Heavy Menstrual Bleeding - What Is It?Facing heavy flow during periods is what most women have to deal with at least for a few years of their lives. This could be heavy menstrual bleeding that could be caused as a symptom of an underlying cause such as PCOS or endometriosis, or simply heavy flow during periods caused due to a temporary change, such as stress or hormonal ups and downs.Most women bleed anywhere between 5 and 40ml per period. It may seem like heavy bleeding on some days due to pads filling up fast or the appearance of clots, but clinically heavy bleeding is classified as periods with more than 40ml of bleeding–ranging up to about 80ml.While it may not possible to manage heavy menstrual bleeding at home, the following could be indicators:
- Soaking a regular pad/tampon every 2-3 hours
- Having to get up at night at least once to change your pad
- Frequently staining
- The passing of large, coin-sized clots
- Bleeding along with intense pain
- The appearance of dark/black coloured blood.
- Heavy menstrual bleeding for more than 5 days.
- Heavy menstrual bleeding more than once in 30 days.
- Anemia, tiredness or fatigue
Causes and Symptoms of Heavy Menstrual BleedingThe first thing to do when dealing with heavy menstrual bleeding is to equip oneself with a heavy pad. A heavy period pad, such as the RIO pad is specially built to collect and absorb clots and up to 150ml of liquid at one go. Once the heavy pad takes care of the bleeding, one can turn their focus to understanding the reasons for heavy periods. Heavy menstrual bleeding causes could include the following:
- Hormone imbalance: Periods are caused by the interplay of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. These cause build up of the endometrium lining which awaits the receipt of the fertilised egg. A disbalance in hormones could cause the endometrium lining, which is one of the most common heavy period causes.
- Dysfunction of the ovaries: The interplay of hormones is caused by the release of the egg by the ovaries. If the ovaries fail to release an egg or release one too late, the production of progesterone is affected, resulting once again in heavy menstrual bleeding.
- PCOS: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is another commonly occurring disorder in women these days. PCOS includes an imbalance of the male hormone testosterone in the female body leading to weight gain, the appearance of the body and facial hair and either heavy menstrual bleeding or irregular periods. PCOS is also often coupled with the appearance of cysts on the ovary which are benign but interrupt hormone cycles.
- Uterine Fibroids: These are benign (noncancerous) tumours that develop on the ovaries during childbearing years. They are one of the most common heavy period causes. These can be diagnosed by a gynecologist through ultrasound and are usually treated using medication.
- Pregnancy Complications: A miscarriage, or the dislocation of the placenta can result in heavy menstrual bleeding. Many women also commonly require maternity pads or heavy period pads post pregnancy as the body heals itself from the act of having created a new human!
Managing Heavy Menstrual Bleeding - Tips That Can Save You from HasslesIf you are undergoing heavy menstrual bleeding it is recommended you start paying more attention to your periods and listening to your body. Monitoring your period cycles, the start and end dates, the number of pads you are being required to use and clotting can help you paint a better picture to aid the gynecologist in their diagnosis. Additionally, a few lifestyle changes you could begin with to manage heavy bleeding include:
- Exercise: Very often heavy menstrual bleeding is caused either by stress or disorders that lead to weight gain. Exercising can help the body adapt to stress, and help regulate hormones better. Exercises like Yoga can also better blood supply to the uterine region and reduce pain from heavy periods.
- Sleeping better: Heavy menstrual bleeding can follow events of stress in one’s life. These could be break ups, pregnancy, job/city shifts or even many late nights at the work. Sleeping eight hours can help the body regulate its temperature, hormone levels and start internal healing mechanisms leading to the regularisation of periods.
- Heating pads: Placing these on the abdominal region can help relax muscles reducing cramps that often come with the heavy period flow.