What is Heavy Menstrual Bleed or Menorrhagia?

Heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia is a medical condition, which results in the form of heavy or prolonged bleeding in the times of menstrual periods. However, in some cases such as premenopause, heavy bleeding conditions can be a part of the normal menstrual cycle. Though this excessive bleeding condition could be a routine condition for some females during their periods, but it is not advised to take it for granted as often it also implicates towards severe health ailments.

What is Heavy Menstrual Bleed or Menorrhagia?

Causes of Heavy Menstrual Bleed or Menorrhagia

Some of the foremost causes behind this heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia conditions can be enumerated as:

  • Hormonal imbalance is a most common cause behind heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia condition, which can be easily found with young females who have recently started to have their periods as well as women who are close to the age of Menopause. Progesterone and estrogen are most commonly affected hormones causing heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia.
  • Ectopic pregnancy is another primary reason for heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia. In this condition, fertilized egg gets implanted outside the uterus, most of the time in the fallopian tube, which is hard to carry and often advised to abort the pregnancy. Miscarriage is another condition in the list.
  • Noncancerous tumors, also known as fibroids, occur mostly during childbearing period.
  • Due to intrauterine devices (IUD), used as birth control.
  • Pelvic inflammatory diseases (PID), infection of the fallopian tube, uterus, and other reproductive organs.
  • Blood thinner usage history can cause heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia.
  • Adenomyosis.
  • Thyroid, liver and kidney ailments and other medical conditions responsible for preventing usual blood clotting.

Heavy Menstrual Bleed or Menorrhagia With Clots and Pain:

Sometimes, heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia also occur with blood clots and severe pain, which is also called Cramps, would be due to various reasons. Though, it is completely normal to have clots and pain while periods because of clotting of blood, as body use to release anticoagulants to prevent blood from clotting. But in the case of heavy bleeding, the natural amount of anticoagulant is not sufficient to prevent entire blood amount from clotting and hence it appears in such clotted form.

Some of the prominent reasons behind this can be listed as:

  • Estrogens and progesterone hormones are directly responsible for shedding and production of the uterine lining. When the balance between these two hormones get disturbed, it results in excessively thick lining of uterine, which contributes in conditions of heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia, clots, and pain.
  • Miscarriage or aborted pregnancy may also cause these couple of conditions. As the uterine lining supports the housing of embryo, it starts to accumulate the blood instead of releasing it in the form of shedding of the uterine lining. In the case of miscarriage or deliberately aborted pregnancy, shedding of this bulky uterine lining result in heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia with clots and cramps.
  • Thyroid disorders.
  • Fibroids or uterine fibroids can also cause clotting condition during the period.

However, some extent of pain and clotting in heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia is normal, but if these conditions persist for the longer duration of time than that of the normal periods, it is advised to consult a Gynecologist without delaying further.

Symptoms of Heavy Menstrual Bleed or Menorrhagia

To identify or confirm the symptoms of heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia, certain conditions are required to satisfy the criterion of this medical condition. These points can be enumerated as:

  • Heavy bleeding than normal periods.
  • Amount of blood soaked by the pad every hour.
  • Nighttime bleeding followed by frequent changing requirement of pads or tampons.
  • Large blood clotting during menstrual cycle.
  • Periods persists more than seven days.

These were some of the symptoms, which indicate towards the heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia and required to consult with a Gynecologist, in a way to confirm the same.

Tests to Diagnose Heavy Menstrual Bleed or Menorrhagia

Some of the clinical tests can be conducted by doctors to confirm the condition of heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia can be named as:

  • Blood test.
  • Endometrial biopsy.
  • Pap test.
  • Ultrasound scan.

These are few of the initial tests, on the basis of which, some further tests can also be conducted such as:

  • Hysteroscopy.
  • Sonohysterogram, etc...

Treatment for Heavy Menstrual Bleed or Menorrhagia

In a way to treat or lower down the heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia symptoms, there is a wide array of options available according to the medical history and condition of any patient. Some of them can be elaborated as:

  • Hormone therapy can be used to treat heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia. Hormonal IUD's, oral contraceptive pill, hormonal pills to balance estrogen and progesterone are very effective in controlling the bleeding and stabilizing the balance among the hormones.
  • Fibroid removal can be a treatment option for heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia. Excessive bleeding due to fibroids can be controlled by decrease fibroids. A method known as embolization disables the blood supply of fibroids and ultrasound ablation tear down the tissues of fibroids through sound waves. It can also remove by the method of a surgical procedure called Myomectomy.
  • Hysterectomy is a method which is one of the best contraceptive procedures available to females. In this procedure, the entire uterus is removed and as there is no uterus, there would be no chance of periods or heavy bleeding.
  • Another treatment for heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia is endometrial removal. Under this method, endometrial lining is either removed or thinned in a way to reduce the bleeding.
  • Iron drugs are scheduled to address the anemic problem arises due to heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia. Some drugs are also employed for the purpose of blood clotting for the patients having blood clotting disorders.

Home Remedies for Heavy Menstrual Bleed or Menorrhagia

Many of the kitchen ingredients were also found as an effective home remedies in heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia. Few of them can be listed as:

  • Cinnamon is an excellent home remedy for heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia. One teaspoon of cinnamon powder in cold water, thrice a day, in day time would reduce the blood loss. Using cinnamon in tea also affects the existing condition of heavy bleeding and reduces it to great extent.
  • Another remedy for heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia is Ginger. Use of ginger in different food items such as tea would surely help in lowering down the cramps or pain occurred during periods.

In this way, there is lots of kitchen stuff which can be taken into the routine diet to reduce the effects of heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia and pain followed by it, few other suggestions are intake of parsley, fenugreek seed, papaya, sesame seeds, marigold and Indian gooseberry.

Prevention of Heavy Menstrual Bleed or Menorrhagia

There is no sure shot way yet known to prevent the chances of heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia, but some prevention can be taken to avoid this condition such as avoiding unprotected sexual intercourse, which is a likelihood condition to evolve pelvic inflammatory disease, greatly responsible for heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia.

Risk Factors for Heavy Menstrual Bleed or Menorrhagia

Heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia has different risk factors associated with it, particularly among a couple of age groups young adults and older women. Often, teenagers who have recently started to experience menstrual cycles, use to have these conditions during their first year of periods whereas older women who have achieved the age of Menopause are also prone to this condition due to ovulatory conditions.

Some of the front line risk factors associated with heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia can be listed as:

  • Hormonal imbalance. When the levels of two primary hormones, estrogen and progesterone are disturbed, it results in the form of excessive augmentation in endometrium and in heavy bleeding on its shedding. Dysfunctions of ovaries are the primary cause for such imbalance as it inhibits the creation of progesterone.
  • Pregnancy complications. Ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage is also another primary risk factor for heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia
  • Menorrhagia is also associated with bleeding disorders such as Von Willebrand Disease (VWD), also known as platelet function disorder. In this conditions, necessary proteins required for proper blood clotting were not present, hence greater the risk of heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia.
  • Uterine tumor is also a risk factor for heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia. A fibroids or polyps sort of benign growths into the uterus, which can only occur to the females in their reproductive age, may cause excessive bleeding during their menstrual cycles. Ovarian, cervical and uterine cancers are some other factors of risk for Menorrhagia.
  • Intrauterine device (IUD). It is a contraceptive device, which is used to place in the uterus for the purpose of birth control. The heavy bleeding condition is one of foremost side-effect associated with this method of contraception.
  • Medications. Anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory drugs can also put females at the greater risk of having heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia.

Complications of Heavy Menstrual Bleed or Menorrhagia

There are some noticeable complications associated with heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia, which can be named as:

  • Iron deficiency.
  • Severe abdominal pain or cramps.
  • Lack of routine activity.
  • Miscarriage, etc...

Can You get Anemia From Heavy Periods?

Yes, one who is suffering from heavy menstrual bleed or menorrhagia usually gets diagnosed with severe fall in hemoglobin levels due to the heavy blood loss. Hemoglobin is an enabling agent for RBC's to carry oxygen to the tissues. A low level of hemoglobin results in iron deficiency syndrome as well. However, it is not necessary in each case as many females use to have heavy bleeding during their periods and it is completely normal, if not followed by anovulation and other disorders.

Also Read:

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: July 7, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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