TMH Living Well: Solutions to Heavy Bleeding During Menstrual Periods
Periods are usually not terrible but add in the cramping and backaches you get from heavy bleeding and they are truly a pain. For women, heavy periods, or menorrhagia, are fairly common, especially for adolescents who recently started getting their periods and for women who are pre-menopausal. In fact, 25 percent of women who are nearing menopause report heavy bleeding. It’s thought that an increase in estrogen during these times is often the culprit.
If you’ve experienced some of these occurrences during your period, your bleeding is deemed heavy:
• Soaking a pad or tampon every hour for several hours
• Bleeding at night that requires changing a pad or tampon
• Passing large clots
• Bleeding more than seven days
What causes heavy bleeding?What causes heavy bleeding?
What causes heavy bleeding?
There are several causes for heavy bleeding and the most common is hormone imbalance. When a woman’s body drops an egg, progesterone is released. If an egg is not produced then progesterone is absent, causing an imbalance — a fairly common occurrence in menopause.
Fibroids polyps or benign tumors in the uterus can also cause heavy bleeding — which is more common in women ages 40 to 50. The Mayo Clinic states that polyps are most common in women who are going through menopause or who have completed menopause. Interestingly, hormone imbalance can increase fibroid growth. Pelvic pain and painful periods are also signs of fibroids or polyps.
“The key with polyps is to get them removed. While they are usually benign, sometimes they can be cancerous,” said Dr. Scott Ellis, OBGYN with The Memorial Hospital.
TMH gynecologists have new surgical equipment, including a MyoSure hysteroscope to help remove fibroids and polyps, and obtain endometrial tissue samples.
Other causes for heavy bleeding include miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, adenomyosis, IUDs, pelvic inflammatory disease and even more rare, cancer and bleeding disorders.
Treating heavy periodsTreating heavy periods
Treating heavy periods
The heavy bleeding that occurs before menopause will often cease on its own but it may take years. Pain medicines including ibuprofen and naproxen can help with the cramps that often accompany heavy bleeding.
Hormone therapy — sometimes in the form of birth control pills — can also help balance hormones and flow. If your doctor suspects another cause he or she may recommend a D&C to clean out the lining of the uterus or a hysteroscopy to scope the uterus for fibroids. The scope allows the doctor to not only see fibroids but also remove them along with other growths.
If you have heavy bleeding, your doctor will likely order a blood test to check for anemia — an iron-deficiency that can occur from blood loss. Anemia leaves women feeling fatigued, short of breath, weak, pale and sometimes dealing with headaches, dizziness and chest pain.
“With menstruation there’s a tendency to underplay symptoms, but if something is unusual see your doctor,” Ellis said.
TMH has two, full-time gynecologists who see patients for routine appointments and for needed surgeries, Dr. Scott Ellis and Dr. Eileen Joyce. To make an appointment, call 970-826-2420.
This weekly article with tips on living well is sponsored by The Memorial Hospital at Craig — improving the quality of life for the communities we serve through patient-centered healthcare and service excellence.This weekly article with tips on living well is sponsored by The Memorial Hospital at Craig — improving the quality of life for the communities we serve through patient-centered healthcare and service excellence.This weekly article with tips on living well is sponsored by The Memorial Hospital at Craig — improving the quality of life for the communities we serve through patient-centered healthcare and service excellence.
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