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Having periods is also known as menstruation and is a completely natural occurrence that starts in young girls around the age of 12. A period is the body’s way of getting ready for pregnancy and while there may be slight variations, a woman’s menstruation cycle occurs every month and lasts between five and seven days. Every month the lining of the uterus will become thicker, with hopes that the monthly egg that is released from the ovaries will be fertilized. When the egg is not fertilized, it signals the body to begin menstruation.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HEAVY PERIODS?
Every woman is different and therefore will experience different symptoms when they are menstruating. Some of the more common and therefore normal symptoms that come with regular periods include abdominal cramps, tender breasts, general body aches, headaches, joint pain, constipation and diarrhea. When it comes to heavy periods, a woman will often experience the same type of symptoms yet magnified. The amount of blood flow is also increased, which can be quite painful as well as alarming.
Additional symptoms include the need to change a pad or tampon every hour, the need to wear more than one pad at a time and having periods that last longer than seven days.
HOW ARE HEAVY PERIODS TREATED?
In order for a woman to ensure that she gets the right type of treatment for her heavy periods, is important that she keeps very detailed notes on her menstruation. This includes when it starts, when it ends, how often she changes her pads or tampons, how she feels during her time of menstruation and anything else she feels will help a medical professional provider with a proper diagnosis.
There are a few different options for treating heavy periods, with the list below containing some of the more common options:
- Taking birth control pills to balance out the hormones
- Having a small hormone-based device inserted into the uterus
- Taking certain prescribed medications
- Removing any existing polyps or fibroids
- Removing the lining of the uterus
- Undergoing a hysterectomy
WHEN TO SEE A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
It is important for any woman who is experiencing a heavy period to make an appointment with a medical professional when they experience the following:
- Blood clots that are the size of a quarter or larger
- Bleeding in between periods
- Needing to change their pad or tampon about every hour or so
- Menstrual bleeding that lasts longer than a week
- Feeling overall tired for no apparent reason or experiencing a shortness of breath
ARE YOU CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING HEAVY PERIODS?
While having periods is a natural occurrence, if you are currently experiencing heavy periods then we recommend you contact us to make an appointment so you can understand the cause. There are many reasons why your periods are so heavy, including having hormonal problems, polyps, fibroids, wearing certain IUDs, taking certain medications and/or experiencing other health problems, i.e. thyroid problems.
The only way you can know for sure is to undergo a full examination. Once the reason for your heavy periods is found, treatment can begin.