Menorrhagia is the medical term for heavy menstruation, this is usually characterized by heavy menstrual flow for more than seven days or severe menstrual flow for less than seven days.
In this condition, the menstrual bleeding and cramps can be so heavy that they affect your usual daily activities. Some women with menorrhagia might even see their period more than once a month and this condition is quite common during adolescence and menopause.
Causes of Menorrhagia
Many factors are responsible for this condition and some of them are:
- Hormonal imbalance: Abnormal levels of hormones in the body can cause menorrhagia and other menstrual problems. This include hormones like estrogen and progesterone, they control the buildup of the endometrium (the lining of the uterus).
This tissue is shed during menstruation, when there is an imbalanced level of hormones, the tissues may develop excessively and eventually lead to heavy menstruation.
There are some factors that can cause hormonal imbalance and some of them are stress, thyroid problems, insulin resistance, obesity, and polycystic ovary syndrome.
- Uterine fibroids and cancer: Cancer of the uterus can cause heavy bleeding, uterine fibroids also, which are non-carcinogenic tumors can also cause heavy bleeding or prolonged menstruation.
- Underlying medical conditions: Some medical problems can lead to menorrhagia. This includes kidney disease, liver problem, adenomyosis, pregnancy complications, and others.
- Disorder in blood coagulation
- Complications in pregnancy such as ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage
- Malfunctions of the ovaries: Ovulation problems like the inability to produce eggs during anovulation can lead to hormonal imbalance, and this, in turn, will lead to menorrhagia.
Insufficient levels of the hormone progesterone in the body or inability of your body to make this hormone can make your ovaries unable to produce eggs.
- Intrauterine device or pelvic infection
- Medications: Some medications like anti-inflammatory drugs, synthetic hormones, and anti-coagulants can aggravate this condition or trigger it.
- Growth on the lining of the uterus or uterine fibroids
- Thickening of the uterus known as adenomyosis
- Genetics: Inherited bleeding problems like Von Willebrand’s disease can cause abnormal and prolonged menstrual bleeding. This condition is characterized by the impairment or absence of an important blood clotting factor.
Risks Factors for menorrhagia
There are quite a few risk factors for this condition and they are:
- Abnormal structure and functions of the reproductive organs
- A family history of colon or endometrial cancer
- Use of blood thinner medication
- Not having children
Signs and Symptoms of Menorrhagia
- Heavy menstruation which requires you to change your pad or tampon every 1 or 2 hours
- Abdominal pains and cramps during menstruation
- Using both pad and tampon or wearing two pads at a time
- Seeing blood clots in your bleeding for more than 1 day
- Waking up regularly at night to change your pad or tampon
When to Seek Medical Help?
You should see a doctor immediately you notice any of the following:
- T whites of your eyes and skin turn yellow
- You have shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, and chest pain
- You have severe cramps and abdominal pains
- You experience nausea and vomiting when on your period
- Your heart is beating faster than normal
- When you feel confused
- Feeling dizzy, especially when you stand
- You feel cold in your hands and feet
- You are constantly tired
- You change your pad every 1 hour
This condition is treatable when the root cause is known, make sure you see a doctor, follow his instructions and take your drugs as prescribed by the doctor.
This condition shouldn’t be taken for granted, it could be a sign that there is an underlying medical condition that needs attention.