We’ve all had days when our periods lean more toward a flood than a trickle, and these are hardly good days. If you’re routinely experiencing these types of days, there may something more at play than just an unusually heavy period.
Here at ObGyn Care of Oklahoma, we have many women who come to see us to get to the bottom of persistent and heavy bleeding during periods. It’s for this reason we decided to provide you with some guidelines about menstrual bleeding and when (and why) it might be time to come see us.
What menstrual bleeding should be
While we’d love to provide you with exact amounts and duration of a normal menstrual period, the fact is that they vary considerably from one woman to the next. Some women experience only light flow for two to three days while others go through 24 hours of heavy bleeding followed by five or six days of moderate flow. This is the reason you’re faced with so many options when you’re in the feminine product aisle, which range from light to super.
The bottom line is that if your menstrual periods aren’t posing a problem to your health and your quality of life, they’re probably just fine.
What menstrual bleeding shouldn’t be
There are many factors that affect your menstrual bleeding, such as whether you’re taking hormonal contraceptives or you have nutritional problems. In both of these cases, your periods can be lighter and shorter. As well, excessive exercise or stress can affect your periods, making them shorter, or even nonexistent.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are a number of medical issues that can cause heavier bleeding, which is what we’re concerned with here, so let’s review them:
These benign growths in your uterus can wreak havoc on your menstrual cycle, causing you to bleed longer and more heavily. The only way to tell if this is causing your unusual bleeding is to come in to ObGyn Care of Oklahoma and have Dr. Shaurin Patel take a look.
Polycystic ovary syndrome causes cysts to develop on your ovaries, which can lead to heavy and prolonged bleeding during your menstrual cycles. Here again, the only way to know for sure whether PCOS is at the bottom of your problem is to come in and have us check you out.
If you have a copper (nonhormonal) intrauterine device, or IUD, this can be the source of your heavy bleeding.
This is a condition where endometrial tissue, usually found only in the lining of your uterus, grows on the outside of the uterus or in the pelvic cavity. Endometriosis often causes painful and irregular periods.
These four conditions are the most common reasons women experience heavy menstrual bleeding, but there are a host of other issues, from obesity to blood-clotting disorders, that may be at the root of the problem.
When you should see a doctor
Only you know your body best, so we urge you to pay attention to it. Diseases and medical problems rarely crop up out of the blue, and your body is often sending you warning signs. But if you don’t recognize them as such, your condition can go untreated.
When it comes to heavy menstrual bleeding, you should make an appointment with us if you:
- Are changing your pad or tampon every hour for any length of time
- You need to change your pad or tampon throughout the night
- You bleed longer than a week
- You have blood clots larger than a quarter
- You feel fatigued and weak (signs of anemia)
- You’re bleeding in between periods
- Your cramps are debilitating
We want to reiterate that you know your body best. So, if you normally have a heavy flow and you’re doing fine, that’s great. But if you experience a change in your menstrual flow and it becomes even heavier, that’s a sign that something is different, and you should have it checked out.
If you still have questions, it’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your health. Please give us a call if you’d like to see Dr. Patel, or use the form on this website to schedule an appointment.