“Heavy menstrual bleeding affects about one in five women and is a common problem in the 30-50-year-old age group”.1

Umbrella
What may the Periods and Heavy Bleeding Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding
  • Heavy Bleeding
  • Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
  • Heavy Periods
  • Heavy Uterine Bleeding
  • Menorrhagia

Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

What is heavy menstrual bleeding?

DotS the definition of heavy menstrual bleeding may vary. The (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health’s (JH) definition is:

“Heavy menstrual bleeding (also known as menorrhagia) is excessive and/or prolonged menstrual bleeding. The amount varies from woman to woman and can change at different stages in your life; for example, in teenage years or approaching menopause. It is defined as blood loss greater than 80ml (equal to one-third of a cup) per cycle, or periods lasting more than seven to eight days”.2

Menorrhagia

What is menorrhagia?

DotS the definition of menorrhagia may vary. The (United States) Mayo Clinic’s definition is:

“Menorrhagia is the medical term for menstrual periods with abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding. Although heavy menstrual bleeding is a common concern, most women don’t experience blood loss severe enough to be defined as menorrhagia”.3

The (United States) Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) definition is:

Menorrhagia is menstrual bleeding that lasts more than 7 days. It can also be bleeding that is very heavy”.4

Heavy or Not

How heavy is heavy menstrual bleeding?

In Bleeding Disorders In Women: Heavy Menstrual Bleeding the CDC explain:

“How do you know if you have heavy bleeding? If you need to change your tampon or pad after less than 2 hours or you pass clots the size of a quarter or larger, that is heavy bleeding. If you have this type of bleeding, you should see a doctor”.5

In Heavy Bleeding: How Do You Know If Your Bleeding Is Too Heavy? the JH note:

“It is very difficult to determine whether your bleeding is too heavy. The best guide is to decide whether your period is having an impact on your quality of life – if it is causing you to be housebound, interrupting your daily activities, or causing you stress and anxiety. The following signs might indicate you are experiencing heavy bleeding:

  • Bleeding or ‘flooding’ not contained within a pad/tampon (especially when wearing the largest size)
  • Changing a pad/tampon every hour or less
  • Changing a pad overnight
  • Clots greater than a 50-cent piece in size
  • Bleeding for more than seven to eight days”.6

Cause

What causes heavy menstrual bleeding?

In Heavy Periods: Overview – What Causes Heavy Periods? the (United Kingdom) NHS (National Health Service) elaborate on:

“In about half of women with heavy menstrual bleeding, no underlying reason is found. But there are several conditions and some treatments that can cause heavy menstrual bleeding. Some conditions of the womb and ovaries can cause heavy bleeding, including:

  • Fibroids…
  • Endometriosis…
  • Adenomyosis…
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)…
  • Endometrial Polyps…
  • Cancer of the womb
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)…”.7

In Menorrhagia (Heavy Menstrual Bleeding): Symptoms & Causes – Causes the Mayo Clinic elaborate on:

“In some cases, the cause of heavy menstrual bleeding is unknown, but a number of conditions may cause menorrhagia. Common causes include:

  • Hormone imbalance…
  • Dysfunction of the ovaries…
  • Uterine fibroids…
  • Polyps…
  • Adenomyosis…
  • Intrauterine device (IUD)…
  • Pregnancy complications…
  • Cancer…
  • Inherited bleeding disorders…
  • Medications…
  • Other medical conditions…”.8

Common or Not

How common is heavy menstrual bleeding?

According to the JH:

Periods and Heavy Bleeding
“Heavy menstrual bleeding affects about one in five women and is a common problem in the 30-50-year-old age group”.9

Treatment

What are types of treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding?

In Bleeding Disorders In Women: Heavy Menstrual Bleeding: Treatment the CDC elaborate on different types of treatment and note:

“The type of treatment you get will depend on the cause of your bleeding and how serious it is. Your doctor also will look at things such as your age, general health, and medical history; how well you respond to certain medicines, procedures, or therapies; and your wants and needs. For example, some women do not want to have a period, some want to know when they can usually expect to have their period, and some want just to reduce the amount of bleeding. Some women want to make sure they can still have children in the future. Others want to lessen the pain more than they want to reduce the amount of bleeding. Some treatments are ongoing and others are done one time. You should discuss all of your options with your doctor to decide which is best for you”.10

Health Care Provider

What if I have heavy menstrual bleeding?

If you have heavy menstrual bleeding, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this. The Mayo Clinic explain:

“If you dread your period because you have such heavy menstrual bleeding, talk with your doctor. There are many effective treatments for menorrhagia”.11

The Mayo Clinic also note:

“Seek medical help before your next scheduled exam if you experience:

  • Vaginal bleeding so heavy it soaks at least one pad or tampon an hour for more than two hours
  • Bleeding between periods or irregular vaginal bleeding
  • Any vaginal bleeding after menopause”.12

Health Topics A-Z

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

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Sources

  1. Heavy Bleeding: What Is Heavy Bleeding? Last Updated: 20 March 2020 | Last Reviewed: 10 July 2018. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/periods/heavy-bleeding Accessed: 03 August 2020
  2. Heavy Bleeding: What Is Heavy Bleeding? Last Updated: 20 March 2020 | Last Reviewed: 10 July 2018. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/periods/heavy-bleeding Accessed: 03 August 2020
  3. Menorrhagia (Heavy Menstrual Bleeding): Symptoms & Causes – Overview. 01 July 2020. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menorrhagia/symptoms-causes/syc-20352829 Accessed: 03 August 2020
  4. Bleeding Disorders In Women: Heavy Menstrual Bleeding. Page Last Reviewed: 20 December 2017. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/blooddisorders/women/menorrhagia.html Accessed: 03 August 2020
  5. Bleeding Disorders In Women: Heavy Menstrual Bleeding. Page Last Reviewed: 20 December 2017. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/blooddisorders/women/menorrhagia.html Accessed: 03 August 2020
  6. Heavy Bleeding: How Do You Know If Your Bleeding Is Too Heavy? Last Updated: 20 March 2020 | Last Reviewed: 10 July 2018. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/periods/heavy-bleeding Accessed: 03 August 2020
  7. Heavy Periods: Overview – What Causes Heavy Periods? Page Last Reviewed: 17 June 2018. NHS (National Health Service) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/heavy-periods/#what-causes-heavy-periods Accessed: 03 August 2020
  8. Menorrhagia (Heavy Menstrual Bleeding): Symptoms & Causes – Causes. 01 July 2020. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menorrhagia/symptoms-causes/syc-20352829 Accessed: 03 August 2020
  9. Heavy Bleeding: What Is Heavy Bleeding? Last Updated: 20 March 2020 | Last Reviewed: 10 July 2018. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/periods/heavy-bleeding Accessed: 03 August 2020
  10. Bleeding Disorders In Women: Heavy Menstrual Bleeding: Treatment. Page Last Reviewed: 20 December 2017. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/blooddisorders/women/menorrhagia.html Accessed: 03 August 2020
  11. Menorrhagia (Heavy Menstrual Bleeding): Symptoms & Causes – Overview. 01 July 2020. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menorrhagia/symptoms-causes/syc-20352829 Accessed: 03 August 2020
  12. Menorrhagia (Heavy Menstrual Bleeding): Symptoms & Causes – Symptoms: When To See A Doctor. 01 July 2020. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menorrhagia/symptoms-causes/syc-20352829 Accessed: 03 August 2020
Topic Last Updated: 03 August 2020 – Topic Last Reviewed: 03 August 2020
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