Irregular, Heavy, Abnormal Periods Q & A
What are Abnormal Periods?
Abnormal periods may include heavy periods which are defined as those where abnormal bleeding occurs, about 80 cc or over 5 tablespoons. The major concern with heavy bleeding is the increased risk of developing anemia. While heavy or irregular bleeding during menstruation is not typically a sign of a serious illness in most women, those experiencing these symptoms over the age of 40 could be suffering from cancer of the endometrium or lining of the uterus. Abnormal periods may be characterized by irregular bleeding. Which is defined as an unpredictable or fluctuating menstrual cycle. Many factors can contribute to irregular periods including age, use of oral contraceptives, thyroid disease, and practically any chronic illness.
What Causes Abnormal periods?
The overall health of a woman can greatly impact her period in terms of irregular cycles and heavy bleeding. Abnormal periods can be caused by a variety of issues or nothing at all. Some of the most common issues that cause irregular periods include:
- Thyroid disease
- Polycystic ovary syndrome - Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is caused by a hormonal imbalance that results in enlarged ovaries that get covered in small cysts. PCOS symptoms can also include:
- Abnormal periods
- Excessive hair growth
- While the cause of PCOS is unknown, it is one of the most common contributors to infertility. It’s often treated with medication. Birth control pills are used to regulate periods, while other medications are given to prevent diabetes and regulate cholesterol.
- Fibroids - A fibroid is a muscular tumor which occurs in the uterine wall and is typically benign. Many time the fibroids can be treated with a hysteroscopy or laparoscopic procedure where the fibroid is frozen or electrically destroyed. However, some fibroids may need to be removed completely and the lining of the uterus or the uterus itself may need to be removed.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Endometriosis - Endometriosis is a common disorder where the tissues that line the uterus begin to grow outside the uterus, including on the:
- Fallopian tubes
- This disorder is known for causing heavy, irregular periods and pain in the abdominal area. Although it’s treatable with hormones and excision surgery, it’s often considered a chronic disease, as it may return regardless of treatment. If you’re suffering from abnormal periods, PCOS, or endometriosis, contact Dr. Noreen Mostafavi to schedule an appointment online today.
- Endometrial polyps
- Blood clotting disorders
- Sometimes, especially when menstruation first starts in young girls, and periods are often irregular during the early parts of menopause. This is normal.
- Being under a lot of stress can also cause periods to become abnormal, as can extreme exercise.
How are abnormal periods treated?
Treatment for irregular or heavy periods traditionally begins with the use of anti-inflammatory medications prior to and during menstruation and can reduce blood loss approximately 30% on average. Oral contraceptives, or birth control pills, can also help to reduce the bleeding and make periods more regular as well. If the above actions are not helping or if child bearing is complete or unwanted, hormonal treatments are commonly used in addition to a procedure which removes or thins the lining of the uterus, endometrial ablation, or a hysterectomy can be performed which removes the uterus altogether.
Dr. Noreen Mostafavi determines the most effective course of treatment by considering:
- Your age
- Your health history
- What’s causing your abnormal periods
- If you are planning on having more children
- The amount of distress caused by your abnormal periods
- Depending on your needs, a hormonal treatment to regulate your periods may be recommended. This is often accomplished with birth control pills, which get your periods on a schedule and often make them lighter.
If your periods are abnormal, schedule an appointment online today with Dr. Noreen Mostafavi to determine if your irregular periods need treatment or are insignificant.