Every woman has a unique experience with her menstrual cycle. Some women breeze through each month without any disruptions, while others are concerned they might bleed to death before it’s over. Many women are conditioned to accept that their period is just something they have to put up with. However, if you have severely heavy or painful periods, you should talk to your gynecologist and get help.
At Apple Hill Gynecology, in York, Pennsylvania, our all-women team, including Marsha D. Bornt, MD, and Donna Lamson, CRNP, MSN, WHNP-BC, offers expert exams and testing to identify the cause of your heavy periods and provide personalized treatment plans to reduce your symptoms and heal your body.
We believe in educating and empowering women to make informed choices about their bodies and health care. Let’s review what causes heavy periods and what you can do about them.
When is a period considered “heavy”?
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, menstrual periods are classified as heavy if:
- They last for more than seven days
- You have to change your tampon or pad once an hour for several consecutive hours
- You need to wear more than one sanitary item at a time to control your flow
- You need to change your pad or tampon during the night
- Your period includes blood clots that are larger than a quarter
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, make an appointment to find out what’s causing your abnormally heavy bleeding and get the treatment you need.
What causes heavy periods?
Many reproductive health problems can cause heavy periods. For example, any of the following conditions can cause abnormal bleeding:
- Uterine fibroids or polyps
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Gynecological cancer
Fortunately, we offer treatments to address these issues and reduce your menstrual flow.
Treatment options for heavy bleeding
We begin with a comprehensive exam and testing to identify the cause of your abnormal periods. In addition to a pelvic exam, we use blood tests, urinalysis, and imaging studies such as ultrasounds to gather more information about your condition. In some cases, we might also recommend a hysteroscopy to examine the inside of your uterus.
After diagnosing the root cause of your bleeding, we create a personalized treatment plan to address your needs. In most cases, we use medication to regulate your hormones or endometrial ablation to regulate your menstrual cycle. For example, PCOS is a hormone-related condition, and birth control such as the pill, an implant, or a hormonal IUD can relieve your condition.
If you have a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, you might need a surgical procedure to remove any remaining tissue that could lead to bleeding, infection, or other complications.
Heavy periods aren’t normal, and you don’t need to suffer through them every month. If you have heavy periods, call our office, or make an appointment online today to find out what’s causing them and receive appropriate treatment.