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What Causes Heavy Periods and How are They Treated?

What Causes Heavy Periods and How are They Treated?

If you’re one of the more than 10 million women who experience heavy periods, you’re well aware of how much having an abnormally heavy flow can interfere with your daily life. If you’re struggling with heavy menses, the good news is, there is something you can do about it.

The team of women’s health specialists at Ideal Gynecology in Atlanta, Georgia, want women to know that you don’t have to struggle with extremely heavy periods. Schedule a visit with board-certified gynecologist Lillian Schapiro, MD, FACOG, and our team to discuss your options for treating heavy periods

A few days of heavy flow at the start of your period are normal and usually nothing to worry about. However, if you’re frequently experiencing very heavy periods, It’s time to see a doctor.

A variety of things can cause heavy periods. Fortunately, most of these problems are treatable. Because each woman's period is unique, only a doctor can definitively determine the cause of your heavy periods. Here are some of the most common issues that cause heavy periods:

Lifestyle changes

Stress and lifestyle changes can trigger changes in your period. It is usual to experience a heavy menstrual flow after pregnancy, childbirth, or during the menopausal transition.

Birth control and certain medication

Some drugs, notably blood thinners, might cause heavy periods. Changes in your birth control, for instance, the use of a copper or hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) can result in heavier periods for three to six months following installation. 

It often takes a few months for your body to adjust. After a short-term adjustment period, your menstrual flow should lighten. If you notice changes to your period after starting a new drug or method of birth control, consult your doctor.

Hypothyroidism

Your thyroid is a small gland at the base of your neck that controls your metabolism and plays a role in menstruation. When the thyroid fails to produce enough hormones (hypothyroidism), the lack of thyroid hormones can cause heavy periods. 

If you’re concerned about your thyroid, our team can order blood tests to check your levels. Hypothyroidism is common and affects more women than men. Many people who have hypothyroidism are unaware of it, so bring it up to Dr. Shapiro if you’re concerned.

Hormonal imbalance

Menorrhagia can be caused by an imbalance in estrogen and progesterone levels. Some women have elevated estrogen levels and low progesterone levels. This can lead to a thickening of the uterine lining, which often results in heavy bleeding.

Uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths. They range in size from a sand grain to a large mass, and they’re a typical cause of heavy periods.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a painful gynecological condition characterized by abnormal growth of the uterine lining in areas outside of the uterus. This can cause pain and commonly results in heavy periods.

Treating heavy periods

We have several treatment approaches for heavy periods. The one that is right for you will depend on various individual factors. That’s why it’s crucial to speak with Dr. Schapiro about which approach may be right for you. Here are some ways we treat heavy periods.

Minerva® endometrial ablation – Minerva is a surgery for endometrial ablation that can lessen or eliminate monthly bleeding. It involves permanently eliminating the endometrium, or uterine lining, which is the component that causes bleeding.

Hormonal birth control — Pills, patches, hormonal IUDs, and other hormonal birth control methods can regulate your periods. The effects of birth control tend to thin the uterine lining, which can make your periods lighter and easier to manage.

In addition to regulating the length of your cycle and relieving severe cramps, we can use birth control to completely stop your period.

Hormone therapy – When heavy periods are the result of hormone imbalance, hormone therapy may help. Hormone therapy, like hormonal birth control, can thin the uterine lining and lighten periods.

Heavy periods don’t have to impact your life. Talk to your team of compassionate women’s health professionals about treating your heavy periods. Call our Atlanta, Georgia office where a team member is waiting to assist you in scheduling a visit with Dr. Schapiro.

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