Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Heavy Periods Overview

Another name for Heavy Periods is Heavy Menstrual Periods.

What are heavy menstrual periods?
A woman with heavy menstrual periods bleeds more than usual, or longer than usual, during a menstrual period. Increased bleeding commonly occurs as women approach menopause. Criteria for heavy menstrual periods include a period that lasts for more than 7 days and a total amount of bleeding during the period that exceeds one third of a cup (80 ml). About 10 to 20 percent of women experience vaginal bleeding that meets the criteria for heavy menstrual periods.

What are the symptoms of heavy menstrual periods?
Symptoms that occur with heavy menstrual periods include pelvic pain and vaginal discharge. Prolonged bleeding in those with heavy menstrual periods may cause symptoms of anemia. Symptoms may include dizziness, faintness, fainting, palpitations, rapid pulse, pale skin, and shortness of breath with exertion.

How does the doctor treat heavy menstrual periods?
Treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding may include hormone therapy, birth control pills, dilation and curettage, endometrial ablation procedures, and hysterectomy.

Continue to Heavy Periods Incidence

Last Updated: Dec 15, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Heavy Periods References
  1. Protheroe J. Modern management of menorrhagia. J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care. 2004 Apr;30(2):118-22. [15087000]
  2. Shankar M, Lee CA, Sabin CA, Economides DL, Kadir RA. von Willebrand disease in women with menorrhagia: a systematic review. BJOG. 2004 Jul;111(7):734-40. [15198765]
  3. Sowter MC, Singla AA, Lethaby A. Pre-operative endometrial thinning agents before hysteroscopic surgery for heavy menstrual bleeding. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000;(2):CD001124. [10796747]
  4. Stabinsky SA, Einstein M, Breen JL. Modern treatments of menorrhagia attributable to dysfunctional uterine bleeding. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 1999 Jan;54(1):61-72. [9891301]
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