For many women, it is normal to have an irregular cycle where a period may last longer than another or you may bleed more. However, menorrhagia differs from these smaller irregularities. Menorrhagia is a condition where women consistently experience abnormally long and heavy menstrual flows that can affect their ability to complete daily activities. Menorrhagia is usually accompanied by severe menstrual cramps making the combined pain and blood loss difficult to go about life normally when on your period. If menorrhagia is left untreated, it can lead to anaemia (iron deficiency) which can have several negative effects on the body; the main two being tiredness and shortness of breath.
Menorrhagia is most common in adolescence and around menopause. If you find that you dread your period because of extreme menstrual bleeding and cramps, make sure to talk to your doctor to determine an effective treatment method. Your doctor will most likely be able to identify if you have menorrhagia or metrorrhagia, another condition that causes heavy menstrual bleeding. Metrorrhagia is different to menorrhagia as it involves spotting or heavy bleeding between periods. Some women experience menometrorrhagia which is a combination of both conditions.
Causes of menorrhagia
The main causes of menorrhagia are problems or conditions that can affect the uterus resulting in heavy bleeding. These may include:
Symptoms of menorrhagia
If you have menorrhagia, your periods and cramps are so heavy that they affect your ability to complete daily tasks. The below symptoms may indicate that you have menorrhagia if you can identify with them:
Diagnosis of menorrhagia
To diagnose menorrhagia, a doctor may ask you about your menstrual health and contraception. To help identify your condition, you may be asked to track your period by keeping a diary of symptoms that include information on the severity of your bleeding, clotting and cramping. In some cases, your doctor may want to conduct further testing to identify the underlying cause. Some tests to help identify menorrhagia include:
Treatment of menorrhagia
To determine an appropriate treatment for menorrhagia, your doctor will analyse the underlying cause of your condition whilst also considering your age, overall health, and personal preferences.
First line treatments for menorrhagia include:
When medical treatments don’t work or aren’t suitable, surgical treatments may be considered for the patient. These may include:
For cases where cancer or an underlying disease is detected resulting in menorrhagia, your doctor will refer you to a specialist such as an oncologist, nephrologist or hepatologist for further evaluation and treatment.
Menorrhagia affects many women worldwide. If you dread your period every month because of extreme menstrual bleeding and cramps, make sure to talk to your doctor to determine an effective diagnosis and treatment method.
Medical Disclaimer: Articles are intended for informational purposes only and should not be used as the basis of patient treatment. Ask a medical professional if you have any health-related questions or concerns.
Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Menorrhagia. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/menorrhagia
Mayo Clinic. (2022). Menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menorrhagia/symptoms-causes/syc-20352829
Whelan, C. (2021). What is menorrhagia and is it dangerous?https://www.healthline.com/health/menstruation/menorrhagia
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For many women, a typical week on your period can be both emotional and stressful combined with feelings of pain and fatigue. For these reasons, it’s a good idea to have a period survival kit so that if your period comes at that inconvenient time, you’re ready! We have gathered a list below of some of the must haves to help you get through the menstrual phase of your cycle!