Mr Ayoubi explains the advantages of using Macrolane
Why do women get heavy periods?
In most cases, no underlying cause of heavy periods is identified. However, some conditions and treatments have been linked to menorrhagia, including:
- uterine fibroids
- polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUDs)
- anticoagulant medication
How much is heavy bleeding?
It is difficult to define exactly what a heavy period is because the amount of blood lost during a period can vary considerably between women.
The average amount of blood lost during a period is 30-40ml, with 9 out of 10 women losing less than 80ml. Therefore, heavy menstrual bleeding is considered to be 60-80ml (millilitres) or more in each cycle.
However, it is rarely necessary to measure blood loss. Most women have a good idea about how much bleeding is normal for them during their period and can tell when this amount increases or decreases.
A good indication that your blood loss is excessive is if:
- you feel you are using an unusually high number of tampons or pads
- you experience flooding (heavy bleeding) through to your clothes or bedding
- you need to use tampons and towels together
How can I treat heavy periods?
In some cases, heavy periods do not need to be treated, as they can be a natural variation and may not disrupt your lifestyle.
If treatment is necessary, medication is most commonly used first. However, it may take a while to find the medication most suitable for you, as their effectiveness is different for everyone and some also act as contraceptives.
Surgical alternatives include destroying the lining of the womb with a laser or applying heat treatment to the lining of the womb with hot water in a balloon.
Hyterectomy the removal of the uterus - is commonly performed for heavy periods. These two surgical procedures are only appropriate for women who do not wish to have any more children.
If a diagnosis of an underlying condition is made, then the treatment will be tailored towards that condition. This can be discussed with our gynaecologist at the London Medical and Aesthetic clinic.
What are the other causes of heavy periods?
There are other less common causes of heavy periods. They include the following:
- Fibroids. These are benign (noncancerous) growths in the muscle of the uterus. They often cause no problems, but sometimes cause symptoms such as heavy periods. See separate leaflet called 'Fibroids' for details.
- Other conditions of the uterus, such as endometriosis (see separate leaflet called 'Endometriosis'), infections or polyps, may lead to heavy periods. Cancer of the lining of the uterus (endometrial cancer) is a very rare cause. Most cases of endometrial cancer develop in women aged in their 50s or 60s.
- Hormonal problems. Periods can be irregular and sometimes heavy if you do not ovulate every month. For example, this occurs in some women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Women with an underactive thyroid gland may have heavy periods.
- The intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD, or coil) sometimes causes heavy periods. However, a special hormone-releasing IUCD called the intrauterine system (IUS) can actually treat heavy periods (see 'Levonorgestrel intrauterine system (LNG-IUS)' below).
- Pelvic infections. There are different infections that can sometimes lead to heavy bleeding developing. For example, chlamydia can occasionally cause heavy bleeding. These infections can easily be treated with antibiotics.
- Warfarin or similar medicines interfere with blood clotting. If you take one of these medicines for other conditions, it may have a side-effect of heavier periods.
- Some drugs used for chemotherapy can also cause heavy periods.
- Blood clotting disorders are rare causes of heavy bleeding. Other symptoms are also likely to develop, such as easy bruising or bleeding from other parts of the body.