders, such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, can cause hormonal imbalances that lead to heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Bleeding disorders: Bleeding disorders, which include von Willebrand disease or platelet function disorders, can cause heavy menstrual bleeding and other bleeding symptoms.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): PID is an infection of the female organs that can cause heavy menstrual bleeding, pain, and other symptoms.
Ongo Care Team
Ongo Care is a telemedicine platform that provides remote care and support for women experiencing menorrhagia. Here are some of the ways Ongo Care can offer ongoing care and support:
- Virtual consultations: Ongo Care offers virtual consultations with healthcare providers who specialize in women’s health, including gynecologists and obstetricians. These consultations can be done from the comfort of your own home and can help you get the care and also support you need to manage your symptoms.
- Prescription management: If you are taking medications to manage your menorrhagia symptoms, Ongo Care can help with prescription management and refills, ensuring that you always have the medication you need on hand.
- Remote monitoring: Ongo Care can help monitor your symptoms and track changes over time, allowing healthcare providers to adjust your treatment plan as needed.
- Education and resources: Ongo Care offers educational resources and support to help you better understand your condition and manage your symptoms. This includes information on lifestyle changes, self-care measures, and other treatments that may be helpful.
- Referrals: If you need additional care or support beyond what Ongo Care can offer, healthcare providers can provide referrals to specialists or other healthcare providers who can help.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is menorrhagia a serious condition?
Menorrhagia can be a serious condition if left untreated, as it can lead to anemia, fatigue, and other complications. It is very important to seek medical attention if you are experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding.
Which treatment is right for me if I have signs of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding?
The right treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding depends on the underlying cause and individual factors. Treatment options can range from medication to surgical interventions. A healthcare provider at Ongo Care can help determine the best treatment plan for you.
What are the possible complications?
Complications of menorrhagia can include anemia, fatigue, and decreased quality of life. In some cases, heavy menstrual bleeding may be a symptom of some underlying condition that requires medical attention.
Why is heavy menstrual bleeding a symptom of uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids can cause heavy menstrual bleeding because they can interfere with the normal function of the uterus and alter the hormonal balance in the body.
How can I stop heavy menstrual bleeding with clots?
Treatment options for heavy menstrual bleeding with clots can include medication, such as hormonal birth control or tranexamic acid, or surgical interventions, such as endometrial ablation or hysterectomy. A healthcare provider can definitely help determine the best treatment plan personalized for you based on your individual needs and medical history.