Top 10 Heavy Menstrual Bleeding Causes and Risk Factors
The monthly cycle that is experienced by women can be a confusing and unpleasant time, particularly if symptoms exist that are outside of the normal expectations of menstruation. A period that lasts longer than it should or one that produces excessive or abnormal bleeding should be evaluated by a health care provider.
There are many risk factors and conditions that can lead to heavier than normal menstrual flow, and we’ve compiled a list of the top 10!
1. Hormonal Imbalance: During sensitive times in a woman’s life such as during adolescence and the early stages of menopause, it’s not uncommon to experience unusual bouts of uterine bleeding. Sometimes this can present as heavy bleeding and while it still warrants a trip to the doctor’s office, is usually not serious. These hormonal changes can also be treated in some cases (although, not in women over 35) with oral contraceptives if you do not have risk factors that make taking birth control pills unsafe.
2. Fibroid Tumors: Women in their thirties and forties may encounter fibroid tumors, those that occur in the uterus and are benign. These can be a cause of heavy menstrual bleeding and are quite common. Surgery is usually not required for these common heavy menstrual bleeding causes and progesterone or other medications are usually employed.
3. Cervical Polyps: Small growths that can occur in the cervix or the endocervical canal are also heavy menstrual bleeding causes. The cause of them is often unknown however they are thought to occur following an infection. Usually, these can be removed in your doctor’s office via a simple procedure.
4. Endometrial Polyps: These normally non cancerous uterine growths are thought to be possibly caused by an excess of estrogen following various types of hormone treatment. They are common amongst heavy menstrual bleeding causes and normally not a cause for concern however will need proper testing and evaluation to determine the best course of treatment.
5. Underlying Health Conditions: Health conditions that are not gynecological in nature can actually be some heavy menstrual bleeding causes that might be overlooked. Autoimmune disorders such as lupus are offenders and people who have other symptoms of underlying health problems should mention these to their gynecologist because they may be contributing to abnormal menstrual bleeding.
6. PID: Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of various parts of the female reproductive system such as the cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes. It can occur both after an STD as well as follow abortion, childbirth or other procedures. It is typically treated with antibiotics, and can lead to heavy bleeding during period days as well as other symptoms.
7. IUD’s: Intrauterine devices are some of the most common heavy menstrual bleeding causes because of their popularity amongst women for use in birth control. For some women, this bleeding can be extreme and some choose to elect removal of the device in favor of other contraceptive methods.
8. Stress: Stress can play a role in many physiological symptoms and is common amongst heavy menstrual bleeding causes. People who experience frequent stress may also encounter prolonged periods or those that are irregular as well.
9. Blood Disorders: Anytime a blood disorder is present that promotes more than normal bleeding, it’s possible for these symptoms to translate into the female monthly cycle as well which can lead to menorrhagia. VWD is one that is common in women and although the condition may not be well-known, it’s known as one of the most common heavy menstrual bleeding causes in women with these conditions.
10. Idiopathic: In some cases, there may not be an identifiable cause to explain menorrhagia. It may simply be normal for some people to have heavier periods than others. In these cases, where heavy menstrual bleeding causes cannot be easily identified, various types of treatment options exist such as using contraceptives to promote a more normal monthly menses. These types of menorrhagia treatment are common for other causes as well and are used in the same way.