Heavy bleeding during periods can be due to a variety of reasons. Correct diagnosis and treatment is required to ward off complications like tumorous growths and other diseases of the reproductive organs.
Here are some common reasons to watch out for that can lead to menorrhagia.
Adolescence is the time when a number of changes affect your body. Hormones play havoc during adolescence and create hormonal imbalance in the body. This could lead to heavy menstrual bleeding. After the first periods, girls normally have heavy bleeding which could go one for several months before the periods are regularised.
This can happen when you are on the road to menopause when again the body has to deal with hormone fluctuations. Hormone problems in menopausal women can be treated with birth control pills. Other hormone related menstrual bleeding can be treated with hormones. Talk to our doctor if you are in these categories and have menorrhagia.
Fibroid tumors are usually harmless and are not cancerous. They are benign growths inside the uterus which are caused to estrogen hormones. Women who are of reproductive age get fibroid tumours that cause excessive bleeding during menstruation. They can be treated surgically or through medication depending on the severity of the problem.
Surgical treatment methods available are hysterectomy. myomectomy, uterine artery ablation, endometrial ablation, balloon therapy etc. Fibroid tumours normally shrink after menopause. So if the symptoms are low in severity, doctors advice for a wait and watch approach before other options are explored.
Polyps in the cervix
Polyps are small growths that appear on the surface of the cervix or inside the endocervical canal which can be seen protruding out through the opening of the cervix. Cervical polyps occur in women of childbearing age. They can cause heavy or irregular bleeding. They can be treated through antibiotics and can be removed through a simple outpatient procedure. Polyps could be the result of an infection in the cervix or a result of increased estrogen levels in the body.
Endometrial polyps though not cancerous are to be taken seriously as they can be due to endometrial cancer or tumours in the ovary. They are growth found on the lining of the uterus possibly due to excessive estrogen in the body due to hormone treatment. Endometrial polyps can also be the result of ovarian cancer. D&C and hysterectomy are procedures undertaken to remove endometrial polyps.
Endometrial cancer results in abnormal cell formation in the uterus or the endometrium, causing damage to organs of the body and uterus. Cancerous formations in the uterus could be due to several causes. Normally women develop endometrial cancer after menopause. Endometrial hyperplasia is one reason that can cause endometrial cancer at a later stage.
Hormone replacement therapy after menopause can also be one reason for development of endometrial cancer. Removal of uterus or hysterectomy is the first step towards curtailing endometrial cancer. This is followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy to ward off recurrence or destroying cancerous cells that are still present in the body.
Pelvic Inflammatory disease
This is an inflammatory disease affecting multiple reproductive organs like the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. PID can be transmitted sexually and also through other ways like gynaecological procedures like D&C, abortion, during child birth intrauterine device insertions etc. which result in bacteria entering the vagina and travelling up the tract causing PID.
Irregular bleeding between periods, severe bleeding, greenish pus like discharge etc. are symptoms that are indicative of PID. PID if left untreated can lead to infertility and complications like scarring of the reproductive organs by formation of adhesions around them. PID can be treated through antibiotics.
Lupus is an auto immune disease and affects several areas of the body like joints, kidney, skin, blood etc. The cause of this chronic condition is not clear. But certain antibiotics like penicillin can trigger lupus. Environmental factors like UV rays are another reason for Lupus.
Lupus can also be triggered if you have hormone related problems and stress. Though there is no cure for lupus, drug therapy like NSAIDS, acetaminophen, immunosuppressive drugs, anti malarial drugs, anticoagulants etc. can control the symptoms and allow the patients to lead a normal life.
Cancer of the cervix occurs when the cells in the cervix multiply uncontrollably causing damage to the surrounding organs and body. The greatest cause for cervical cancer is human papillomavirus (HPV) which is transmitted into a women’s body through sexual intercourse.
Cancerous changes in the cervix can be detected through a pap smear. Though all changes in the cervical lining do not lead to cancer, cervical cancer is the most common type of cancer that kills millions of women worldwide. So if heavy menstrual bleeding persists, consult a gynaecologist for Pap smear tests.
Insertion of Intra Uterine Devices
There are many contraceptive methods that use intrauterine devices as birth control measures. These devices are not suitable for all women. In some women it may cause heavy menstrual bleeding and other symptoms like nausea, vomiting etc. If these symptoms occur persistently, it is advised to consult a gynaecologist for check up and possibly go for an alternative method of contraception.
Von Willebrand disease
This is a hereditary disorder that causes heavy menstrual bleeding and bleeding in other areas like nose, gums etc. Von Willebrand disease is actually caused by the deficiency of von Willebrand factor that helps in clotting of blood. Though most menorrhagia in women are not due to VWD, if there is a hereditary bleeding disorder in the family coupled with all the symptoms of bleeding mentioned above, one has to suspect the presence of VWD.
VWD can aggravate with the intake of NSAIDS and aspirin. Treatment is with medications that increase VW factor and prevent bleeding. Tests have to be undertaken before surgery too in order to prevent heavy bleeding if you are suspected to have VWD.
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