Excessive menstrual bleeding, also known as menorrhagia, is a condition in which you experience heavy and prolonged bleeding during menstruation. Your period may last more than seven days or you may lose more blood than usual. But, what exactly causes menorrhagia and how to deal with this problem? Read more here.
Causes of Excessive Menstruation
Excessive menstruation does not just happen without a clear cause. Heavy blood flow every month can be caused by various factors, ranging from hormonal disturbances to hereditary diseases. In addition, there are also other factors that cause excessive menstruation, including:
1. Hormone Imbalance
Normal menstruation or not is regulated by the hormones estrogen and progesterone in the body. This hormone is responsible for regulating the growth of the uterine lining which will be released during menstruation. If both are balanced, then the menstrual schedule will run normally.
However, if an imbalance occurs, the uterine lining called the endometrium can grow thicker. This causes menstruation to be longer and more blood to come out. Several conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), obesity, insulin resistance, ovarian disorders, and thyroid problems can cause hormonal imbalances in the body.
For example, disorders of the ovaries can prevent the egg from being released when the time comes. This causes the body to be unable to produce the hormone progesterone it needs. As a result, the lining that lines the uterus will grow excessively and cause excessive menstrual bleeding.
2. Uterine Fibroids
Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that often appear in the uterus during a woman's childbearing years. This tumor is one of the common causes of excessive menstruation in many women. Although uterine fibroids are harmless and rarely develop into cancer, not all women with uterine fibroids experience bothersome symptoms. Symptoms are usually affected by the location, size, and number of tumors.
3. Uterine Polyp
Uterine polyps are growths of tissue inside the uterus (endometrium). They vary in shape and size, from round, oval, to the size of a sesame seed, to the size of a golf ball. This condition is generally more common in women between the ages of 40 and 50.
The exact cause of uterine polyps is not known with certainty. However, hormonal changes are strongly suspected of playing an important role. In addition, the risk of developing uterine polyps can also increase in women who are overweight, have hypertension, or who are taking medication to treat breast cancer.
Adenomyosis occurs when cells that should grow outside the uterus develop inside the uterine muscle. These trapped cells can cause cramps and excessive menstruation. Although doctors don't know the exact cause of adenomyosis, the risk of developing it tends to increase as a woman ages.
Endometriosis is a frequent cause of excessive menstruation. This occurs when the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside the uterus itself. Endometrial tissue that has endometriosis will thicken, break down, and shed every time menstruation. This tissue is trapped and cannot leave the body.
As a result, bleeding during menstruation becomes very heavy and lasts longer than usual. Endometriosis can also cause severe menstrual pain, unbearable pelvic pain, and abdominal pain that gets worse over time.
6. Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer occurs when cells in the cervix grow abnormally. These cells grow out of control and damage healthy parts of the body.
Although rare, cervical cancer can be a cause of excessive menstruation. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the cause of about 90% of cervical cancer cases. The risk of exposure to HPV can be increased by sexual intercourse that is too early, changing sexual partners, and using oral contraceptives.
7. Endometrial cancer
Endometrial cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the uterus or endometrium grow uncontrollably, damaging the uterus and other organs. Endometrial cancer or what is often referred to as uterine cancer can generally be detected at an early stage because symptoms include vaginal bleeding outside of normal menstrual periods. Bleeding is also common after menopause. Another symptom that may appear is pelvic pain.
How to Deal with Excessive Menstruation
To deal with excessive menstrual bleeding, proper treatment must be adjusted to the cause. Here are some common methods that are often chosen to overcome these problems:
1. Consuming Drugs
Using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can help reduce menstrual pain and control excessive bleeding. Doctors can also prescribe other drugs that contain the hormone progesterone to treat menorrhagia.
2. Using Hormonal Contraception
Hormonal contraceptives such as birth control pills and hormonal IUDs can help reset the balance of hormones in the body. With the use of this contraception, menstruation can become more regular and the volume of blood that comes out becomes normal.
Surgery is usually recommended if excessive menstrual bleeding is caused by polyps or uterine fibroids that are large enough to cause bothersome symptoms.
Curettage is the last resort if other methods don't work. In this procedure, the outer layer of the uterine wall is removed to reduce the volume of blood that comes out during menstruation.
Hysterectomy is an option to consider in cases of very heavy menstrual bleeding. This procedure involves removing the uterus so that menstruation stops and pregnancy is no longer possible.
Experiencing excessive menstruation is a problem that often occurs but can be overcome by knowing the exact cause. Therefore, it is advisable to see a doctor if you experience a much larger volume of menstrual blood than usual.
Also, it's important to always put on a fresh pad before going to bed, especially if you have heavy periods with heavy blood volume. This will also help prevent unwanted leaks.