Heavy Bleeding: When to See a Doctor?

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Heavy bleeding during your monthly menstruation cycle is a problem faced by many women. However, excessive bleeding over a continuous and prolonged period of time can raise the concern of menorrhagia, which is the medical term used to describe unusually heavy and extended bleeding during menstruation.

In order to understand this better, it is essential to first understand that the normal loss of blood during menstruation ranges from 30 to 40 millilitres, which amounts to 2 to 3 tablespoons in a 4 to 5 days cycle. However, someone who suffers from menorrhagia will experience loss of blood ranging over 80 millilitres, which sums up to double of the average level in the same time period. But this differs from woman to woman and the new research in this field explains menorrhagia as the ‘loss of menstrual blood that is more than a woman can manage reasonably’.

You know it is time to consult your gynecologist when your menstrual bleeding is so severe that it starts to become a hindrance, and refuses to let you perform your daily activities efficiently. If you dread that time of the month because of the fear of excessive loss of blood and cramping, it is a sign that you need to visit your doctor.

Signs that you need to visit a doctor to seek a medical opinion about your heavy bleeding:

  • If you are required to change a tampon or sanitary pad every hour consecutively for more than two hours.
  • Needing to line your underwear in multiple ways to avoid staining.
  • Bleeding for more than 7 days.
  • Inability to perform your daily activities due to abnormal menstrual flow.
  • Interrupted sleep and having to get up in the middle of the night to change your sanitary pad due to excess of blood flow.
  • In case you pass blood clots, which are the size of a quarter or bigger.
  • Continuous pain in the abdominal and pelvic region.
  • Experiencing symptoms of anemia, which include feeling tiredness, fatigue and shortness in breath.

In a regular period cycle, it is important that your hormones, especially estrogen and progesterone, are balanced as it is these hormones that form a lining around the uterus that is shed during the process of menstruation. Imbalance in these hormones can cause a number of conditions, such as obesity, thyroid, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and insulin resistance. Adenomyosis is a medical condition where glands grow in the uterine muscle proving to be painful and causing abnormal flow. Even, non-malignant tumours called uterine fibroids may begin to grow in the uterus, resulting in a heavier flow than usual.

When a woman is on her period, her ovaries will release an egg. This stage is called ovulation, but when one’s body is unable to produce this egg, it cannot produce the hormone progesterone, leading to excessive bleeding and ovary dysfunction. These are some of the causes and factors of menorrhagia.

Maintaining a record of your flow cycle can help you seek medical advice at the right time, and can help your doctor diagnose the reason behind abnormal bleeding faster and more effectively. There are many mobile applications available to help you keep a record of the same. It is wiser to consult a doctor in the early stages of any menstrual problems as your treatment can be more successful than if you seek medical advice later.