Menorrhagia - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Menorrhagia is a condition in which the female bleeds more than normal during periods. The bleeding can be prolonged or heavy. Many women complain about heavy menstrual bleeding, but not every case is of menorrhagia. If you are diagnosed with menorrhagia, you may not be able to keep with the day-to-day activities due to heavy bleeding and cramping. Therefore, you must consult with your healthcare provider, as they may prescribe medications to get rid of these symptoms. If left untreated, menorrhagia can lead to anemia. Moreover, heavy bleeding and pain can affect your sleep and day-to-day activities. 


Anatomy of the female internal reproductive organs


The female reproductive organs constitute the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and vagina.


The ovaries are responsible for producing an egg (ovum) every month and the uterus is responsible for bearing the fetus throughout the pregnancy. The fallopian tubes, also known as oviducts, connect the uterus with the ovaries giving a passage for the egg to come to the uterus. The uterus is connected to the vagina or birth canal-a muscular canal that is responsible for the reception of the penis during sexual intercourse and the provision of a passageway for the baby during childbirth. The vagina connects the uterus to the external reproductive organs.


Symptoms 


The signs and symptoms of menorrhagia are;


  • For many consecutive hours, you need to change one or more tampons in one hour. 

  • You need to double up the pads

  • You need to change the tampon or pad in the night time

  • Periods that last longer than 7 days

  • Blood is accompanied by clots 

  • Heavy bleeding that interferes with your day to day activities

  • Persistent discomfort and pain in the lower abdomen

  • Fatigue and shortness of breath- that can occur due to anemia, due to heavy bleeding


Causes


There can be various causes for menorrhagia. Mostly, it occurs due to hormonal imbalance or other conditions. It can occur due to reasons like;


  • Growths or polyps in the uterus that are not cancerous

  • Cancer of the cervix

  • Cancer of the uterus

  • Taking particular types of contraceptives

  • Recent miscarriage 

  • Ectopic pregnancy -a condition when the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus

  • Having bleeding disorders or deficiency of clotting factors

  • Liver disease

  • Kidney disease 

  • Thyroid disease

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease 

  • Any infection of the female reproductive organs

  • Taking certain drugs, like aspirin that thins your blood

  • Being in the menopause transition also referred to as perimenopause

  • Childbirth

  • Fibroids the womb lining or muscle 

  • Polyps in the lining or muscle of the womb


Complications


Menorrhagia can cause the following complications;


Anemia 


Prolonged and heavy bleeding can cause anemia, that if left untreated, can become a serious problem. Anemia itself can cause the following symptoms;


  • Breathlessness

  • Fatigue 

  • Palpitations 

  • Dizziness 

  • Chest pain 

  • Cold hands and feet

  • Pale skin

  • Weakness 

  • Sore tongue

  • Irregular and fast heart rate


Abdominal pain 


Menorrhagia, along with heavy bleeding, can cause severe pain in the lower abdomen that interferes with your day-to-day life activities. 


Treatment


For heavy bleeding, the healthcare providers may prescribe tranexamic acid or mefenamic acid. 


To get rid of pain, healthcare providers may prescribe over-the-counter pain relievers like naproxen or ibuprofen. 


If menorrhagia occurs due to hormonal imbalance, they may prescribe hormonal therapy to normalize the levels. 


Conclusion 


Menorrhagia is a condition in which the female bleed more than normal during periods. The bleeding can be prolonged or heavy. Many women complain about heavy menstrual bleeding, but not every case is of menorrhagia.


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