Your pristine white sheets end up looking like a crime scene in the morning during that time of the month? Do you find yourself rushing to the washroom every hour to change your overfilled pad? Well, if you can relate to these unusual period scenarios, chances are that you experience heavy menstrual bleeding. The medical world calls it menorrhagia and we’re here to break it down for you further. Here’s everything you need to know about the possible causes of your unusually heavy period and how to deal with it:
Menorrhagia: What Is Heavy Menstrual Bleeding?
A 2013 study defines menorrhagia as “menstruation periods at regular cycle but with excessive flow which may last more than seven days.” It is an extremely common gynaecological condition that affects more than 30% of the women aged between 15-44 in our country. Menorrhagia can cause heavy menstrual bleeding of more than 80 ml in each cycle and lead to leakages, staining, and disruption of regular life activities.
Symptoms Of Menorrhagia/Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
If you’re wondering how to differentiate between normal and heavy menstrual bleeding, here are some symptoms of menorrhagia to make it easier for you:
-Soaking through one or more sanitary pads or tampons every hour for several consecutive hours.
-Having to use double sanitary protection to control your menstrual flow.
-Waking up to change sanitary protection during the night several times.
-Bleeding for more than a week.
-Passing blood clots larger than a quarter.
-Disrupting daily activities due to heavy menstrual flow.
-Symptoms of anemia, such as tiredness, fatigue or shortness of breath.
Causes Of Menorrhagia
Heavy menstrual bleeding with the symptoms mentioned above can be your body’s way of indicating that something’s wrong. It could be due to hormonal changes, an underlying health condition or environmental factors. Here are seven possible causes of menorrhagia:
Getting on and off birth control pills or changing them can lead to heavy menstrual bleeding as your body adjusts to a new hormonal balance. Additionally, progesterone-only pills can also trigger heavy menstrual bleeding compared to the combination birth control pills like the ones with both estrogen and progesterone. Getting an intrauterine device (IUD) like the copper coil or a hormonal IUD implanted can also make your periods heavier by disturbing your hormonal balance. However, in this case, the bleeding should ideally settle down after three-four cycles.
If you’re at risk of strokes and heart attacks and regularly consume doc-recommended anti-coagulants, you could experience heavy menstrual bleeding. This is because these medicines reduce the coagulating capacity of your blood, allowing it to flow more freely. Even stress and anxiety meds can make you bleed more during periods. Additionally, regular or excess consumption of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin can also lead to heavier periods.
You may assume that your period is a sign that you’re ovulating normally but that’s not always the case. Ideally, ovaries release an egg for fertilisation during each menstrual cycle. However, there can be situations that cause anovulation or the lack of ovulation in a menstrual cycle. When that happens, you may still experience bleeding due to a drop in your estrogen levels and expulsion of the uterine lining (endometrium) that can no longer sustain itself. But technically, it isn’t a period and can lead to heavy bleeding.
Pregnancy complications like scarring or inflammation of the fallopian tube or a miscarriage can lead to heavy bleeding. It can also be caused due to an ectopic pregnancy in which the fertilised egg gets attached to the fallopian tube, abdominal cavity, or cervix instead of the uterus.
The bleeding one experiences immediately after childbirth isn’t technically a period. It’s called lochia and is your body’s way of getting rid of the extra blood and tissue in your uterus that helped your baby grow. Bleeding is heaviest the first few days after your baby is born. But if heavy bleeding continues after that, you must call your doctor.
Factors like strenuous exercise, sudden weight loss or gain, fad diets, and being in an extreme calorie deficit can disturb the hormonal balance in the body. This in turn can lead to heavy menstrual bleeding. Sometimes, travelling and the subsequent disturbance in sleeping and eating patterns can also make your periods heavier.
Underlying Health Conditions
Underlying health conditions such as thyroid imbalance, polycystic ovaries, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and pelvic inflammatory disease can also cause heavy menstrual bleeding. It may also be a sign of cervical cancer or liver or kidney disease. Broadly speaking, these conditions trigger a hormonal imbalance and can make your periods heavier. It is best to opt for a thorough diagnosis and treatment in this case.
Sirona Recommends Best Products To Manage Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
Sirona Menstrual Cup
These menstrual cups are made with 100% medical-grade silicone. This funnel-shaped device is safe to use. It truly is a blessing in disguise for those who experience heavy menstrual bleeding as it can hold upto 28 ml of blood. The cup gives you leak-proof protection for eight hours straight.
Sirona Dry Comfort Panty Liners
These panty liners are made with breathable material and are handy when it comes to managing heavy menstrual bleeding. You can use them as extra protection along with your menstrual cup and tampons to prevent leakages and staining. They’re ultra-thin, super-duper soft and can help you feel comfier during your period.
Sirona Organic Cotton Maternity Sanitary Pads
Made with 100% organic cotton top layer, these maternity pads can help manage heavy menstrual bleeding and lochia with ease. They’re ultra-thin, highly absorbent, and free of toxins to give you max comfort–minus any rashes–during a heavy period.
Sirona Applicator Tampons
These tampons come with a syringe-like applicator to help insert them easily. They’re comfy, odour-free, and come in three different sizes. You can choose a high-absorbency applicator tampon if you suffer from heavy menstrual bleeding for leak proof protection during shark week.
Folks, dealing with heavy menstrual bleeding is no easy feat. While these products can make it easier for you to manage your heavy period, you must get yourself diagnosed in order to rule out any underlying health conditions. We wish you a happy, healthy period!
Featured Image: Pexels
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