Heavy Menstrual Bleeding: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Jul 11, 2024

Women's Health

Heavy Menstrual Bleeding: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Heavy menstrual bleeding is a common condition that affects many women. Heavy periods are common and affect about 1 in 5 females. As the term suggests, it results in heavy bleeding during the menstrual cycle and can last for more than seven days. If ignored, it might lead to blood loss, weakness, and other medical conditions. 

What Is Heavy Menstrual Bleeding?

Menorrhagia, now commonly referred to as heavy menstrual bleeding, is characterized by menstruation that may occur at normal intervals but involves abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding. It is one of the most frequent concerns reported in modern gynecology. A study found that the prevalence of heavy menstrual bleeding was  24.1%. This number presents the opportunity to comprehend this condition and learn its symptoms, causes, and treatment options. 

What Are the Symptoms of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding?

The most common symptom of menorrhagia is excessive blood flow, which may result in huge clots. The menstrual cycle may be painful and longer than three to seven days. Other signs could be:

  • Overuse of sanitary pads or tampons: Soaking through one or more sanitary pads or tampons every hour for several consecutive hours. 
  • Physical discomfort: Excessive bleeding during periods can be accompanied by abdominal pain, body aches, and exhaustion.
  • Blood clots size: The size of blood clots released during menstruation can be larger than a quarter.
  • Restriction in daily activities: Finding yourself unable to work physically due to heavy blood flow.
  • Anemia-like symptoms: Symptoms of anemia, such as tiredness, fatigue, or shortness of breath.

Symptoms like overuse of sanitary products, body pain, and tiredness are common for women experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding. However, some signs can vary depending on the causes. Let us see these causes below.

Causes of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

Several medical conditions, lifestyle factors, and medications can contribute to heavy blood flow in periods. Knowing them is crucial to manage this condition. The common factors behind menorrhagia include: 

  • Hormonal imbalances: When the balance between estrogen and progesterone is disrupted, the uterine lining can develop overly and shed during menstruation, causing heavy bleeding.
  • Non-cancerous or cancerous growths: Uterine fibroids in the uterus or cancers of the female reproductive system can cause heavier than normal or prolonged menstrual bleeding.
  • Pregnancy-related conditions: Complications like miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or C-sections can cause more bleeding in periods. 
  • Inherited bleeding disorders: Conditions such as von Willebrand disease can affect the blood's ability to clot properly, leading to excessive flow.
  • Certain medications: Blood thinners and other medications can increase the risk of heavy menstrual bleeding.

Once the cause has been identified, an appropriate diagnostic tool is needed for heavy menstrual bleeding. We will see them in the next section.

Diagnosing Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

Accurate diagnosis is critical for effective treatment. Diagnosing heavy menstrual bleeding involves a thorough medical history review and physical examination. The tools may include:

  • Reviewing medical history: Your provider may ask several questions about when and how long you get your periods or about any genetic conditions and medications.
  • Blood tests: Blood tests are needed to interpret conditions like anemia, blood clot-related problems, thyroid diseases, or pregnancy.
  • Imaging scans: MRIs or other imaging scans can help check any abnormalities in the uterus and other organs or tissues in the pelvic region.
  • Pap-smear tests: These tests are used to check for infections, inflammation, or changes in the cervical cells.
  • Uterine examination: A sonohysterography or hysteroscopy can be conducted for a detailed uterine assessment. 

How to Treat Heavy Menstrual Bleeding?

Treatment approach for heavy menstrual bleeding varies based on the underlying cause of your bleeding, the severity of the bleeding, your overall health, age, and medical history. Some options for menorrhagia treatment are:

  • Medications and supplements: Options like iron supplements, anti-inflammatories, and over-the-counter medicines may help control cramps and bleeding.
  • Contraceptives and IUDs: Birth control pills, hormonal contraceptives, and IUDs may help regulate the blood flow during periods.
  • Hormonal therapy: Hormone therapy may assist in balancing hormones like estrogen and progesterone to reduce the overflow of blood during menstruation.
  • Surgical options: Surgery includes procedures like myomectomy, hysterectomy, and endometrial ablation that modify your uterus to prevent heavy bleeding.

While the above steps could aid in heavy menstrual bleeding treatment, prevention, and care are also necessary to manage menorrhagia. 

How to Prevent Heavy Bleeding During Periods?

The menstrual cycle is directly affected by an individual's health and well-being. Prevention includes taking proactive measures to manage risk factors and maintaining overall fitness. Some measures could be:

  • An active lifestyle: Regular physical activity can help maintain a healthy weight, which can regulate hormones and improve menstrual health.
  • A balanced diet: A well-balanced diet that includes sufficient iron and vitamins is vital for preventing anemia and maintaining healthy blood levels. 
  • Stress management: Stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or hobbies can help maintain hormonal balance.
  • Regular medical tests: Regular check-ups allow for monitoring menstrual patterns, timely diagnosis of potential problems, and implementing preventive treatment.

Managing Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

Heavy menstrual bleeding is a manageable condition with the right diagnosis and treatment. By understanding its symptoms, causes, and available treatments, one can take proper steps to improve their quality of life. 

Newnan Family Medicine for Effective Treatment of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

Concerned about irregular menstrual cycles and heavy blood flow? At Newnan Family Medicine, you can find specialized treatment for various conditions, including menorrhagia. Our team provides women’s health services that range from routine exams to common gynecological concerns. Request an appointment with us today and find relief from heavy menstrual bleeding.


Do periods get heavier with age?

Periods can get heavier with age due to hormonal changes, especially as women approach menopause.

What do big blood clots mean during periods?

Large blood clots during your period may indicate heavy menstrual bleeding, often associated with conditions like fibroids or hormonal imbalances.

What can I drink to stop heavy periods?

Staying hydrated and drinking herbal teas like ginger or chamomile may help. However, it's compulsory to consult a healthcare provider for proper treatment.

What blood tests are done for heavy periods?

Blood tests can check for anemia, thyroid function, and blood clotting disorders. A Pap test may also rule out infections or abnormal cells in the cervix.

Recent Posts

Request an Appointment Prescription Refill Request Make A Payment Contact Us 770-251-5540

Color Contrast

Bigger Text

Text Align