Some people are blessed with having a light, barely there period that visits for exactly three days every month and never gives them any trouble. But for about 10 million women in America alone, this isn’t the case. Many women experience heavy periods, also known as menorrhagia. It can feel mysterious and frustrating to bleed heavily but the good news is that there are reasons. And when there are reasons, there are options. There’s nothing a Lunette lady likes more than options, right? Especially when it comes to your reproductive health, being in the know can help you make decisions that will ultimately change your situation for the better.
What Makes a Period “Heavy”
While the personal definition of a heavy period may vary from person to person, the def inition in the medical community says that a period is heavy when there is enough blood to soak a pad or tampon (or you have to empty your menstrual cup) every hour for several hours in a row. Other signs include having to change your menstrual product during the night, passing blood clots, or having your period last longer than 7 days.
Basically, if your flow is interfering with sleep and daily activities, you’ve got a heavy one.
Causes of Heavy Periods
But, like,why do I have a heavy period, you ask? Great question. There is a list of reasons that could be the reason why you experience menorrhagia. Shall we?
- Uterine fibroids - most common during childbearing years, uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths of the uterus. They can range in size and you could have one or many. The interesting thing is that many women do have them but don’t know it because they don’t cause any symptoms.
- A hormonal imbalance - your hormones do a lot for your body and sometimes they can get a little out of whack. Having a hormonal imbalance could be due to any number of things, including PCOS and endometriosis. The signs are plenty including insomnia, irritability, weight gain, a low libido, depression, and fatigue. All of these things can contribute to having a heavier than normal flow.
- Miscarriage - losing the fetus before the 20th week is called a miscarriage. Not only can the toll it takes on your body cause heavy periods but the stress that comes with it can, too.
- Ectopic pregnancy - normally, when the ovaries release an egg and it becomes fertilized by sperm in the fallopian tubes, it travels into the uterus. Sometimes, in up to 1 out of 50 pregnancies, the egg stays in the fallopian tubes. This is called an ectopic pregnancy and can be the cause of heavy periods.
- Adenomyosis - considered a benign condition, adenomyosis happens when the inner lining of the uterus breaks through the muscle wall of the uterus. Despite being non-threatening, this condition can make for painful cramps and heavy bleeding.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) - about 1 million women each year are affected by PID and happens when the cervix is exposed to disease-causing organisms. The most common cause is Sexually Transmitted Infections but abortions, childbirth, and other pelvic procedures can also cause it.
How to Deal With Having a Heavy Period
As if having a period at all wasn’t challenging enough, having a heavy one can feel overwhelming. It’s important to talk to your doctor about what’s causing heavy bleeding. The treatment really depends on what the cause is. Understanding the possible reasons and then taking action with your doctor will help you to relieve some of the overwhelm and do your best to manage your period.
Stay positive and seek advice from your doctor so you can take control of your menstruation, instead of letting it control your life. Most importantly, remember that you aren’t alone. Millions of others are going through the same thing and there’s always someone out there to talk to about this.