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6 reasons you might be suffering from heavy menstrual bleeding

Do you suffer from excessive bleeding during your periods? Here are the possible reasons for that annoying condition.

Heavy menstrual bleedingMenstrual bleeding is a normal bodily phenomenon among women; but heavy bleeding during those days of the month are not only cumbersome, but is also something that needs to be duly treated. Though heavy bleeding in itself is not a disease, persistent loss of blood can definitely have ill-effects on a women's body. Blood loss occurs during menstruation but excessive loss can cause anaemia leading to fatigue, breathlessness and other related symptoms. Therefore it is essential that a woman get a proper medical examination to identify the exact reason for heavy menstrual bleeding. Here is all you need to know about the condition:

When can normal periods be classified as heavy menstrual bleeding?

Heavy bleeding is a term that can be interpreted in several different ways, but there are some boundaries that can help you differentiate between a normal and abnormal period. Medically, losing up to 40 ml of blood, i.e; about three tablespoons, is a normal amount of blood loss during one menstrual cycle, but those losing an average of 70 ml or more blood in consecutive cycles would be classified as having heavy menstrual bleeding. Apart from that here are some other red flags you should keep in mind:

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  • Your menstrual cycle lasts for seven or more days.
  • You need to change your sanitary towel or tampon every one or two hours.
  • You need to visit the toilet in the middle of the night to change pads.
  • You experience pain in your lower abdomen constantly.
  • You observe big clots of blood on your sanitary napkin.
  • You experience fatigue and breathlessness during those days of the month.

What could heavy menstrual bleeding indicate?

Fibroids or uterine polyps

This is one of the most common causes of excessive bleeding. Fibroids are seen as polyps or small growths that form inside the uterine lining, and are commonly seen in women of the child bearing age. The good news here is that they are non-cancerous in nature and can be removed through a minor surgery.

Hormonal imbalance

Another leading cause of heavy menstrual bleeding, hormonal imbalance is especially difficult if it occurs during woman's adolescence or menopausal years. An imbalance usually happens mainly because the woman has an increased amount of progesterone in her body and her body's effort to accommodate the new changes can result in heavy bleeding.

Pregnancy related complications:

Some of the most common complications include an ectopic pregnancy (where the foetus is formed in the Fallopian tube and not the uterus of a woman) and miscarriage.

Other complications include, the improper positioning of the fetus on uterine wall, formation of the fetus outside the uterine wall or death of the fetus in the womb. All these circumstances cause heavy menstrual bleeding.

Adenomyosis is another condition that leads to abnormal bleeding. Here the woman's body goes through the complete child bearing process several times in her lifetime. This eventually leads to the damage of the reproductive organs especially the uterine walls. The walls of the uterus become thin, weak and susceptible to rupture. In some cases the surrounding organs may also push or press onto the already weakened walls leading to excessive bleeding.

Devices like Intrauterine device for birth control or prolonged use of blood thinning drugs can also increase blood loss during a woman's menstrual cycles.

Cancers:

In some cases cancers may also lead to excessive menstrual bleeding. Things like a change in cell types from non-cancerous to cancerous in and around the uterus, may result in uterine, cervical or ovarian cancer. Although rare, cancerous growths in the body can also lead to heavy bleeding.

Inflammation and infections:

Severe infection in any of the reproductive organs can again be a possible reason for heavy bleeding. Conditions like pelvic inflammatory disease and infections of the uterus can are most likely candidates when it comes to heavy menstrual bleeding.

Blood disorders:

Sometimes diseases affecting blood composition and thus hindering normal blood clogging mechanism are also responsible for excessive bleeding during menstrual cycles. Such conditions include infection in the liver, thyroid disorder; sever infestation and abnormal kidney function.

Platelet disorders in general hamper blood clotting. This occurs in women with hemophilia (inherited blood platelet disorder) and Von Willebrand Disease. In both cases in the absence of a proper blood clotting mechanism in the body, overflow or excessive loss of blood occurs during menstrual bleeding.

What ever the reason may be, getting yourself checked before you decide to follow any mode of treatment is necessary. Visit your gynecologist as soon as you notice a change in the amount of bleeding you experience. Remember, neglecting excessive loss of blood can lead to anemia and hamper physical well-being, social life and emotional status of the affected women.

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of anemia.

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