Roughly one of every five women experiences heavy menstrual bleeding, and many of them are unaware that their menstrual bleeding is abnormal. Having a couple of heavy days of flow during your period is normal, but how do you know if you’re experiencing bleeding that is too heavy?
At the Center for Women's Health in Wichita, Kansas, board-certified OB/GYN Sharon Breit, MD, is dedicated to helping women thrive throughout all phases of life.
Endometrial ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that treats heavy menstrual bleeding. Keep reading to learn more about heavy periods and what we can do about them.
How do I know if my periods are abnormally heavy?
You may not realize that your periods are abnormally heavy periods because the heavy bleeding is “normal” for you.
When assessing whether you have heavy periods, consider the following warning signs:
- Bleeding for more than seven days
- Soaking through one or more tampons or pads every hour
- Needing to change your tampon or pad during the night
- Having to double up on protection to prevent leaks
- Missing work or social activities due to heavy bleeding
Of course, the best way to know if you're experiencing heavy periods is to talk to Dr. Breit.
Why do I have heavy menstrual bleeding?
There are many reasons for heavy menstrual bleeding. Because every woman is different, visiting a doctor is the only way to learn what’s at the root of your heavy periods. In some cases, though, there is no apparent cause.
Here, we explain some of the most common causes of heavy periods.
Your body works hard to keep your hormones balanced, but when there's too much or too little estrogen and progesterone, you may experience heavy periods. Hormone imbalances can cause the uterine lining to become thick and your flow to become heavier.
Fibroids are small, noncancerous growths that develop inside the uterus. They can range in size from as tiny as a grain of sand to large enough to cause symptoms.
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue normally found inside the uterus grows outside of it. Pelvic pain and heavy menstrual bleeding are symptoms.
Heavy periods can be a side effect of certain medications, such as oral contraceptives and blood thinners. Even changing from one type of birth control to another can trigger heavy periods.
Don’t accept heavy bleeding as a normal part of your cycle. If left untreated, heavy periods can cause other health problems like iron deficiency and low red blood cell counts.
What can I do about my heavy periods?
If your heavy periods negatively affect your daily life, talk to Dr. Breit about endometrial ablation. This procedure removes a thin layer of the lining of your uterus.
It’s an effective option for women who do not plan to have any children in the future. There’s no cutting involved. Dr. Breit uses small tubes that she inserts into your vagina. There are several ways to deliver endometrial ablation, including:
- Cold (cryoablation)
- Laser thermal ablation
At the Center for Women's Health, we offer endometrial ablation in-office, and it takes about 45 minutes.
It's normal to experience nausea, cramping, and vaginal discharge after the procedure. These symptoms are typically mild and are temporary.
If you’re struggling with heavy periods, call our office or book online to schedule a visit with Dr. Breit. We look forward to discussing how we can help. Telehealth appointments are available. Please call our clinic to determine if your visit is eligible for a telemedicine appointment.