Menorrhagia, commonly known as heavy or prolonged menstruation that lasts for over a week, is a bothersome problem that disrupts your routine activities. The excessive loss of blood that a woman experiences due to prolonged menstrual bleeding increases the risk of developing anemia. Although the cause of prolonged menstruation is often unclear, in several cases it is a sign of an underlying gynecological disorder.
Prolonged menstruation can be effectively treated with hormonal therapy, drugs and supplements. However, the exact treatment depends on the underlying cause of menorrhagia, future conception plans and health condition of the patient.
What Causes Prolonged Menstruation
Overgrowth Of Endometrial Tissues
Excessive menstrual bleeding could be a sign of overgrowth of endometrial tissues. The endometrial tissues that form the inner lining of the womb, in some cases, may develop outside the uterus. Every month, the endometrium sheds, leading to periods.
Heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding occurs when there is excess endometrial tissue build-up. Endometriosis and adenomyosis are two common conditions characterized by abnormal growth of endometrial tissues. Hormonal imbalances may also stimulate excess endometrial tissue growth.
Benign tumors of the uterus that often develop during the childbearing age may cause heavy periods. The growth of these non-cancerous tumors, known as uterine fibroids, is usually stimulated by hormonal changes or insulin-like growth factor.
Hormonal imbalance that occurs when the ovaries fail to release eggs causes prolongedperiod. This condition called anovulation is characterized by absence of ovulation, which inhibits progesterone secretion, leading to excessive menstrual bleeding.
Menstrual bleeding that lasts for more than seven days could be a symptom of uterine polyps. These benign growths in the uterine wall occur due to high levels of reproductive hormones.
In a small number of cases, prolonged menstrual bleeding is caused by ovarian, uterine or cervical cancer.
Heavy bleeding could be a side effect of anticoagulant drugs and certain anti-inflammatory medications.
Prolonged periods are sometimes associated with pelvic inflammatory disease, kidney problems, liver disorder, bleeding disorder and thyroid problems.
How To Treat Prolonged Menstruation
Heavy menstrual bleeding triggered by hormonal imbalance is usually alleviated with hormonal therapy. Oral birth control pills provide relief from heavy periods.
Episodes of menorrhagia stimulated by progesterone deficiency are treated with oral progesterone pills. Intrauterine device containing progestin can be used for thinning the uterine lining, which helps to reduce menstrual bleeding.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Prolonged menstrual bleeding can be reduced with the help of over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
When drug therapy fails to produce the desired result, surgery is recommended to prevent menstrual blood loss. Through surgical procedure, the endometrial tissues are removed to stop heavy bleeding. Hysterectomy is recommended for women experiencing severe bleeding who do not have a future childbearing plan.
Chaste tree or chasteberry is an effective herbal remedy for prolonged menstrual bleeding. By stimulating progesterone secretion, it helps to maintain the normal balance of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Deficiency of vitamins A, B complex and C may disrupt the menstrual cycle, leading to excess bleeding. By strengthening the capillaries and maintaining normal metabolism of estrogen, these vitamins help to prevent prolonged menstruation.