Your menstrual cycle may be a monthly inconvenience, but is a sign of fertility and health. However, when the bleeding is extremely heavy, it can disrupt your daily activities. Although everyone’s cycle is different, overly heavy bleeding is a problem you should get evaluated.
Dr. Inga Zilberstein is an obstetrics and gynecology specialist located in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York. If you’re having problems with your menstrual cycle, Dr. Zilberstein and her team offer exams and treatments to help ease your symptoms.
What causes heavy menstrual bleeding?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heavy menstrual bleeding, or menorrhagia, is bleeding that continues past seven days. You may also be dealing with this condition if you have to change your tampons or pads every two hours or pass large clots.
Heavy menstrual bleeding can be very disruptive to your life. While it’s not always an emergent problem, it can lead to other issues like anemia. So what is the cause of this type of menstrual bleeding? Typically, the causes of menorrhagia are divided into three categories:
Hormonal disorders happen when there’s an issue with your estrogen and progesterone. Polycystic ovarian syndrome and thyroid problems can cause issues with your hormones, which often leads to heavy menstrual cycles.
Problems within your uterus can cause heavy bleeding. These issues include non-cancerous growths known as polyps or fibroids. Pregnancy-related issues like miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy can cause heavy bleeding. Certain types of cancers can also lead to abnormal bleeding patterns.
Any other cause of heavy bleeding not related to your hormones or your uterus fall into this category. This includes bleeding disorders and pelvic inflammatory disease. It also encompasses other medical conditions and diseases like other cancers.
When to see a doctor
When your periods are extremely uncomfortable, it’s important to find out what’s causing the problem. Whether it’s a hormone issue or something more serious, getting treatment helps you feel better about your menstrual health.
When you have heavy bleeding, it’s always a good idea to seek treatment, if only to help make your life easier. However, prolonged bleeding can be a sign of a bigger issue, so it’s important to make an appointment with Dr. Zilberstein if:
- You’re changing your pad or tampon every hour
- You’ve been bleeding for longer than a week
- You need to wake up overnight to change a pad
- You’re passing clots larger than a quarter in size
- You have heavy bleeding after menopause
- You’re bleeding between your normal periods
It’s also a good idea to see Dr. Zilberstein if you’re exhibiting signs of anemia, such as fatigue or shortness of breath. If your menstrual bleeding is truly affecting the way you live your daily life, don’t wait any longer to seek treatment.
Treatments for heavy bleeding
The good news about heavy menstrual bleeding is that successful treatments are available. When you come in for your appointment, Dr. Zilberstein takes your symptoms into account and performs an exam and may order tests to rule out obvious issues.
Once she has a picture of your overall health and gynecologic history, Dr. Zilberstein recommends treatments to get your bleeding under control. Conservative measures that help include:
- Hormonal birth control
- Placement of an IUD
- Medications such as tranexamic acid
- NSAIDs to help with cramping
Many times, these conservative measures are all you need to control heavier-than-normal bleeding. However, if your heavy periods continue after trying the above measures, Dr. Zilberstein recommends endometrial ablation.
You should only resort to endometrial ablation if you’re certain you don’t want any more children. Dr. Zilberstein uses the NovaSure® device to get rid of your endometrial lining through the application of radiofrequency energy.
The whole procedure takes only minutes, and it’s a safe way for you to get relief from your heavy periods. After the procedure, you should notice a positive change in the amount of bleeding you experience during your menstrual cycle.
If you’re suffering from heavier-than-normal periods, don’t hesitate to call today at 646-601-6351 to schedule an appointment with Inga Zilberstein, MD. You can also book a consultation using our online tool.