Woman experiencing severe cramps from an irregular period

When to Worry About Irregular Periods

Those with fibroids and heavy, irregular periods may experience bleeding that lasts longer than eight days, with more than two to three days of heavy bleeding at the outset. In addition to blood clots in your flow, fibroids can cause spotting in between periods.

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It’s important to track the length and heaviness of your period, along with other related symptoms. If something changes from your typical bleeding, you should consult a physician immediately. Keep reading to learn more about the reasons for irregular periods and why fibroids cause heavy bleeding.

Why Do Fibroids Cause Heavy Bleeding and Irregular Periods?

If you have fibroids, you may be wondering, why is my period irregular? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not entirely understood. However, here’s what we do know. Because fibroids are connected to your uterine lining, the pressure of the fibroid(s) against the uterine wall can cause the endometrial tissue to bleed more than it normally would.

At the time of your menstrual period, the uterine lining sheds and the uterus has two basic mechanisms to stop itself from bleeding. The first is the normal blood-clotting mechanism that works throughout the body by forming plugs within the blood vessels. Because the uterus is a muscle, it also has the unique ability to contract the bleeding vessels of the uterus. These contractions are what you may experience as menstrual cramps.

It is believed that fibroids don’t allow the uterus to contract properly, so it isn’t able to effectively stop menstrual bleeding. Another issue is fibroids produce growth factors (proteins) that stimulate the blood vessels of the uterus and cause more blood in the uterine cavity, leading to heavier and irregular periods.

Fibroids and heavy bleeding during periods can potentially cause anemia (iron deficiency). If you’re feeling tired or worn out most of the time and suspect you may be anemic, contact your doctor immediately. Also, if your irregular periods are causing you mental or physical discomfort, it’s important to get checked for uterine fibroids or other underlying uterine conditions.

When to Worry About Heavy Menstrual Bleeding Causes

Since a normal period is considered to be up to seven days, anything longer than that may be cause for concern. If this issue occurs for six months or longer, you should see a doctor. If you have a heavy flow that requires you to change your pad or tampon every two hours or sooner multiple times, you may want to let your doctor know. Blood clots that are the size of a quarter or even larger should be checked out as well.

Why Do Fibroids Cause Heavy Bleeding and Irregular Periods?

Fibroids can grow in different areas of the uterus. Those that grow in the middle layer of the uterus and against the inner layer, which is the endometrium, are the ones that cause the heaviest bleeding. When the endometrium sheds, it causes bleeding, which is normal. However, the endometrium can become thicker with fibroids, which causes more bleeding. The blood vessels are also feeding the fibroids to give them nutrients to grow. This also can increase the amount of blood during your period.

What is Considered Heavy Menstrual Bleeding?

A healthy period typically lasts between 3-8 days, with a heavier flow the first two days that increasingly becomes lighter.

Women with healthy periods may also experience limited spotting, cramps that ache but can be controlled by over-the-counter pain medications, and/or bloating that goes away once your period is over.

Abnormal Periods or Fibroids Bleeding

Abnormal bleeding, such as the bleeding that occurs with fibroids and heavy periods, often lasts more than 10 days per month. This fibroid symptom involves persistent bleeding between cycles, which can severely impact your quality of life.

Abnormal bleeding, or irregular periods, can be considered missing three or more periods in a row, or periods that occur less than 21 days or more than 35 days apart from each other. Some women also experience fibroid bleeding every day. Another indication of an abnormal period is bleeding through multiple pads and tampons in a short amount of time.

Other Heavy Menstrual Bleeding Causes

There are, of course, other causes of irregular periods besides fibroids, including several health conditions that might be involved. In addition to those listed below, you should be aware that certain lifestyle factors, like too much stress or excessive exercise, can also impact your menstrual flow and cause irregularities.

Aside from uterine fibroids, other potential reasons for irregular periods include:

Pregnancy: Some pregnant women may experience bouts of light bleeding, especially towards the beginning of their pregnancy. If the pregnancy is unknown at the time, this bleeding can easily be mistaken for irregular periods.

Having an IUD: If you’ve recently had an intrauterine device (IUD) placed, you may have noticed a change in your menstrual bleeding. Some women experience abnormal periods, or none at all, as a result of an IUD.

Using or changing birth control pills: Similar to the IUD method, birth control pills can affect your menstrual flow. Depending on the type of pill, you may experience lighter bleeding overall, or skip your period altogether. 

Medications: Taking certain medications can affect menstrual bleeding and be a reason for irregular periods. If you are concerned about any changes in your cycle after starting a new medication, be sure to contact your doctor.

Thyroid issues: If you have an overactive or underactive thyroid, you may experience irregular periods. Treatment for your thyroid condition can help allow healthy periods to return.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): This women’s health condition is often confused with uterine fibroids because it also involves hormones and can cause similar symptoms, including irregular periods.

It is important not to make any health assumptions or self-diagnose potential causes of irregular periods. Visiting your doctor is the only way to receive an accurate medical diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Fibroids Bleeding During Pregnancy Trimesters

While it isn’t unusual to have some light spotting when you’re pregnant, continued bleeding can be cause for concern. Fibroids can continue to grow during pregnancy, often increasing in size even faster due to the extra hormones produced. There is also an increased risk of bleeding during your pregnancy. Some women think that they are having a miscarriage due to the amount of blood loss.

Essential Items Needed for Handling Fibroids and Bleeding

For many, forgetting pads, tampons, or Ibuprofen may just be a small inconvenience at work or during a night out, but for others –– especially those with uterine fibroids –– this could mean canceling plans in order to rush home. To avoid such a scenario, we recommend creating a period survival kit to keep on hand at all times.

Period survival kit

Additional Symptoms Caused by Uterine Fibroids

Although some fibroids don’t cause any symptoms, the effects of uterine fibroids can be problematic for many. Fibroids have the potential to cause painful, unpleasant, and inconvenient symptoms that include:

  • Heavy or prolonged menstruation
  • Anemia-induced fatigue
  • Pelvic or lower back pain
  • Constipation
  • Stomach bloating
  • Frequent urination
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Severe cramps or pelvic pressure

If you’ve noticed changes that impact your daily life, it’s crucial to contact your doctor. When experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, you should consider consulting a fibroid specialist.

We aim to educate patients on a non-surgical procedure that can effectively shrink fibroids and reduce symptoms. When it comes to treatment for fibroids and heavy periods, USA Fibroid Centers can help.

Stop Fibroids Heavy Bleeding with Treatment

We have dozens of fibroid treatment clinics across the U.S., in 16 states. We specialize in a non-surgical, outpatient procedure called Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE).

UFE is a great less-invasive alternative to fibroid removal surgery. Our team of specialists and physicians have extensive experience utilizing minimally invasive techniques for the treatment of uterine fibroids. That means you can always feel good about getting uterine fibroid treatment from us.

During a UFE procedure, a tiny catheter goes into the uterine artery that supplies blood to the fibroid. The doctor then injects small particles through the catheter to block blood flow to the fibroid. This causes the fibroid tumor to shrink and eventually die.

After UFE, a majority of patients recover within one to two weeks and experience a lighter and shorter menstrual cycle in the future.

Other benefits of UFE include:

  • Preservation of the uterus and ovaries
  • Doesn’t impact fertility
  • No hospitalization is required
  • Treatment does not interfere with hormones
  • Brings quick, effective relief of fibroid symptoms
  • Does not require general anesthesia or stitches
  • Involves lower risks when compared to surgery procedures

Prevent Bleeding from Fibroids at USA Fibroid Centers

If you are experiencing symptoms from fibroids and irregular periods, we may have a solution for you. Call us at 855.615.2555 to learn more about USA Fibroid Centers and Uterine Fibroid Embolization and schedule an appointment today. For your safety and convenience, we are now offering you a choice of telemedicine or in-office consultations. We look forward to hearing from you!

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