When to Seek Help for Heavy Periods

Cramping, mood swings and bleeding all accompany the joys of menstruation. But sometimes, the symptoms are more than you can — and should — have to handle. If your bleeding becomes heavier than usual, this may be a sign of an abnormal period and it’s time to seek help.

According to Sonyoung Seo-Patel, MD, an obstetrician/ gynecologist with ProMedica Physicians, says heavy bleeding isn’t uncommon. The condition, called “menorrhagia,” can be found in various populations of women.

“If a woman goes through more than two pads an hour, she should seek medical attention as soon as possible,” advised Dr. Seo-Patel. Other signs to look for are lengthy bleeding that lasts more than seven days or if you have heavy bleeding that occurs for more than two periods.

Abnormally heavy periods are often due to hormone imbalance that causes menstrual cycles without ovulation. But there are also other common reasons a woman could have heavy periods and these should be investigated. If left untreated, heavy periods can cause iron deficiency which leaves a woman feeling tired and weak.

Menorrhagia can be diagnosed by ultrasound scans or blood tests. If found, the doctor will proceed with treatment based on the patient’s overall health. Treatment could include over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen which may reduce blood loss and relieve painful cramping. Iron supplements can also help boost iron levels and various forms of oral contraceptives can help regulate menstrual cycles and reduce bleeding.

Related: 7 Reasons To See Your Gynecologist Now