Every woman, from time to time has experienced an unusually heavy cycle or two. But doctors define menorrhagia as heavy bleeding, maybe even accompanied by severe cramps, as so intense that day to day life is disrupted. On the other hand, it is important to remember that what is normal for one woman, may not be for you. Normal periods for some are regular or irregular, light or heavy, painful or not or even long or short as indicated by the Mayo Clinic.
But if you are experiencing some or all of the following symptoms, it may be time to check with your doctor:
Menstrual flow that soaks through one or more sanitary pads or tampons every hour for several consecutive hours
The need to use double sanitary protection to control your menstrual flow
The need to change sanitary protection during the night
Menstrual periods lasting longer than seven days
Menstrual flow that includes large blood clots
Heavy menstrual flow that interferes with your regular lifestyle
Tiredness, fatigue or shortness of breath (symptoms of anemia)
But what causes it?
Now that we know what menorrhagia is, it was equally important to know what causes it. The Mayo Clinic lists the following common causes:
Hormonal imbalance - In a normal menstrual cycle, a balance between the hormones estrogen and progesterone regulates the buildup of the lining of the uterus (endometrium), which is shed during menstruation. If a hormonal imbalance occurs, the endometrium develops in excess and eventually sheds by way of heavy menstrual bleeding.
Dysfunction of the ovaries - Lack of ovulation may cause hormonal imbalance and result in menorrhagia.
Uterine fibroids - These noncancerous (benign) tumors of the uterus may cause heavier than normal or prolonged menstrual bleeding.
Polyps - Small, benign growths on the lining of the uterine wall (uterine polyps) may cause heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding.
Adenomyosis - This condition occurs when glands from the endometrium become embedded in the uterine muscle, often causing heavy bleeding and pain.