Heavy bleeding is so common during periods that many women do not know that they suffer from menorrhagia. Surprisingly, one in every five women experiences menorrhagia. Therefore, women should be provided with more information to help them understand their condition. Only then will they seek the right treatment. So, let us check out the causes, symptoms and treatment methods for heavy painful periods.
Symptoms of heavy periods
Let us first understand what heavy periods are. When a woman experiences excessive bleeding that is above normal during her periods, it is generally termed as heavy periods. In medical terminology, the condition of heavy periods is termed as menorrhagia.
Now, how will one distinguish heavy periods or menorrhagia from a normal period? Here are the typical symptoms to watch out for:
- Bleeding that lasts for longer than seven days
- Doubling up your protection to prevent leakage
- Changing your tampon or pad during nighttime
- Blood soaks up more than one pads or tampons every hour
- The clots of blood in the flow larger or equal to a quarter-sized coin
According to any private gynaecology clinic in London, even if you are experiencing any one of these symptoms, then you are suffering from heavy bleeding during periods.
Causes of heavy periods
A variety of conditions can cause menorrhagia, and most of these are treatable. As the causes are different for every woman, it is always advisable to visit your private gynaecology clinic to know the actual reasons. The major causes include:
- Changes in life
Our body is sensitive to any change, and this reflects in our periods. Even a small rise in stress levels can cause irregular periods. There is no surprise that any major change in life would affect your periods. Therefore, women commonly experience heavy periods after childbirth or pregnancy, or the stage when the body transitions into menopause called the perimenopause.
- Hormone Imbalance
Any fluctuations in the progesterone and estrogen levels in the body can cause heavy bleeding during periods. Some women experience low progesterone levels and high estrogen levels. This condition causes the outer lining of the uterus to thicken. And when this thick lining of the uterus sheds during periods, they experience large blood clots and heavy blood flow.
- Birth control measures or changes in medication
Heavy bleeding during periods could be a side effect of certain medications, such as blood thinners. Also, certain birth control measures such as IUDs (Intrauterine Devices) can result in heavy bleeding. For instance, hormonal or copper IUD can cause heavy bleeding and prolonged periods for up to four to six months post-insertion. Seek treatment for heavy, painful periods if you experience such a problem.
Endometriosis is a condition which is described as abnormal tissue outgrowth on the outer lining of the uterus that forms uterine polyps. This condition is painful and can shorten your menstruation cycle. Plus, you will experience heavy painful periods as the body slowly sheds the thick lining of the uterus.
- Uterine fibroids
Uterine fibroids are usually small, non-cancerous growths within the uterus. Their size ranges from that of a grain of sand to a large mass, and they can alter the size and shape of your uterus. This can cause heavy pain as well as excessive bleeding during periods.
Treatment for heavy painful periods
As there are a variety of reasons that cause menorrhagia, there are several types of treatments available too. The different treatment methods include:
- Changes in diet
Sometimes, the food you eat can also act as medicine. Eating foods rich in iron can help decrease heavy bleeding and also prevent anaemia which is caused due to excessive blood loss. Include iron-rich foods in your diet — for instance, green leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts, beans, seafood and meat. Also, eat foods rich in vitamin C, such as broccoli, oranges and bell peppers, as it will help with the absorption of extra iron present in the diet. Avoid processed foods and fast foods.
- OTC medications
Common medicines available over the counter, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, can decrease the pain due to menorrhagia and can even reduce the blood loss. These medications, used for the treatment of heavy painful periods, are called Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS). These medicines decrease the prostaglandin levels — the hormone which causes heavy bleeding and pain — in the lining of the uterus. For best results, take these medications during the periods to receive instant alleviation from the pain and heavy bleeding.
- Hormone treatment
Doctors sometimes advice hormone therapy for the treatment of heavy, painful periods caused due to hormone imbalance. Hormone treatments, such as progesterone pills are generally used as effective methods to stop heavy bleeding. These pills can be taken regularly to balance the hormonal levels daily and to decrease the thickness of the lining of the uterus.
- Birth control
Hormonal IUDs, patches, pills and other types of hormonal birth control methods can also heal with the treatment for heavy painful periods. These birth control methods can regulate your cycle, decrease the flow, and reduce the thickness of the uterine lining, thus alleviating the pain.
Heavy periods can be effectively managed by making certain changes in your lifestyle and through proper medication. In a few cases, wherein endometriosis or fibroids cause heavy periods, the condition can be treated with the help of surgery. Visit Well Women clinic and talk to our team of expert gynaecologists to find the right treatment for your heavy, painful periods.