Every woman knows that it can be frustrating dealing with your period. Every month you have to deal with discomfort and with bleeding. The good thing about periods is that they usually end after a couple of days. The length of time can vary from woman to woman. Some women have periods that last three days. Other women have periods that last a week.
Some women have very regular periods that last the same length of time each month, and some women have very irregular menstrual cycles. We get used to our own menstrual cycles, but what should you do when your period is unusually heavy or doesn’t seem to stop?
There are many possible explanations for a period that doesn’t stop. Some are more serious than others. It is
always a good idea to see your gynecologist if you are having a problem. One good rule of thumb is to start by calculating the amount of blood you are losing. A woman will shed about 40ml of blood during a period and concludes within a week.
If you are shedding more than 80ml of blood and you have been bleeding for more than eight days, you may be experiencing abnormal uterine bleeding. You can measure blood loss by the number of pads or tampons you go through in a day and how frequently you need to change them.
Here we will break down some of the more common causes of continuous heavy bleeding.
- Medications, birth control, and hormone replacement therapy. A wide variety of prescription medications and hormonal birth control (including intrauterine devices) can cause heavy bleeding.
- Ectopic pregnancy (when a fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tubes and not the uterus) and miscarriages.
- Infections such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and chlamydia
- Fibroids, tumors, and polyps
- Uterine cancer
- Endometriosis (when the cells that normally line the uterus travel and grow outside the uterus)
Bleeding disorders such as leukemia
Hormonal disorders like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and hypothyroidism
Ovulatory dysfunction (when the ovary does not release an egg every month)
The list above is admittedly a scary one, but there are a variety of medical treatments for those conditions.
Depending on the diagnosis, your doctor may be able to help you by changing your medication or birth control. Your doctor may also want to intervene surgically by doing a dilation and curettage (D&C), a procedure in which they scrape the lining of the uterus. Or they may recommend surgery to remove a tumor, fibroids, or polyps. In extreme cases, your doctor may recommend a hysterectomy or removal of the uterus.
While it is important to listen to your doctor and follow any medical or surgical advice that they give you, it is also possible to take some steps on your own to help your situation. To begin with, there is the usual advice.
You should try to eat a healthy, balanced diet, drink enough water, get regular exercise, and enough sleep. High doses of vitamin C have been known to help with heavy bleeding, and herbal teas are a traditional cure for bleeding.
Some herbs like yarrow, raspberry leaf, and coriander can be included in tea; someone with experience in herbal remedies can help you with that. Natural progesterone cream is another good remedy for heavy bleeding that has gone on for many weeks. Over the counter NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve), can also help alleviate pain and reduce blood loss. Injections of progestogens such as Depo-Provera also help to stop bleeding.
Naturally you should consult your doctor about any non-prescription therapies you try. Armed with this information on the potential causes and remedies for abnormal uterine bleeding, you can begin a discussion with your doctor that will help find a way to stop the bleeding.