Why You Shouldn't Ignore a Heavy Period

Normal menstrual periods last up to about a week and require a new tampon or pad every few hours or so. But heavy periods can continue for more than seven days and can cause so much bleeding that you sometimes have to replace your tampon or pad as often as every hour. And if you don’t get up during the night to change your tampon or pad, you bleed into your sheets.

For sure, heavy periods can be an annoyance, causing you to miss work and deal with the fear of embarrassing accidents. But they can be more than just an inconvenience. For some women, heavy periods signal a potentially serious medical problem that requires treatment.

If you endure heavy menstrual bleeding, keep reading. Lauren Rubal MD, a fellowship-trained reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist, would like to share some important information with you about why you shouldn’t ignore heavy periods.

About heavy periods

Heavy menstrual bleeding is fairly common. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, about a third of women seek medical treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding.

Your periods are considered heavy when they last eight days or more, you need a new pad or tampon every hour or two for several hours in a row, or you pass blood clots larger than about an inch in diameter.

Dizziness, fatigue, or lightheadedness can occur as a result of heavy periods if they cause anemia, a condition in which blood loss leads to low levels of iron in your body.

Causes of excess bleeding

Heavy periods can be caused by a range of medical conditions, including the following:

Uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths that occur within the muscular walls of your uterus. In addition to heavy periods, they can cause pain and may interfere with successful pregnancy.

Irregular menstruation

If you have irregular menstruation, you may experience heavy bleeding, or you may sometimes skip your periods. In addition, your periods may cause excessive cramping or pain.

Problems with ovulation

If your ovaries don’t release eggs (ovulate) on a regular basis, you may experience irregular periods. When you do have a period, it may be heavier than normal.

Uterine polyps

Like uterine fibroids, uterine polyps are growths in your uterus that can cause a variety of symptoms, including heavy menstrual bleeding.


This is a condition that occurs when endometrial tissue from inside your uterus grows in places where it shouldn’t, such as the outside of your uterus or on other abdominal organs. It can cause pain, abnormal bleeding, and infertility.

Bleeding problems

Bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia and other inherited blood conditions, can contribute to excessive menstrual bleeding. 

Thyroid disorders

Your thyroid helps regulate various body functions, and if it’s not working as it should you may experience abnormal bleeding.

Treating heavy periods

Dr. Rubal is extensively trained to diagnose and treat the various conditions that cause heavy periods. Treatments may include medication, hormonal birth control pills, or surgical procedures.

If you’re experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding, Dr. Rubal can provide you with a full evaluation and a customized treatment plan that can help alleviate excessive bleeding and relieve related symptoms. If you’re having trouble getting or staying pregnant, Dr. Rubal can help identify the reason and provide optimal treatment for your infertility. 

Don’t wait any longer to have your heavy periods evaluated. Make an appointment with Dr. Rubal at our office in Newport Beach, California, today by calling 949-415-6704 or using our handy online scheduling tool.


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