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My Periods are Painful and Heavy

Every woman’s period is different — yours might last longer than your friend’s or be heavier than your sister’s, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “wrong.”

Your period shouldn’t keep you from doing everyday activities, however. If you suffer heavy bleeding and painful cramps, talk to your provider here at Capital Women’s Care. We can evaluate your symptoms, diagnose the condition that’s causing your bleeding and pain, and, of course, help you find relief with treatment. 

Here’s what we want you to know if your periods are painful and heavy.

When a period is considered heavy

Women lose, on average, about 6-8 teaspoons of blood during their period, which lasts anywhere from 3-7 days. Women with heavy bleeding lose more than 16 teaspoons during their period, which often lasts longer than seven days. 

Of course, measuring your flow isn’t really practical, but clues that your period is heavier than usual include:

If you have pain accompanying this heavy bleeding, it’s known as dysmenorrhea. Some women suffer this pain from the onset of their cycle, while other women develop it later in life, usually due to a condition affecting the uterus or other pelvic organs. 

Causes of a sudden heavy period

There are a lot of reasons you can have irregular, uncomfortable periods. It may run in your family, occur in the months after childbirth, or be due to the transition to menopause. Other causes are possible too and many depend on the onset and nature of your heavy bleeding and pain. 

A period that suddenly becomes heavy could signal:

Call our office if your period seems extra heavy all of sudden. It could be due to one of these reasons and deserves evaluation.

Other reasons for a heavy, painful period

If you have a period that’s become heavy as you’ve moved through adulthood and is regularly painful, you may have underlying, long-term issues.

Hormonal imbalances

You could have too much estrogen, which causes a thickened uterine lining and excessive discharge during your period. Hypothyroidism, which occurs when your thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones, can also cause heavy periods. 

Bleeding disorder

Bleeding disorders are relatively common in women with heavy periods.

Uterine polyps and fibroids

Uterine polyps are small growths on the lining of your uterus and contribute to heavy bleeding. Fibroids are growths of the muscle tissue of the uterus. Although not cancerous, they can grow quite large and cause pelvic pain and heavy bleeding. 


Adenomyosis occurs when the endometrial tissue grows into the muscles of the uterus. The uterine wall thickens as a result and causes pain and bleeding. 


When tissue similar to that of your endometrial tissue grows outside of your uterine cavity, on the outside of the uterus, on other reproductive organs, or even on the rectum, you’re diagnosed with endometriosis. This condition can cause painful, heavy periods, low back pain, and infertility.

Diagnosis and treatment

To diagnose the cause of heavy, painful periods, we review your personal and family medical history, determine the onset of your symptoms, and run diagnostic tests, like bloodwork and ultrasounds.

Depending on our findings, treatment may include supplemental hormones, birth control pills, minimally invasive surgery, and pain-relieving medications. If heavy bleeding is putting you at risk for iron-deficient anemia, we prescribe iron supplements, too.

Don’t live with heavy, painful periods, assuming that they’re normal or a side effect of being a woman. The team at Capital Women’s Care in Silver Spring and Laurel, Maryland, can help. Call or use this website to request an appointment.

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