Heavy or Irregular Periods Could Mean Something More
Heavy periods or irregular periods are issues many women face at some point in their lives, and when it only occurs occasionally, it is likely not a reason for concern. However, if you routinely experience heavy bleeding on your period or have abnormal bleeding appearing randomly, it could be caused by an underlying condition needing treatment. If you experience heavy periods that lasts for more than a week, you should see a doctor.
Proper Diagnosis Requires Expertise
Diagnosing the cause of heavy or irregular periods takes time and expertise. At Honu Women’s Health, our board-certified OBGYN, Dr. Aya Sultan, is dedicated to investigating possible causes of your heavy periods or irregular periods to properly diagnose its cause. We understand the toll it can take on your lifestyle and will work hard to regulate your cycle so that it is predictable and manageable.
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Reasons for Heavy Periods
There could be many reasons for abnormal or heavy periods. Understanding more about your medical history and lifestyle will help Dr. Sultan pinpoint its cause and recommend appropriate treatments. Potential reasons for heavy periods or irregular periods include:
- Endometrial polyps
- Uterine fibroids
- Uterine cancer
- Bleeding disorders (like von Willebrand disease)
- Conditions related to pregnancy
- Hormonal dysfunction
Diagnosing Underlying Conditions Leading to Heavy Periods
In addition to a thorough examination at your appointment with Dr. Sultan, she will ask key questions to help her understand more about your health. She may also run the following tests to help diagnose the underlying cause of your heavy periods or irregular periods:
- Blood tests (to check your thyroid, check for anemia and how the blood clots)
- Pap test (to check cells from your cervix for abnormalities)
- Endometrial biopsy (to check uterine tissue for cancer or abnormalities)
- Ultrasound (to evaluate the uterus and ovaries)
Possible Treatments for Heavy Periods or Irregular Periods
Honu Women’s Health offers several options that may aid in heavy periods.
Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often the first-line of therapy for heavy or abnormal menstrual bleeding. They can reduce menstrual blood flow and are optimal for reducing pain experienced with heavy flow. Common NSAIDs are aspirin and ibuprofen, which are available over-the-counter.
Birth Control Medication
Birth control pills alone could work successfully to reduce heavy or abnormal menstrual bleeding. Being on the pill both regulates the menstrual cycle and reduces the amount of bleeding experienced. These are two non-contraceptive benefits of taking birth control pills to balance hormones and in turn, make periods more manageable.
Tranexamic acid can also be helpful in treating heavy/abnormal menstrual bleeding. It works by slowing the breakdown of blood clots, which helps to prevent prolonged bleeding. Dr. Sultan may prescribe tranexamic acid for women who are not also using hormonal birth control because it could increase the chance of stroke or heart attack.
Hormones play an important role in menstruation. Many women find that hormone therapy or having a hormonal IUD placed will eliminate or reduce their heavy or abnormal bleeding. A simple saliva test will reveal the levels of your hormones and provide a glimpse into why you may be experiencing heavy or abnormal bleeding. When your hormones are balanced, your abnormal or heavy bleeding may dissipate and other health issues may also resolve.
As a last resort, there are also surgeries that can potentially remedy heavy or abnormal bleeding, such as an endometrial ablation procedure or surgical removal of uterine fibroids. By eliminating these abnormal growths, your body is signaled to stop bleeding heavily or abnormally.
Don’t Struggle Anymore
We encourage you to schedule an appointment at Honu Women’s Health to discuss your struggle with heavy or irregular periods in a comfortable environment where you will not be rushed. At your appointment, be prepared to share information on the history of your menstrual cycle and under what conditions any abnormal bleeding occurs. Your key medical information, including conditions you have been treated for in the past and your prescription medication list, will be important to share. It is important to know if there are serious underlying conditions causing your heavy or abnormal bleeding.
Contact us today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Sultan to determine the cause of your menstrual irregularities and make the first step toward reclaiming your peace of mind.