Legacy Women's Health


Is heavy menstrual bleeding normal?

Is heavy menstrual bleeding normal?

Women’s menstrual periods vary widely. Some women have shorter, lighter periods, while others’ periods last longer with heavier bleeding. Patients often wonder if heavy menstrual bleeding is normal.

Our San Antonio OBGYNs urge women to make an appointment to determine whether they have menorrhagia, which means having periods that are longer or heavier than normal. Physicians need to determine the cause and treat the problem to avoid other health problems, such as anemia.

How gynecologists define heavy bleeding

How do patients know if they are experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding? Several symptoms signal that a woman may have a problem with heavy periods.

• Menstrual bleeding that lasts longer than seven days
• Soaking through one or more pads or tampons each hour for several hours
• Bleeding that is so heavy a woman needs to wear more than one pad
• Having to get up at night to change tampons or pads
• Blood clots present in the blood that are the size of a quarter or larger

What causes heavy menstrual bleeding?

Underlying health problems cause heavy periods. Here are some of the conditions our experienced physicians look for when making a diagnosis.

• Polyps
• Fibroids
• Adenomyosis, a condition that causes uterine lining tissue to grow in the muscular wall of the uterus
• Ovulation problems
• Certain medications
• Problems with copper IUDs, or intrauterine devices
• Endometriosis
• Bleeding disorders

Ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, pelvic inflammatory disease or cancer may also cause heavy bleeding.

Our San Antonio OBGYNs diagnose and treat menorrhagia

Heavy periods aren’t normal, so diagnosing the cause of the problem is critical to women’s health and quality of life. In addition to taking a thorough medical history and performing a pelvic examination, our team may perform a variety of tests and examinations to diagnose what is causing menorrhagia.

• Ultrasound examination
• MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging
• Hysteroscopy, a procedure that allows our physicians to see the inside of a woman’s uterus
• Endometrial biopsy
• Sonohysterography, a procedure that involves placing fluid in the uterus and taking ultrasound images
• Pregnancy test
• Tests for STIs, or sexually transmitted infections

Once our San Antonio OBGYNs diagnose the problem, they devise a treatment plan. Many conditions respond well to medications, such as hormonal birth control pills. In other cases, patients may need minimally invasive medical procedures or gynecologic surgery to correct the issue.

Heavy menstrual bleeding is abnormal, and it’s important to receive a professional diagnosis and treatment. Contact us for an appointment.