Heavy menstrual bleeding (also called menorrhagia) is excessive menstrual blood loss that interferes with a woman's quality of life.
In some cases, the cause is not known. However, many conditions have been associated with menorrhagia, such as:
Factors that may increase your chances of menorrhagia include:
- Approaching menopause
Symptoms of menorrhagia include:
- Menstrual bleeding lasting more than 7 days
- Unusually heavy bleeding (soaking through a sanitary napkin or tampon every hour)
- Menstrual flow requiring change of sanitary protection during the night
- Menstrual flow including large clots
- Menstrual flow interfering with lifestyle
- Fatigue and/or shortness of breath (symptoms of anemia)
When Should I Call My Doctor?
Call your doctor if you have symptoms of menorrhagia.
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical examination, including a pelvic exam, will be done. Tests may include:
Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the heavy menstrual bleeding. Treatments may include:
The doctor may advise:
- Hormonal therapy
- An IUD that releases the hormone progesterone
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Iron supplement
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Beverly Siegal, MD, FACOG
- Review Date: 09/2017 -
- Update Date: 09/30/2013 -