Menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding)

Menorrhagia is the medical term for menstrual periods with abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding. Although heavy menstrual bleeding is a common concern among premenopausal women, most women don't experience blood loss severe enough to be defined as menorrhagia.

With menorrhagia, every period you have causes enough blood loss and cramping that you can't maintain your usual activities. If you have menstrual bleeding so heavy that you dread your period, talk with your doctor. There are many effective treatments for menorrhagia.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications

The signs and symptoms of menorrhagia may include:

  • Soaking through one or more sanitary pads or tampons every hour for several consecutive hours
  • Needing to use double sanitary protection to control your menstrual flow
  • Needing to wake up to change sanitary protection during the night
  • Bleeding for longer than a week
  • Passing blood clots with menstrual flow for more than one day
  • Restricting daily activities due to heavy menstrual flow
  • Symptoms of anemia, such as tiredness, fatigue or shortness of breath

When to see a doctor

Seek medical help before your next scheduled exam if you experience:

  • Vaginal bleeding so heavy it soaks at least one pad or tampon an hour for more than a few hours
  • Bleeding between periods or irregular vaginal bleeding
  • Any vaginal bleeding after menopause

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