Menstrual bleeding: causes, symptoms and solutions
When you have hemorrhagic or heavy periods, you spend a few days a month in discomfort, even in the cabbage. Fortunately, there are solutions to solve this problem or better live with it. But we must first understand the causes and rule out any risk of undetected disease.
Where does menstrual blood come from?
Bleeding during menstruation comes from the uterine lining which renews itself at the end of the cycle, when there has been no fertilization after ovulation. This periodic mechanism starts at puberty and stops with menopause.
In theory, the menstrual cycle lasts 28 days. In practice, under the influence of hormones, it is not uncommon for the length of the cycle to be different from month to month and from woman to woman. As for the duration and volume of menstruation, it's the same thing: everything is variable. But, in general, we agree that the "normal" duration is between 3 and 6 days, while the "normal" volume of bleeding is below 80 ml.
When periods exceed this duration or these quantities (or both), menorrhagia (bleeding during menstruation in women of childbearing age, outside of pregnancy) may be present.
Hemorrhagic periods, but how much?
We speak of heavy periods or hypermenorrhea when the amount of blood evacuated during menstruation exceeds 80 ml, the equivalent of a coffee cup.
If the duration of bleeding exceeds 6 days, then we speak of hemorrhagic periods or menorrhagia.
If bleeding occurs outside of menstruation, it is called metrorrhagia. When bleeding occurs throughout the menstrual cycle (during and outside the menstrual phase), it is called menometrorrhagia.
To calculate your flow, you can refer to the Higham score with an easy-to-use table. During a cycle, you will report, among other things, the time in hours before each change of sanitary pad or tampon (be careful, never exceed 4 hours for internal protection to avoid the risk of toxic shock ). Each towel or tampon corresponds to a number of points. At the end of menstruation, the number of points is counted.
If the Higham score is greater than 100 points, the bleeding is greater than 80 ml. We're dealing with a case of menstrual bleeding.
If the Higham score is greater than 150, we are facing a case of menstrual bleeding requiring medical care.
While completing your table, don't hesitate to also observe if your bleeding contains blood clots.
Hemorrhagic rules: is it worrying for my health?
Hemorrhagic periods can cause a decrease in red blood cells, which fix iron in the blood and allow the transport of oxygen. This is an iron deficiency anemia (anemia due to a drop in iron stores). This iron deficiency leads to fatigue, migraines, dizziness and even shortness of breath. It is indeed a disorder of the menstrual cycle. Added to this are the pain caused by menstruation. But if the causes and consequences of heavy bleeding are generally not serious, they can be symptoms of an undetected health problem (ectopic pregnancy, endometrial infection, benign tumours, etc.). It is therefore imperative to talk about your cycle problem with your gynecologist.
Why are my periods heavier than average?
Most often, menorrhagia is due to a hormonal imbalance. This may be an excess of estrogen or a deficiency of progesterone, or both. These causes are frequent in adolescence and then in menopause.
But there are other possible factors:
- wearing a copper IUD (IUD), especially the first 6 months;
- taking blood thinners;
- a blood clotting abnormality;
- the consequences of a miscarriage;
- the absence of ovulation;
- a lesion of the uterine lining such as endometriosis;
- a fibroid, cyst or polyp located in the uterine cavity causing bleeding;
an ectopic pregnancy in more rare cases.
Menorrhagia: can it be treated?
Yes, living with hemorrhagic periods is not inevitable. Many solutions can reduce bleeding and increase comfort.
First, your doctor or gynecologist will ask you about your symptoms. Then, he will certainly proceed to an ultrasound or a uteroscopy to check the causes of these hemorrhages. When the diagnosis is made, several treatments may be considered.
In the event of a hormonal imbalance, the simplest solution will be to take appropriate contraception, such as an estrogen-progestogen pill or a hormonal IUD, or even a supply of progesterone-type hormones. In the event of a fibroid, polyp or cyst, a celioscopy-type surgical operation will allow its removal. In case of endometriosis , menstruation can be suppressed chemically to put the body at rest for a while. In the event of menopause, if you are on hormone-based treatment: the gynecologist will interrupt the THM (hormonal treatment for menopause) initially in order to readjust it later.
To reduce the abundance of bleeding, your gynecologist may still prescribe anti fibrinolytics, drugs that regulate blood clotting. If this fails, a surgeon may suggest an endometriectomy, i.e. an abrasion of the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) or a surgical resection to reduce the volume of your menstruation.
In any case, you will be prescribed iron if you have a deficiency to regain maximum energy!
What protection to choose in case of heavy or hemorrhagic periods?
Towel, tampon, cup or menstrual panties: to cope with heavy or hemorrhagic periods, it is better to be well protected! At SMOON, we are 100% for menstrual panties! For what ? Because it is made of an OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 material (certifying the absence of harmful chemical substances for the planet or your health) guaranteed leak-proof, anti-humidity, anti-odor and that it can absorb between 15 and 20 ml of blood. If the abundance of your bleeding has no serious pathological origin or significant consequences (apart from the obligation to change sanitary protection frequently), investing in menstrual panties will change your life. It's possible to feel comfortable even during bleeding periods!