Oakwood Womens Centre

Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

What women need to know about heavy menstrual bleeding

It may be difficult for women to know if they are experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding because they don’t know what is considered normal bleeding. Our Round Rock obgyns tell patients that women usually lose about 35-40 milliliters of blood each cycle, which is equivalent to 2-3 tablespoons full. Typically, women menstruate for between 4-8 days. If a woman is bleeding more than this and/or bleeding for longer than eight days, she should see our physicians. They can diagnose and treat the causes of heavy menstrual bleeding.

How our Round Rock obgyns define heavy menstrual bleeding

Menorrhagia is the medical term for heavy menstrual bleeding. Our Round Rock obgyns would consider one or more of the following symptoms to be signs of heavy menstrual bleeding:

  • Requiring a new pad or tampon every hour for hours at a time
  • Requiring extra protection or a change of pad or tampon during the night
  • The presence of blood clots the size of quarters or larger in your menstrual flow

In addition, women should always talk to our physicians when heavy menstrual bleeding is interfering with their quality of life, or they experience anemia symptoms such as excessive fatigue and shortness of breath.

What causes heavy menstrual bleeding?

Heavy menstrual bleeding is usually caused by anovulation, or irregular ovulation. Additional causes include: the presence of fibroids or polyps, bleeding disorders, certain medications, pelvic inflammatory disease and certain cancers.

How is the problem diagnosed?

Our Round Rock obgyns begin the diagnostic process by taking a medical history and asking questions about heavy menstrual bleeding, followed by a pelvic examination. Our physicians recommend different diagnostic tests and procedures for each patient, including the following:

  • Basic lab tests
  • Imaging services: ultrasound, MRI, or sonohysterography, which is a special type of ultrasound during which liquid is injected into the uterus to identify irregularities
  • Minimally invasive surgical procedures, including hysteroscopy using a thin, lighted instrument to view the pelvic organs

What treatment options are available?

There are a variety of options for treating heavy menstrual bleeding, depending on the cause of the symptoms. Treatment may include:

  • Medications – hormone therapy or hormonal birth control methods, gonadotropin-releasing hormones (GnRH) agonists, or transexamic acid
  • Minimally invasive surgeries – uterine artery embolization, endometrial ablation or myomectomy.
  • Hysterectomy – In cases when medication and other procedures have not achieved results, a woman may need a hysterectomy.

Women do not have to live with heavy menstrual bleeding. Our experienced Round Rock obgyns are here to provide the help women need to return to a better quality of life. Contact us for an appointment.