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4 Causes of Heavy Menstruation

Menorrhagia isn’t just a day of bad cramps and bloating. It’s seriously heavy periods that interfere with your everyday life. 

It may cause you to skip work or school or avoid social situations. Accidents, or the fear of them, may keep you feeling self-conscious and uncomfortable in your own body.

You want a provider who understands how disruptive heavy menstruation can be as help you find a resolution. At Capital Women’s Care, we know that heavy menstruation may indicate an underlying health concern and that, in most cases, treatment is possible.

Here’s what we want you to know about heavy bleeding around your period and what might be causing it.

Symptoms of menorrhagia

Menorrhagia is the clinical term for heavy bleeding. Your cycle is considered heavy if:

Your period shouldn’t keep you from doing the things you want and love to do. Heavy periods, however, can make you skip work or school. 

You may also develop iron-deficiency anemia as a result of heavy bleeding. Anemia can make you feel tired and short of breath.

Causes of heavy bleeding

Heavy bleeding can result from a number of gynecological or health issues. Some of the major causes include:

Uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids are benign growths that develop in the womb. Fibroids are incredibly common and range in size from a pinhead to a grapefruit — or even larger. Many women experience no symptoms from fibroids, but others have fibroids that grow large and symptomatic enough to seriously disrupt their quality of life.

One of the major symptoms of fibroids is heavy menstrual bleeding. Luckily, fibroids can be resolved relatively easily with minimally invasive surgery or endometrial ablation.

Hormone disruption

Your period is the time your body sheds your uterine lining. This lining builds up every month for possible implantation with a fertilized egg. When you don’t get pregnant, the lining sheds. 

If your hormone levels are out-of-balance, your body may make the lining too thick, which can mean you have heavy bleeding around your period.

Hormone disruption often occurs in the years leading up to menopause, known as perimenopause, and often after childbirth. Other issues, including polycystic ovary syndrome, can also cause hormone disruption that leads to overly heavy periods.

Certain types of birth control

Intrauterine devices and hormonal implants (like Nexplanon®) can sometimes cause heavy periods. Copper-based IUDs (like Paragard®) are most likely to cause an issue with bleeding. Usually, this side effect lasts just 3-6 months after insertion.

As your body adjusts, you may end up with the opposite consequence; your periods can grow light and even disappear. Hormonal IUDs often have this effect and are sometimes even recommended as a solution for heavy bleeding caused by hormonal or other issues.

Problems related to pregnancy

Even if you weren’t “trying” to get pregnant and haven’t yet missed a period, problems with an early pregnancy can cause unusual bleeding that seems like a heavy period. 

This includes ectopic pregnancy, in which the embryo implants outside the uterus. This pregnancy can’t be viable and is easily mistaken for a heavy period.

An early miscarriage can also cause bleeding that you might mistake for a heavy period, especially if you hadn’t confirmed pregnancy.

Certain medications, like blood thinners, as well as endometriosis, and some bleeding disorders and cancers can also cause heavy menstrual bleeding.

Seek care for heavy bleeding

If you experience heavy menstrual bleeding, it’s important to have it checked out by professionals like those at Capital Women’s Care. We can offer appropriate treatment, whether that’s a minor surgical procedure, hormone therapy, a change in birth control, or support following a failed pregnancy.

Capital Women’s Care is available for all of your gynecological and pregnancy needs. Call today or request an appointment online.

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