Heavy periods – what you need to know

Heavy periods can be incredibly distressing and disruptive for many women. Within the UK one in twenty women will seek medical advice due to this problem. There are many reasons why you may have heavy periods, but in most cases, there isn’t any obvious cause. But if your periods are constantly heavy and causing you pain, discomfort and impacting upon your daily activities, then you need to seek medical help.

What is considered a heavy period?

Abnormal menstrual bleeding would be classed as 80ml or more. The average menstrual blood loss is 35ml. This increased blood loss can lead to anaemia. If you are premenopausal and have regular periods that are heavy, then in most cases this is not associated with any disease. When heavy periods are combined with bleeding between periods, then this may mean that there is a serious underlying condition which will need to be investigated.

The causes of heavy periods

There are many reasons why you may suffer from heavy periods. Sometimes the reason is due to an underlying disease or condition, although half of all cases have no specific underlying cause.

Fibroids are a common cause of heavy periods. These are benign, so non-cancerous, and is when the muscle lining of the uterus becomes thickened.

Endometrial polyps are growths that occur in the uterus wall and are also benign.

Endometriosis is incredibly common and is when the lining of the womb is also found within the Fallopian tubes and ovaries. This not only causes heavy bleeding but extreme pain.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can also result in heavy periods that are usually very irregular.

What else can cause heavy bleeding?

There are other reasons why you may be having heavy periods. These include abnormal hormonal levels, pelvic inflammatory disease, oral contraceptives, blood clotting disorders, and thyroid problems. It should also be noted that endometrial carcinoma, cancer of the womb lining, results in heavy bleeding, although rare it will need to be investigated.

Seeking a diagnosis

A pelvic exam is usually carried out. This examines the cervix and the vagina for signs of bleeding, as well as checking for fibroids and endometriosis. If this test proves inconclusive, then further tests will be needed. These usually include a transvaginal ultrasound, and endometrial biopsy to check the lining of the womb.

If you are concerned about your heavy periods and would like to see a female gynaecologist in London, then Miss Tania Adib who is a Consultant gynaecologist will be able to help you. For further information please do get in touch with us today.