Dealing with excessive menstrual bleeding

Dr. Astha Dayal
Author:
Dr. Astha Dayal
MD, MRCOGDealing with excessive menstrual bleeding

Heavy menstrual discharge, or menorrhagia as the condition is medically known, is associated with severe bleeding during menstruation. Excessive menstrual bleeding is typically associated with discomfort, and indicated by the number of pads that a woman uses during her periods.

In medical terms, a discharge of more than 80 ml during periods is considered to be excessive bleeding. In other words, a woman experiencing heavy bleeding may use one pad or tampon every hour, during her periods.

Health threats caused by Menorrhagia

Heavy bleeding can lead to anemia, a condition of low hemoglobin levels. In acute cases, the bleeding can be severe, leading to breathlessness, fatigue and palpitations.

Causes for heavy bleeding during periods

Heavy bleeding can be triggered by multiple causes ranging from premenopausal days, to hormonal imbalance, or in some cases lifestyle conditions. Prior to starting a patient on treatment, a doctor will rule out pregnancy, if the woman is of a reproductive age.

If she is not pregnant, the doctor may check for the following:

  • Fibroids: Heavy bleeding during periods can be due to noncarcinogenic fibroids or tumors inside the uterus.
  • Hormonal imbalance: If your body doesn’t excrete an adequate amount of progesterone, the ovarian functions may be disrupted, leading to Menorrhagia.
  • Birth control mechanisms such as Intrauterine Device (IUD): The use of intrauterine birth control devices can lead to heavy blood loss during periods.
  • Pregnancy complications: If the woman is pregnant, heavy bleeding can be a cause for worry, as it signals complications in the pregnancy.
  • Cancer: In rare cases, heavy bleeding can be a symptom of uterine, ovarian or cervical cancers.

Treating the condition

A doctor may adopt various approaches to treat excessive bleeding, depending on the diagnosis, age of the patient, and levels of discomfort caused by the condition.

  • Nonsteroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs can help relieve the symptoms of heavy bleeding.
  • Progesterone therapy can stabilize the uterine linings, normalize hormonal imbalances, and control the excessive bleeding.
  • Iron supplements and Iron rich food can help relieve the hazards of blood loss.
  • Oral contraceptive pills that are aimed at stabilizing excessive discharge may be used depending on the age of patient.