What qualifies as heavy menstrual bleeding?
Your OB-GYN at Lievano Perez Obstetrics and Gynecology of Miami may diagnose heavy menstrual bleeding if any of the following are true:
- Your bleeding continues for more than seven days
- You have to change your tampon or pad overnight
- You’re regularly wearing two or more pads at once
- You need one or more tampons or pads per hour for at least several hours in a row
- You’re experiencing large blood clots (quarter-size or bigger)
Many women who suffer from heavy bleeding also have very painful periods.
What causes heavy and painful periods?
There are several possible causes of heavy and painful periods, including:
- Endometriosis: Patches of uterine lining occurring outside your uterus
- Uterine fibroids: Growths within your uterus
- Irregular ovulation: Accumulation of uterine lining that then sheds in large amounts
- Adenomyosis: Uterine lining that grows in your uterine wall
If you’re suffering through heavy and painful periods, the first step toward relief is getting an accurate diagnosis. Tracking your periods closely can help, so make notes about period frequency, duration, and flow levels to share with yourLievano Perez Obstetrics and Gynecology of Miami.
How is the cause of heavy and painful bleeding diagnosed?
Your OB-GYN at Lievano Perez Obstetrics and Gynecology of Miami will discuss your symptoms, your medical history, your medications, and your lifestyle with you to determine which tests could be helpful. Some of the most common diagnostic tools include:
- Biopsy of uterine lining
- Hysteroscopy, a procedure in which your OB-GYN views your uterus via the cervix
- Sonohysterography, in which the uterus is flushed with fluid during an ultrasound
Once your OB-GYN determines the origin of your heavy and painful periods, they can start your treatment right away.
How is heavy and painful menstrual bleeding treated?
For many of the most common causes of heavy and painful bleeding, oral contraceptives can dramatically reduce symptoms. Sometimes other types of hormone therapy may be needed if oral contraceptives aren’t helpful.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists can help by stopping your periods temporarily, but aren’t a long-term solution. Tranexamic acid is an oral medication that can curb heavy bleeding.
If medication doesn’t work, a laparoscopy procedure may help with endometriosis pain and bleeding. An endometrial ablation procedure removes the uterine lining to stop bleeding and pain, but also prevents future pregnancy.