Women have menstrual periods and expect to bleed monthly; however, if that monthly period turns into a blood bath that disrupts your daily routine and makes you feel lousy, this is something that you need to address. Excessive bleeding is not normal and it’s certainly not good on a woman.
According to the Mayo Clinic, menorrhagia (excessive menstrual bleeding) can be caused by a number of factors including dysfunctional ovaries. If you are not regularly ovulating, this can cause hormonal imbalances and result in flooding. When a woman has a menstrual period but doesn’t ovulate this is called anovulation.
Hormones Out of Whack
If something occurs that shifts the hormonal balance, this can cause a woman to bleed heavily. For example, if estrogen and progesterone levels are not where they should be, this can cause the endometrium lining (the uterine lining) to develop to an extreme and then shed (bleeds) profusely, resulting in excessive blood loss. When things are functioning the way they're supposed to and the hormone levels are optimal, estrogen and progesterone work in tandem and regulate the build up of the endometrium lining and it’s doesn’t become excessive, so the subsequent menstrual period is not extreme.
If you have uterine fibroids this can make you bleed too much and for too long. Fibroids are benign (non cancerous) tumors. Occasionally, uterine cancer or cervical cancer can lead to menorrhagia.
Middle-aged women who have already given birth to several children sometimes develop a condition called adenomyosis. When this happens, the endometrium becomes entrenched in the uterine muscle. The uterine lining implants outside of the uterus and can cause severe pain. This hurts and causes excessive blood shedding.
Thyroid Dysfunction and Other Causes
Thyroid dysfunction, particularly hypothyroidism (sluggish thyroid) can cause too much bleeding. If you suspect that your thyroid isn’t functioning correctly—you are fatigued, gaining weight and bleeding too much—discuss this with your physician. Get your thyroid tested. If a woman has endometriosis or kidney or liver disease, this can contribute to heavy bleeding, as can pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Polups, Hashimoto's Disease
Polyps can cause extreme bleeding. These growths attach to the uterus’ inner wall and protrude into the uterine cavity. Polyps can get as big or bigger than a golf ball and are attached to the uterine wall by a thin stalk or a large base. The polyps develop because of overgrowth of the cells in the uterus. Sometimes the polyps, which normally stay attached, slip through the cervix into the vagina and cause prolific bleeding. This condition generally strikes women in their 40s and 50s.
If you are stricken with chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, also known as Hashimoto’s disease, this means that your immune system is attacking your thyroid. Inflammation occurs and renders an under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism), which will have a bearing on how much you bleed.
IUD, Medications, What To Do
According to Blue Cross Blue Shield, the contraceptive device the IUD is associated with excess bleeding. If this is the case for you, have the intrauterine device removed and use a different kind of birth control.
Certain medications, such as anti-coagulants (blood thinners) can cause heavy menstrual bleeding. Anti-inflammatory medicines may also cause you to lose a lot of blood. Sometimes hormonal medications, if not used properly, can result in menorrhagia.
Ask your physician what she recommends for the treatment of menorrhagia. Some women have had great success with Ibuprofen therapy. Others turn to herbal remedies for relief. Do the legwork and find out which treatment option is best for you.