On average, your menstrual cycle lasts 21-35 days. A new cycle begins on the first day of your period, and periods typically last anywhere from 2-7 days.
But when it comes down to it, every woman’s period is different. The length of your period, your menstrual cycle, and the symptoms that come along with it vary from woman to woman and even from month to month — but some symptoms simply aren’t normal.
Heavy periods are very common, but only about one-third of women suffering from excessive menstrual bleeding seek treatment. So how do you know if what you’re experiencing is cause for concern?
Samuel Van Kirk, MD, and our team can help. We specialize in gynecology, and we’re here to educate you about what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to your period. If you do have severe symptoms, we offer a range of treatments to improve your health.
Risks of heavy menstrual bleeding
Most women don’t look forward to their monthly periods. With symptoms like irritability, bloating, and menstrual cramps, periods bring plenty of negative side effects. But when your period also comes with excessive bleeding, it has the power to severely disrupt your life.
Signs of heavy menstrual bleeding vary between women, but common indications include:
- Periods lasting longer than seven days
- Changing pads or tampons every hour
- Changing pads or tampons during the night
- Wearing several pads at a time
- Passing blood clots larger than a quarter
If you experience any of these symptoms, make an appointment with Dr. Van Kirk. Heavy periods are bothersome, but what’s worse is that they could also indicate an underlying health issue.
A few common gynecologic conditions that may cause heavy menstrual bleeding include:
Ignoring heavy bleeding could mean ignoring a condition that’s affecting your reproductive health, fertility, and your overall wellness. In some cases, heavy bleeding may indicate ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, or early-stage endometrial cancer.
Treatment for heavy periods
Don’t ignore the signs of abnormally heavy periods. There’s no need to suffer through excessive bleeding each month, and doing so could have a lasting impact on your health. Instead, make an appointment with Dr. Van Kirk and the team because we can help.
We begin by reviewing your symptoms. If you can, track your menstrual cycles, periods, and symptoms for a few months before coming in for your appointment. Our team may perform a pelvic exam, along with an ultrasound or hysteroscopy to examine your uterus and other reproductive organs if necessary.
Depending on your diagnosis, we recommend a treatment plan that’s right for you. Hormonal birth control can be effective in managing severe period symptoms, and it can help regulate ovulation if you have a condition like endometriosis or PCOS.
More serious causes may require minimally invasive surgery, such as endometrial ablation. Your chances of getting pregnant after undergoing one of these treatments is greatly reduced, so we generally recommend trying other options first if you want to get pregnant in the future.
Ignoring heavy periods could put your health at risk. If you suspect your period symptoms are abnormal, get an expert diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan from Dr. Van Kirk. Call our Redding, California, office at 530-242-4129 or send us a message today.