Hypermenorrhea is a change in menstruation where the bleeding is very heavy and also lasts longer than usual. The medical term usually used for this issue is menorrhagia.
Most women don’t usually worry about having very heavy menstrual bleeding from time to time. However, hypermenorrhea is different, because it involves a series of symptoms and complications.
It’s usually due to hormonal disorders, endometrial polyps, fibroids, or blood disorders. This is an important health issue, and so, in this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about hypermenorrhea and how to detect it.
What is hypermenorrhea?
Hypermenorrhea is a disorder where menstruation occurs with much heavier bleeding than normal. In addition, it tends to last longer than normal periods (more than 5 days).
Hypermenorrhea occurs during the normal days of menstruation; that is, the menstrual cycle follows the same schedule, and isn’t altered. This makes it even more difficult to distinguish and identify this pathology.
The main symptom of this disorder is, as we’ve mentioned, that the bleeding is very intense. The woman who suffers from it needs to constantly change the pads or tampons she’s using.
In fact, it’s often difficult to control the menstrual flow, even when wearing a tampon and a pad at the same time. This can affect sleep, since women often have to get up during the night to change.
According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s important to keep in mind that hypermenorrhea is often accompanied by other symptoms due to large blood loss. Women often suffer from exhaustion, fatigue, and even difficulty breathing.
Complications of hypermenorrhea
In addition to anemia, hypermenorrhea can cause very painful menstrual cramps. These cramps are so intense that they often cause women to visit their gynecologist.
However, ideally, if you notice changes in your bleeding, or think it’s more intense than normal, you should see your doctor. There’s no need to be ashamed; paying attention to menstruation can help detect many illnesses in time.
What are the causes of hypermenorrhea?
In many cases, it’s difficult to find out the exact cause of this pathology. However, some of the most frequent causes are:
- Hormonal alterations. In many women, hormonal imbalances cause the endometrium, the mucous membrane that lines the uterus, to develop too much. When this membrane comes off, menstrual bleeding is very intense.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome. This is precisely one of the factors that causes the hormonal imbalance that we mentioned.
- Polyps. Small benign tumors in the uterus that make bleeding more intense or prolonged.
- Uterine fibroids.
- Intrauterine device. This is the contraceptive method that we normally refer to as an IUD. Hypermenorrhea may be one of its side effects.
- Cancer of the uterus or cervical cancer. It’s one of the most serious causes but, fortunately, it’s not as frequent. It’s related to the papilloma virus.
On the other hand, blood disorders, such as bleeding or clotting disorders, can also cause hypermenorrhea. Similarly, certain medications, such as anticoagulants, may be part of the problem.
How is it diagnosed?
As we’ve already mentioned, the first thing is to go to the doctor if you have any questions about your bleeding. You’ll have to tell your doctor how many days your period usually lasts and the amount of flow you usually experience.
The gynecologist will probably examine you physically and send you certain complementary tests. Firstly, a blood test is usually done to evaluate if there’s anemia or other blood disorders.
You also usually undergo a test called a pap smear. It consists of collecting cells from the cervix to check for infections or changes that are related to cancer. The ultrasound usually helps the diagnosis.
Treatment of hypermenorrhea
The treatment of hypermenorrhea will depend on the cause and severity of the situation. It can be based on medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that help control the associated pain.
Other medication such as oral contraceptives or oral progesterone may also be used. This study by Dr. Dragoman has shown that oral contraceptives can help regulate menstrual cycles and decrease these types of symptoms.
However, it also has contraindications, so you must consult your gynecologist as to which is the best option for you.
Likewise, there’s a hormonal intrauterine device that releases a substance that reduces the thickness of the endometrium. This will reduce the menstrual flow and cramps.
There are other surgical treatments that can also help. They’re slightly more complicated, so it’s up to the physician to explain all the options to you.
Visiting your gynecologist is crucial: don’t forget!
If you think you’re suffering from hypermenorrhea, don’t hesitate to go to the doctor. Paying attention to your menstruation is one of the basic ways to help you reach a diagnosis and find the right treatment.