Why is my period heavier than usual?
Achy cramps and a little bit of heavy flow are normal and pretty common experiences for all women. However, what is not normal is the experiences period cycles and flows that hinders or makes you feel so drained of energy that you can not do regular daily tasks with ease.
If your period flow is so heavy that it prevents you from taking up everyday activities, it is not normal period flow.
How to know if my period is heavy?
This question is quite tricky as every woman’s period cycle and flow is different. Judging by ourselves that we have a heavy, light, or normal period is probably next to impossible.
But general information should always be with us, like average women lose around 30 to 40 mL of blood during their menstrual cycle. This is not much loss of blood. However, a woman with a heavy period flow may bleed up to 80 mL, which is unusual.
If this abnormal heavy bleeding during menstruation continues, the person might be suffering from menorrhagia.
Menorrhagia is a medical condition that causes such a heavy period flow that one needs to change their sanitary napkins or tampons within an hour, counting up to five or six a day. Moreover, one might also see larger blood clots than a quarter during your menstruation.
All this is not a standard routine if one is having a normal flow of the period.
If not treated, this condition of menorrhagia can cause severe cramps and even anemia.
As you know, everyone has different intensity of periods, but you are still confused about knowing if your periods are normal; it is best to talk to your doctor as it is highly impractical to measure blood loss.
What causes heavy periods all of a sudden?
If your heavy bleeding is sporadic or is frequently occurring and a question about “why is my period so heavy all of a sudden” is popping up in your mind, here are common reasons for excessive bleeding during menses.
- First Day Heavy Period
First-day heavy flow is quite common among women. And as the last days approach, the flow becomes lighter and lighter. During these days, cramps and period flow is not that severe that it will interfere with your daily activities. Still, there can be other reasons for first-day heavy flow. Let’s review them.
- Change in Medication-
Various medications given for hormonal changes or birth control can intervene with your normal period cycle floe and may cause you to bleed heavily on the first day.
- Birth control changes-
As mentioned above, although changes in the medication can later your period flow, stopping some medications can also affect it. Like, if you have just stopped your birth control, your periods might come heavy for the first few days as your menstruation cycle needs time to adjust to get back to normal flow.
- Sudden Heavy Flow (One month)
Unlike the first-day heavy flow that is common among women, if you suddenly experience a very heavy period one fine month, then it could be because of:
- Non-hormonal intrauterine device (IUD)
If you are on non-hormonal UID (intrauterine device)contraception, then you might be dealing with its side effects. Nevertheless, as time passes, your menstrual flow will become heavy.
A heavy period flow can also be the sign of a miscarriage. When pregnant, one does not get their periods, but sometimes bleeding may occur due to other reasons, including miscarriage. And this is sometimes mistaken as a heavy flow.
There are certain medicines, which, when taken, thins your blood that can lead to heavier menstrual flow and blood flow problems.
- Ectopic pregnancy
Ectopic pregnancy is a medical condition when the fertilized egg gets implanted outside the uterus and starts to develop there. Even though if you test for pregnancy, and it comes positive, it is not a normal pregnancy and can not be continued as one.
Ectopic pregnancy is a severe condition that should be dealt with immediate care and caution. As it is sometimes confused with the heavy period flow, this condition might go unnoticed.
Leaving this condition untreated can cause achy cramps, very heavy bleeding and can even be life-threatening.
- Recurring Painful and Heavy Periods
As we have seen above, unexpected or sudden and the first-day heavy period flows occur due to some issues: medication, a medical condition, or simply starting your periods again after contraception. However, if you are experiencing recurring heavy periods with intense pain or cramps that hinder your daily life activities, these listed issues could be your underlying long-term problems.
In this kind of medical condition, the uterine walls thicken due to the encroachment of the endometrial tissue into the uterus’ muscles. This invasion of endometrial tissue leads to heavy bleeding and intensified pain.
- Childbirth recovery
So childbirth is another long-term cause for heavy flow, which is not unusual. For some women, these changes in the period flow can be for a short time, and they will return to their normal flow, as before they got pregnant. Still, there will be some for whom this alteration in the menstruation flow will be permanent.
Quite similar to Adenomyosis, but different in a way, the tissues, similar to endometrial tissue, begin to develop outside the uterine cavity, giving rise to heavy menstrual bleeding, lower back pain, and painful periods.
Not to be confused with menopause, perimenopause is a transition in which the body transits from the reproductive stage to the non-reproductive stage, turning infertile. This transition occurs before menopause, and sometime during this time, one can experience an unusually heavy period flow due to hormonal changes.
- Certain cancers
Staying alarmed is the best precaution one can take. Although cancer in the ovaries, cervix, or uterus is hardly the sole reason for heavy flow, it could be one of the symptoms, informing you of something being wrong in your body.
- Uterine fibroids
Uterine fibroid is a noncancerous muscle tissue growth that can appear during the childbearing years. It is also known as myomas or leiomyomas and is not highly associated with uterine cancer.
The muscle tissue growth can cause a bulge out into the cavity, occur inside the uterus walls or outside the uterus, or even combine all these three.
Even though it is not a life-threatening condition, but if left untreated, it will keep on increasing in number and size and will lead to excruciatingly painful periods.
- Uterine polyps
Another type of growth that is noncancerous but can be causing you heavy periods or can interfere with your fertility.
The tissue growth occurs in the inner lining of the uterus, the endometrium, where it keeps on growing and stretching inward into the uterus.
- Bleeding disorder
Around 10% to 30% of women have von Willebrand disease, which is a bleeding disorder.
This bleeding disorder is life-long, and the person suffering from it has a low level of blood clot-producing protein, hence, increased menstrual flow and excessive bleeding.
In India, it is pretty common, and roughly about 1 million cases are seen every year.
- Hormone problem
Everything in our body is balanced because of our hormones, and if there exists any kind of disbalance in them, it leads to bodily changes in many ways. For women, one of them is alterations in menstrual flow, the most common one.
Progesterone and estrogen are two primary hormones that play a significant role in period cycles and flow. However, too much estrogen production can cause thickening uterine lining, leading to heavy flow when the lining is shed during the periods.
Another reason for irregular or heavy menstrual bleeding can be hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland).
When should you go to see the doctor?
Consulting a doctor is the first thing that everyone must do if they are in any doubt. One never knows what could be happening inside your body, about which you are unaware.
Yet, if you first want to wait to complete your present period cycle, do look out for these symptoms to discuss with your doctor when you visit them next time.
- If you feel a need to change your tampon or pad after every hour, that means you have a heavy flow.
- Besides, if your period pain is so achy that it prevents you from performing routine activities and has heavy menstrual bleeding, you must see a doctor.
After going through the article, now you must be knowing that it isn’t easy to tell if one is having a heavy or normal period and if there is any reason behind it without a doctor’s consultation.
You must remember that you can do your best for your health by being honest with your doctor. Do not lie or hide any previous underlying disease or disorder. Be open and help the doctor find a solution, or else in some cases, it can even turn into a life-threatening situation.