What is menorrhagia?

Menorrhagia is a common disorder in women. Menorrhagia is the medical term for menstrual bleeding lasting for longer than 7 days. About 1 in every 20 women has menorrhagia.

Some of the bleeding can be very heavy, meaning you would change your tampon or pad after less than 2 hours. It can also mean you pass clots the size of a quarter or even larger.

Menorrhagia can lead to anemia if not treated. Also, the heavy bleeding can affect sleep, cause lower abdominal pain and make enjoyable activities a burden.

If you are experiencing weakness and a disruption to everyday life due to heavy bleeding, you should ask your doctor for treatment options.

What are the signs and symptoms of menorrhagia?

Signs of menorrhagia include:

  • Soaking 1 or more tampons or pads every hour for many consecutive hours
  • Doubling up on pads
  • Changing pads or tampons during the night
  • Long-lasting menstrual periods (longer than 7 days)
  • Blood clots the size of a quarter or larger
  • Bleeding that is keeping you from doing normal activities
  • Constant pain in lower part of stomach
  • Lacking energy
  • Shortness of breath

What causes menorrhagia?

Menorrhagia can be caused by uterine problems, hormone problems or other illnesses. Other causes include:

  • Growths or tumors of the uterus that are not cancer
  • Cancer of the cervix or uterus
  • Particular types of birth control
  • Pregnancy-related problems (miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, when the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus)
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Liver, kidney or thyroid disease
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (and infection of the female reproductive organs)
  • Taking certain drugs, such as aspirin
  • The menopause transition, also referred to as perimenopause
  • Childbirth
  • Fibroids or polyps in the lining or muscle of the womb

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