Cycle Won't Stop? Speak Up
When your monthly period goes from manageable to massive – requiring pads, tampons and hourly bathroom breaks – it’s time to ask for help.
You don’t have to suffer in silence.
Heavy menstruation, known medically as menorrhagia, can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. It’s also completely addressable.
The point at which women should seek medical advice?
“When it bothers them,” said Sami Zeineddine, MD, CHI Health obstetrician/ gynecologist.
For women age 40 and above, a simple hormonal process is often the culprit. At this age ovulation can become irregular, inhibiting the release of progesterone. It’s estrogen and progesterone together which regulate the uterus lining.
“If we do not have that progesterone, the estrogen overflows. The excess of unbalanced estrogen leads to excess thickening of the inside of the uterus or lining of the uterus. That is why we have the unpredictable spotting and bleeding,” Zeineddine said.
Several factors can cause irregular ovulation, such as perimenopause, stress, weight fluctuations, even gastric bypass surgery.
“Those are the common causes and we can treat those with hormones,” Zeineddine said.
Other medical conditions that can cause heavy periods include polyps, cysts, fibroids, adenomyosis (endometrial tissue grows into uterine wall, mainly due to prior pregnancies and uterine surgeries such as C-sections), infections, sexually transmitted diseases, thyroid conditions, pre-cancer and cancer.
All of those possibilities make it imperative to speak up if you’re experiencing irregular or heavy periods.
“We can talk through what’s going on with you, and do further testing if necessary,” Zeineddine said.