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3 Common Causes of Heavy Menstruation

Heavy menstrual bleeding is frustrating and disruptive, but not uncommon. Typically, your period lasts about 5-7 days, but if you have heavy bleeding, it may last longer.

Heavy menstrual bleeding also means you may need to change your hygiene product often — every hour or two. You may pass clots of blood the size of a quarter, or larger.

At Capital Women’s Care, we don’t want you to suffer heavy menstrual bleeding if you don’t have to. Heavy bleeding is not just inconvenient, it can lead to anemia and be accompanied by abdominal pain and emotional distress.

Our OB/GYN team does its best to identify why you have heavy menstrual bleeding and offer the best treatment possible.

Learn more about three of the most common causes we look for.

Hormonal issues

Your period is driven by hormones. If the delicate balance of estrogen and progesterone is off, you may have an overwhelming buildup of the endometrium, or lining of the uterus. This endometrium is shed during your period.

Hormone imbalances may result from obesity, insulin resistance such as occurs with pre-diabetes and diabetes, and thyroid problems.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is another common cause of hormone imbalances and can sometimes cause heavy periods. This syndrome is characterized by high levels of androgens or male hormones. This disrupts your female hormone levels and can lead to skipped periods and overly heavy ones. 

Our practitioners at Capital Women’s Care can help you manage PCOS, including potential problems with fertility, irregular periods, and other unpleasant symptoms.


Your age affects your period. Heavy periods occur in teens just establishing their cycle or in women headed into menopause. Heavy periods in adolescent girls are usually a temporary thing. As your body adjusts, your periods become more normal if you have no underlying condition. 

Women in perimenopause, which typically occurs a few years before menopause, often have estrogen levels that exceed progesterone levels, causing heavy bleeding.

Just because you can suspect your age has to do with heavy menstrual bleeding doesn’t mean you should skip getting checked by our expert OB/GYN team. PCOS, uterine fibroids, or ovary issues — as well a number of other pathologies — can still be to blame. Don’t just assume; it’s better to be safe and be evaluated.

Uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids are benign growths in or on your uterus. They’re incredibly common and often cause no symptoms. However, in some women, they can cause pelvic pain, bloating, heavy menstrual bleeding, and painful intercourse. Fibroids may be particularly problematic in your 40s, as — of course — hormones make a shift.

Don’t rule out other causes

When hormonal issues, age, and fibroids are ruled out, our doctors at Capital Women’s Care may look for another cause of your heavy menstrual bleeding. Polyps, certain medications, an intrauterine device (IUD), pregnancy complications, and, in rare cases, cancer of the uterus or cervix may be to blame.

We carefully consider your age, medical history, and family history when evaluating your case. Blood tests, ultrasounds, and pelvic exams are some of the first steps we take when trying to get at the root cause of your bleeding.

Heavy menstrual bleeding often signals that you have an underlying condition that’s easily managed.

If you’re tired of long-lasting, heavy cycles, it’s time to make an appointment with the team at Capital Women’s Care. We’re here to help women in the Silver Spring and Laurel, Maryland, area maintain optimal gynecological and reproductive health. Making an appointment is easy. Just call the most convenient location or request an appointment using this website.

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