No two women are the same, which means that no two women experience the same situation when it comes to menstruation. Yet, there are certain characteristics that are often common complaints among women. Thousands of women go into their OB/GYN’s office and complain about menstrual irregularity. This condition can be problematic in terms of inconvenience, but it can also be an indicator that something a little more serious is going on.
Menorrhagia is defined as a woman’s menstrual period that is excessively heavy, prolonged, or irregular. Symptoms of menorrhagia include having a period that lasts longer than seven days, bleeding so heavily that you need to change your pad or tampon more than once per hour, or having markedly heavy or prolonged periods that disrupt your daily life.
Irregular periods can be caused by a variety of factors:
- Hormonal imbalance: an excess of estrogen and/or progesterone can cause heavy bleeding to occur. Hormonal imbalances are most common in women who are closing in on menopause and girls who are in their first year of menstruating.
- Medications: Certain types of medications can cause heavy bleeding. Some anti-inflammatory drugs, hormone medications, and anticoagulants are linked to excessive menstrual bleeding.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease: this infection of the female reproductive organs can cause irregular periods and excessive bleeding.
- Endometriosis: a painful condition in which uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus. This often causes heavy bleeding during menstrual cycles.
- Growths or cancer: Benign growths in the endometrium (uterine lining) can cause heavy or prolonged periods. Cervical, ovarian, or uterine cancer can all cause heavy bleeding.
If you are experiencing irregular periods, it is important that you have your gynecologist examine you and evaluate your symptoms. Any notable differences in your menstruation are a sign that something has changed within your body. Not all changes are bad or scary, but they should be brought to your doctor’s attention.
At Marietta OB/GYN, we are dedicated to providing the highest level of medical care to our patients. Please call us today to schedule your next appointment.