Heavy periods are very common among women, they can have an impact on everyday life and that varies from person to person. Heavy periods don’t always have underlying causes, but they are often a symptom of other conditions such as fibroids or endometriosis.
Every woman’s period is different and what may be heavy to one woman may be normal to another.
A good indication that your periods are heavy is if you;
- Are having to change your sanitary products every hour or 2
- Are passing blood clots larger than 2.5cm That’s about the size of a 10p coin
- Are bleeding through to your clothes or bedding
- Need to use 2 types of sanitary products together (for example tampons and pads together)
What causes heavy periods
For many women with heavy periods there is no underlying reason causing the periods to be heavy. However, some conditions of the womb and ovaries can cause heavy bleeding including:
- Fibroids– A non-cancerous growths which develop in or around the womb which contribute to heavy or painful periods.
- Endometriosis– This is where the tissue which lines the womb appears outside of the womb (this is more likely cause painful periods)
- Adenomyosis- where the tissue of the womb lining embeds itself into the wall of the womb
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)- AN infection in the upper genital tract (the womb fallopian or ovaries). PID can cause symptoms like pelvic abdominal pain, bleeding after sex or between periods, vaginal discharge and a high temperature.
- Endometrial polyps– non-cancerous growths in the lining of the womb or cervix
- Cancer of the womb- The most common symptom is abnormal bleeding especially after the menopause
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)- A common condition that affects how the ovaries work. This condition causes irregular periods and will be heavy when they start again.
- Blood clotting diseases
- An IUD (‘the coil’)- This contraceptive can cause your periods to be heavy for the first 3-6 months.
Diagnosis of the causes of heavy periods
Initially we will talk to you during a consultation and look at your history and family history this gives us a better idea of what is needed. If we suspect there are any problems, we will talk to you about further tests. In some cases, we need to do an examination or an ultrasound scan to gather more information and decide on what to do next.
Some common tests carried out are
- Blood test to look for anaemia and potentially other blood tests.
- Ultrasound scan to look at the possibly of fibroids, cysts or polyps
- Internal swabs
- Endometrial sampling
Treating heavy periods
There are lots of different treatment options for heavy periods. The different treatments depend on what’s causing your heavy periods, so choice of treatment is down to the individual and its very often a course of action to discover what is the best. Some treatment options are;
- An Intrauterine System (IUS)- This involves inserting a small device into your womb which contains the hormone progestogen
- Medicines without hormones- These are tranexamic acid or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)
- Medicines with hormones- Such as the combined oral contraceptive pill or progestogen tablets
- Endometrial ablation- A procedure to remove the lining of the womb
- Myomectomy- Surgery to remove fibroids
- Uterine Artery Embolisation- A procedure to shrink fibroids
- Hysterectomy- Surgery to remove the womb
If you are suffering with heavy periods and you are worried why not call us and arrange to talk to someone. We are used to talking about these things and will understand all you are going through.