6 Heavy Period Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Posted bySarah Handzel, BSN, RN
If you’re like many women, you’ve had problems with your period. You might have periods that are normal one month, and the next month your period is heavier and lasts longer. It’s estimated that up to 10 million women have problems with heavy periods.1 If you’re worried about heavy or abnormal uterine bleeding, it’s important to consult your doctor about your symptoms and treatment options.
If you’re not sure what to ask when you visit to your doctor, here are six questions to get the conversation going.
1. Is My Period Too Heavy?
Every woman is different, but most women have periods that last for five to seven days once a month. In this cycle, bleeding is easily managed and doesn’t cause concern. However, many women have heavy periods. Symptoms can vary from woman to woman and include having a period that lasts more than a week, needing to change tampons every couple hours, using a pad as well as a tampon because your flow is so heavy, or passing blood clots larger than a dime.1
2. What If My Period Is Normal One Month and Heavy the Next?
This happens to some women, but heavy bleeding isn’t normal.1 Even if it only happens occasionally, there may still be cause for concern. That’s why it’s a good idea to check with your doctor if you think you might have a problem.
3. Why Do I Have Heavy Periods?
There are many reasons women can have heavy bleeding, some more serious than others. According to the Mayo Clinic, Heavy bleeding can be caused by hormonal imbalances, inherited bleeding disorders, and certain medications. Some women experience heavy bleeding after they get an IUD, but since every woman’s body is unique, this might not be the cause of your heavy period if you already have one. It’s also possible that your heavy bleeding is caused by uterine fibroids or polyps, which are two types of tissues that sometimes grow in the uterus. More serious causes of heavy bleeding include complications from pregnancy and diseases like cancer.2 If you’re worried about heavy bleeding, your doctor can help you rule out more serious issues.
4. Who Is More Likely to Have Heavy Periods?
There are certain factors that could make you more likely to have heavier bleeding. If you’re over 35 years old, are overweight or obese, have hormonal imbalances, or have never been pregnant, you might be more likely to bleed heavily.3
5. Should I Have Any Tests Done?
If you have heavy bleeding, you might be more at risk for developing anemia, says the National Health Service. This is where you don’t have enough red blood cells to provide your body with oxygen. You might feel tired and weak, especially if you have anemia that’s severe. In many cases, anemia is easily treatable once it’s identified. A simple blood test can show your doctor if you are anemic.4
6. Are There Treatment Options?
Fortunately, there are several options for dealing with your heavy periods, reports the Mayo Clinic. Your doctor might recommend something as simple as starting The Pill, which may help regulate your cycle and lighten your bleeding. Other medications, like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), may help reduce the amount of blood you lose with each period. Your doctor might also advise you to get an IUD, which may be able to help lighten your flow and lessen cramps if you haven’t had an IUD before.5
There are also a number of procedures that could be performed if your doctor decides it’s necessary. Two procedure options are an edometrial ablation or a myomectomy/polypectomy. There are many surgical procedures that your doctor may recommend ranging from major surgery to minimally invasive procedures.
Hologic, the sponsor of this blog, offers the following procedures as a treatment option. The NovaSure® procedure is an example of an endometrial ablation procedure. This procedure removes the lining of your uterus and reduces or even stops the bleeding you have each month.6 An example of a polypectomy/ myomectomy procedure is the MyoSure® procedure. This may be the best option for you if you have uterine fibroids and/or polyps. In extreme cases, a hysterectomy might be recommended, says the Mayo Clinic.5 Any procedure has associated risks, so be sure to discuss the options and their risks with you doctor.
If you’re worried about your heavy periods, it’s time to ask your doctor about your unique situation. Your doctor can help you decide if your symptoms are cause for concern, and then develop a treatment plan that best suits your lifestyle and reproductive goals. You’ve got options, and your doctor can help you decide what your next steps should be.
1FAQs. Change the Cycle.https://changethecycle.com/learn/faq/.
2Diseases and Conditions, Menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding), Causes. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menorrhagia/basics/causes/con-20021959.
3Causes. Change the Cycle. https://changethecycle.com/learn/about-heavy-periods/causes/.
4Iron deficiency Anaemia. National Health Service. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Anaemia-iron-deficiency-/Pages/Introduction.aspx.
5Diseases and Conditions, Menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding), Treatment. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menorrhagia/basics/treatment/con-20021959.
6Got questions? We’ve got answers. NovaSure. Hologic, Inc. http://www.novasure.com/patients/resources/faqs.
- Posted by Sarah Handzel, BSN, RN
- On April 4, 2017