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Menorrhagia 101: Here’s what a gynae wants you to know about heavy menstrual bleeding

Even though heavy menstrual bleeding or menorrhagia can disrupt normal life, many women tend to accept it as a part of their cycle. Here’s why a gynae suggests you shouldn’t.
If you’re soaking more than one pad or tampon every hour, it’s time to visit a doc. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Samir Kumar Ray Updated: 15 Jun 2022, 00:39 am IST
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A normal menstrual cycle lasts about 28 days, in which women tend to lose 30 to 40 ml of blood–about 3 tablespoons–each cycle. But what dictates menstrual blood flow in women? Long story short, a fine balance between oestrogen and progesterone hormones.

These hormones further help build up the endometrium that sheds every month during the cycle. An imbalance in oestrogen and progesterone levels is what results in menorrhagia or prolonged and heavy menstrual bleeding.  This is a condition where the endometrium develops in excess and causes heavy vaginal bleeding during the menstrual cycle. 

But what causes heavy menstrual bleeding or menorrhagia?
Menorrhagia is commonly found in adolescents and women approaching their menopause as there is a high hormonal change in these age groups.

If you are not in this age group and do not suffer from a hormonal imbalance, then there could be severe reasons behind the condition like:

  • Endometrial cancer
  • Inflammation or infection of the vagina, cervix, or pelvic organs
  • Polyps (small growths on the cervical or uterine wall)
  • Thyroid conditions

If you have been suffering from heavy bleeding, then you need to visit a gynaecologist.

Blood clots in period
Heavy bleeding? Consult your doctor RN! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What are the symptoms of heavy menstrual bleeding?
It is difficult to diagnose heavy bleeding because many women consider the bleeding to be normal or equate it to their irregular eating habits and haphazard schedule.

But if you have prolonged menses and anemia-like symptoms, which include pallor, tiredness, fatigue, and shortness of breath then you could have menorrhagia. 

Here are a few other ways to tell if you have menorrhagia or not: 

  • Your menstrual flow soaks through one or more sanitary pads every hour
  • You need to wear double sanitary pads to control your menstrual flow
  • You often notice large blood clots
  • Your menstrual period tends to last longer than 7 days

If you notice any of these symptoms, then it is time to take action and pay a visit to your gynaecologist, who might conduct a pelvic exam, Pap smear, and other tests.

pap smear test
Pap smear might help you find the cure. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Your doctor might also rule out urinary and gastrointestinal tract problems to make sure that you are not suffering from any severe conditions that might affect your ovulation cycle or sexual health.

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In the end…
Women should stay aware of their body and how it functions. It is good to stay strong no-matter-what, but seeking medical help for menstruation when needed is also essential. 

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About the Author

Dr Ray is a consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician, Department of Gynaecology & Obstetrics, CK Birla Hospitals - CMRI ...Read More

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