Heavy menstrual bleeding is common, and while it often affects people during their perimenopausal years, it can develop in people of all ages. While heavy menstrual bleeding may be accompanied by uterine cramping, it often occurs in the absence of other symptoms. Before your gynecologist can recommend a treatment plan for your heavy menstrual bleeding, they will need to determine the cause. Here are some causes of heavy menstrual bleeding and some treatment options to consider if you are affected.
Causes Of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
Certain medications, both prescription and non-prescription, as well as some nutritional supplements may contribute to heavy menstrual bleeding. For example, prescription anticoagulants and regular aspirin can affect blood clotting by decreasing platelet aggregation. When this happens, it may take your blood longer to clot, raising the risk for a heavier menstrual flow. In addition, nutritional supplements such as garlic, which contains an active ingredient known as allicin, can also contribute to heavy periods.
Magnesium oxide is another nutritional supplement that can lead to heavy menstrual bleeding. If you take garlic or magnesium supplements at the same time as aspirin or prescription anticoagulants, uterine bleeding may be heavy and prolonged.
In addition to medications and supplements, a gynecological condition known as endometriosis may also lead to heavy bleeding during your period. Endometriosis refers to when endometrial tissue from the lining of your uterus grows out of control and sometimes grows outside of the uterus. In addition to heavy bleeding, endometriosis can cause severe abdominal pain, backaches, and in extreme cases, infertility.
Treatments For Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
If your heavy menstrual bleeding is caused by medications or supplements, then discontinuing them or reducing the dosage may help. Your gynecologist may advise you to never stop taking your prescribed anticoagulant medications unless you get approval from the prescribing physician. Similarly, if your doctor has recommended that you take a daily aspirin to lower your risk for stroke or heart attack, do not stop taking it without talking to them. Further, if your heavy menstrual bleeding is caused by endometriosis, hormonal treatments may help shrink endometrial lesions, however, if hormone therapy is ineffective, surgery may be recommended to remove the lesions.
If you develop heavy menstrual bleeding, make an appointment with your gynecologist. Once the cause has been identified, your doctor can then implement an effective treatment plan to relieve your symptoms. Not only will your treatment help curtail your bleeding, but it will also help prevent heavy blood loss-related complications such as anemia, weakness, and shortness of breath.