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Symptoms and causes of heavy menstrual blood flow may be different for each person.
Talk with a Gynaecologist to find the most effective treatment for you.
Heavy Bleeding (Periods): what to do?
Experiencing heavy periods can cause a real disruption in women’s lives. Having heavy blood loss can affect simple daily life activities and some women have to literally put their life on hold during their period.
Heavy menstrual bleeding is generally something you should not have to worry about and in about half of women with heavy bleeding, no underlying reason is found.
However, if your menstrual period is affecting your personal life or is alarming you in any way, it is recommended you seek help and consult a Gynaecologist or talk with your GP if you don’t have one.
What is considered heavy menstrual bleeding?
According to NHS guidelines, heavy menstrual bleeding is defined as losing 80ml or more each period, having periods that last longer than 7 days, or both.
Defining what a heavy period is may be difficult because it varies from woman to woman and tolerance of amount of bleeding also varies. Normally women are aware of how much bleeding they usually experience. If you start to see a definite change in the heaviness and amount, then that can be a red flag and that’s probably the time when you may want to see a Gynaecologist.
When is heavy menstrual bleeding considered to be Menorrhagia?
Menorrhagia is the medical term for menstrual periods with abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding.
You can define menorrhagia, when you experience a severe blood loss. With menorrhagia it is very likely you are not able to maintain your usual activities either because of the blood loss and/or cramping.
Not being able to carry on with your life as normal or having to adapt what you do because of your heavy bleeding or cramping, is certainly a red flag symptom and you should take action to, asses the cause of menorrhagia and find the right treatment.
Symptoms of heavy bleeding (periods) or menorrhagia:
Signs and symptoms of heavy bleeding or menorrhagia may include:
- Soaking through one or more sanitary pads or tampons every hour for several consecutive hours
- Needing to use double sanitary protection to control your menstrual flow
- Needing to wake up to change sanitary protection during the night
- Bleeding for longer than a week
- Passing blood clots larger than a quarter or tuppence coin
- Restricting daily activities due to heavy menstrual flow
- Symptoms of anaemia, such as tiredness, fatigue or shortness of breath
Possible causes of heavy bleeding or menorrhagia
- Hormone imbalance
- Dysfunction of the ovaries
- Uterine fibroids
- Intrauterine device (IUD): Menorrhagia is a well-known side effect of using a non hormonal intrauterine device for birth control (especially if periods heavy to begin with ).
- Pregnancy complications like a miscarriage or an unusual location of the placenta, such as a low-lying placenta or placenta previa.
- Uterine cancer and cervical cancer can cause excessive menstrual bleeding, especially if you are postmenopausal or have had an abnormal smear test in the past.
- Inherited bleeding disorders
- Certain medications, including anti-inflammatory medications, hormonal medications such as oestrogen and progestagins, anticoagulants (blood thinners such as warfarin or enoxaparin can contribute to heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding.
- Other medical conditions: A number of other medical conditions, including thyroid, liver or kidney disease, may be associated with menorrhagia.
Treating heavy periods
Experiencing heavy periods or menorrhagia can be frustrating and affect a woman’s life, but what is important is to know that there are a range of treatments. In order to find the right treatment your Consultant Gynaecologist would have to consider your symptoms, assess the cause. You may also be referred for additional tests such as blood tests, ultrasound scans or a hysteroscopy (looking inside the womb) and then recommend a tailored treatment ( or options available ) to you.
- an intrauterine system (IUS) – a small device (coil) that contains the hormone progestogen such as Mirena is inserted in your womb by a medical professional (often the first treatment offered)
- medicines without hormones – such as tranexamic acid or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)
- medicines with hormones – such as the combined oral contraceptive pill or progestogen tablets
- endometrial ablation – a procedure to reduce the lining of the womb
- myomectomy – surgery to remove fibroids
- uterine artery embolisation – a procedure to shrink fibroids
- hysterectomy – surgery to remove to the womb
Your Gynaecology Consultation at The Women’s Wellness Centre
At the Women’s Wellness Centre we are pleased to welcome you into our calm, relaxed and Covid secure environment.
We are proud to partner with some of the most renowned medical professional within UK who can provide you with a personalised consultation. Our practice has been tailored to women’s needs, aiming to provide everything a women may desire and need under one roof.
If more tests are required to investigate the cause of your heavy bleeding, then you can have these at our Centre, such as blood tests or scan or insertion of an IUS.