There are a variety of reasons why you could be having a heavy menstrual flow, ranging from hormonal imbalance to endometriosis. The good news is that there are various solutions or treatments available depending on the factors that determine a heavy menstrual bleeding.
What defines a "heavy" period?
While the personal definition of a heavy period varies from person to person, the medical definition states that a period is heavy when there is enough blood to wet a pad or tampon (or empty your menstrual cup) every hour for several hours in a row. Other symptoms include needing to change your menstrual product in the middle of the night, bleeding through your clothes or bedding, passing blood clots bigger than 2.5cm, and passing blood clots larger than 2.5cm or having menstruation for more than 7 days.
Essentially, you've got a heavy flow if your menstruation is interfering with your sleep and daily activities.
During their period, most women lose less than 16 teaspoons of blood (80ml), with the average being approximately 6 to 8 teaspoons.
Heavy menstrual bleeding is described as losing 80 millilitres or more per period, or having periods that last more than seven days, or both.
Heavy periods are undoubtedly uncomfortable and annoying, but there are no underlying reasons for about half of the population.
Is there a medical cause for this?
Some uterine and ovarian problems can cause heavy bleeding, so if you're concerned about your bleeding, your periods have become heavier, or you're also experiencing other symptoms like period discomfort or bleeding between periods, it's worth seeing your doctor.
Uterine fibroids are one condition that might impair your flow. These non-cancerous uterine growths are most frequent during childbearing years. They come in a variety of sizes, and you might have one or several. The intriguing thing is that many women have them and are unaware of it because they have no symptoms.
A hormonal imbalance can cause a heavy flow as well. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis are two conditions that can cause hormonal imbalance. Insomnia, anger, weight gain, a reduced libido, sadness, and fatigue are other symptoms which are sometimes present in tandem with heavy period bleeding.
Miscarriage. A miscarriage occurs when the fetus dies before the 20th week of pregnancy. Heavy periods can be caused not only by the toll it puts on your body, but also by the stress that comes with it.
Ectopic pregnancy happens when an egg is being fertilized in the fallopian tubes. The egg can linger in the fallopian tubes in up to one out of every 50 pregnancies. This is known as an ectopic pregnancy, and it can result in heavy periods.
Adenomyosis is thought to be a harmless disorder and it happens when the inner lining of the uterus bursts through the muscular wall of the uterus. This disorder can cause agonizing cramping and excessive bleeding, even though it is not known to be life threatening.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) affects around 1 million women per year and it appears when the cervix is exposed to disease-causing organisms. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are the most prevalent cause, although it can also be caused by abortions, childbirth, and other pelvic surgeries.
Is there a treatment for heavy flows?
As far as treatment, considering on what your doctor finds, they may prescribe contraception, medications, or even surgery.