Normal menstruation lasts about 3-5 days where the bleeding is neither too little nor too heavy, where you change your pad every four hours. If the duration or the severity of your periods is different from regular periods, it is known as abnormal menstruation. Known as menorrhagia, heavy bleeding can be a dangerous condition when you experience prolonged or heavy bleeding as it can cause severe anemia or iron deficiency. This is a curable condition.
What are the Types of Abnormal Menstruation?
Menorrhagia – Heavy bleeding
Amenorrhea – Absence of a woman’s periods for 90 days or more
Oligomenorrhea – Infrequent periods
Dysmenorrhea – Painful period and severe menstrual cramps
Abnormal Uterine Bleeding – Heavy flow and period that lasts longer than seven days
What Causes Abnormal Menstruation?
Taking anti-inflammatory drugs, hormonal medications, or anticoagulants can impact your periods. Heavy bleeding can also be because of intrauterine devices used for birth control.
When the hormonal or progesterone buildup in the lining of the uterus, it can cause heavy bleeding. It generally occurs in women who begin menstruating or women who are close to menopause.
Medical conditions, such as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), Endometriosis, Inherited blood disorders and cancers can cause abnormal bleeding.
Other causes include lack of ovulation, adenomyosis, and ectopic pregnancy.
What are the Symptoms of Heavy or Irregular Periods?
Some of the symptoms of heavy or irregular periods are;
- Changing pads once in an hour due to heavy flow
- Waking up at night to change pad
- Passing large blood clots during your periods
- Irregular periods
- Missing three or more periods in a row
- Periods that last longer than seven days
- Periods that come with pain, severe cramps, and nausea
- Bleeding after menopause
When Should I See A Doctor?
You must contact your medical care personnel immediately if;
- You experience severe pain during your periods
- Very heavy bleeding
- Vaginal discharge with foul smell
- A high fever during periods
- Periods that doesn’t end even after seven days
- Vaginal bleeding or spotting that occurs between your periods
- Nausea or vomiting during the periods
- You experience symptoms of shock syndrome, which includes fever of 102 degrees, diarrhea, vomiting, and dizziness
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How is Abnormal Menstruation Diagnosed?
To diagnose abnormal menstruation, your doctor might;
- Do a physical examination and talk to you about your medical history
- Conduct pap test and/or blood tests (to rule out any medical disorder or anaemia)
- Vaginal cultures to look for any infections
- To look for polyps, fibroids, or ovarian cysts, the doctor might do a pelvic ultrasound
- An endometrial biopsy might also be suggested where a small piece of the tissue is sent to the laboratory for further examination
How is Abnormal Menstruation Treated?
- Your doctor might prescribe estrogen or progestin to help control any heavy bleeding
- Over the counter, painkillers or other medication may be prescribed to combat pain
- For uterine fibroids, surgery can be an option if other treatment options don’t work
- Birth control pills may be used to regulate periods
Abnormal menstruation is a treatable condition. Therefore, if you ever notice any of the symptoms, don’t suffer, instead, visit your gynecologist immediately.
Abnormal menstruation can be uncomfortable and also life-threatening as too much bleeding isn’t good for you. Therefore, it is important to talk to your doctor if you think you are experiencing continuous heavy flow.
In order to reduce the risks of abnormal menstruation, make sure you follow a healthy lifestyle.
- Eat a well-balanced meal
- Exercise every day
- Maintain an ideal weight
- Keep stress away and practice relaxation techniques
- Change pads or tampons every 4-5 hours
- Go for regular doctor checkups
Yes, it is very much real and the symptoms can also be experienced during abnormal periods. Irritability, mood swings, anxiety can all be a part of PMS.