What Are Warning Signs of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding?

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Heavy menstrual bleeding, also called menorrhagia, can happen to nearly every woman during her lifetime. The reasons are numerous and can cause anemia where there are not enough red blood cells in the body. Anemia will cause a woman to feel more tired than usual. The warning signs of heavy menstrual bleeding need to be monitored so that it doesn't become a life-threatening condition.

Defintion of Heavy Bleeding

Menorrhagia is characterized by soaking one sanitary pad or tampon in one hour for several hours during a 24 hour time frame. A period is defined as being too heavy when the bleeding is excessive or prolonged. Bleeding that lasts for more than four days, and has more than four to six tablespoons of blood is defined as being too heavy.

Even though menstrual flow is different for every woman, a normal menstrual flow that is not considered to be menorrhagia usually will have two to three tablespoons of total blood loss.

Warning Signs

The warning signs of a very heavy menstrual flow, or hemorrhaging, are the following: the need for double sanitary protection to control the flow, having to change protection during the course of the night, a duration of longer than seven days, blood clots and continual pain in the lower abdomen. Another warning sign is that the flow is so heavy that it interferes with everyday life.

Other Indicators

Women should watch for severe pain with the menstrual flow. Also of note is if a woman is experiencing heavy menstrual flow and has already gone through menopause. If a woman experiences bleeding during pregnancy, she should seek immediate medical attention. When a woman has monitored her menstrual flow for three or more cycles, and she experiences a heavy flow each time, she needs to call the doctor to schedule a gynecological exam.

Call A Doctor

When a woman has any of the aforementioned symptoms, she should seek medical attention immediately. Soaking through pads or tampons every hour for a few hours is a good indication that the menstrual flow is too heavy, a doctor should be contacted.

Possible Causes

Some of the possible causes for heavy menstrual flow include a hormonal imbalance, uterine fibroids or polyps. Women approaching menopause may experience a hormonal imbalance, and they can have heavy bleeding during their monthly cycles. Young girls may experience a hormonal imbalance due to just starting their periods. Some women have a hereditary bleeding disorder that causes them to bleed heavily.

Normal or Not?

While each woman has a different menstrual flow that she considers normal for her body, when she has the warning signs including a fever and she is in severe pain she needs to contact a health care professional.

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