What Is Menorrhagia, and What Is the Connection with Fibroids?
According to the CDC, menorrhagia is menstrual bleeding that lasts more than seven days and/or is abnormally heavy, which is considered irregular.
Menorrhagia and fibroids often go hand-in-hand, because fibroids can cause heavy bleeding and prolonged periods. These benign uterine tumors can be a leading cause of menorrhagia. Fibroids have been found in 10% of women with menorrhagia overall and in 40% of women with severe menorrhagia. Menorrhagia may be an indication of several medical conditions, which is why it is important to get diagnosed to determine if fibroids are the issue.
Menorrhagia and fibroids most often impact women in their 20s and 30s. It is estimated that 10-35% of US women of reproductive age experience heavy menstrual bleeding. Menorrhagia can occur anytime after a woman reaches puberty until menopause, which is also true for fibroids. Treating the root cause of your heavy bleeding is the only way to find relief, so you should consult with a specialist to determine the best course of treatment.
What Causes Menorrhagia?
Several factors can lead to menorrhagia, which often make it difficult to diagnose. These factors include the following:
- A hormone imbalance may be one menorrhagia cause, as estrogen and progesterone build up a heavier lining in the uterus, which sheds during a woman’s period.
- If the ovaries fail to release an egg, progesterone isn’t released, which can also cause a heavier period. This is known as an anovulatory phase.Uterine polyps, an overgrowth of cells, that attach to the inner wall of the uterus.
- Uterine fibroids can grow inside the uterus, which can lead to heavy or prolonged bleeding.
- Intrauterine devices can cause menorrhagia because they increase the production of prostaglandins, which in turn increases blood flow while inhibiting the ability for the blood to clot.
- Inherited bleeding disorders can lead to heavy bleeding during your period.
- Medications can cause heavy bleeding, such as anticoagulants, which thin the blood.
- Another common condition, adenomyosis, is where the inner lining of your uterus grows into the muscular wall of your uterus and can cause painful symptoms.
One in 20 women aged between 30 and 49 years consults her general practitioner each year about heavy blood loss from menstruation. Symptoms of menorrhagia may vary by person, but usually include bleeding longer than a week and heavier than normal bleeding.
How can you tell if your bleeding is heavy? Menorrhagia causes bleeding of more than 80 ml in each cycle, which is about three ounces or the size of a travel-size shampoo. If you are changing your hygiene products every two hours or less, or are passing blood clots the size of a quarter, then you are experiencing abnormal bleeding.
In a normal menstrual cycle, a woman loses an average of two to three tablespoons of blood over four to eight days. A woman with menorrhagia may need to change her sanitary pad or tampon during the night. Daily activities may be restricted due to heavy bleeding, bleeding through clothing, and frequent trips to the bathroom to change hygiene products.
Feeling tired, fatigued, and short of breath are signs of menorrhagia anemia from excessive blood loss. Both menorrhagia and uterine fibroids can cause iron-deficiency anemia. This was just one of the symptoms of fibroids that Kym Lee, one of our fibroid ambassadors, suffered from.
JOIN OUR LIVE INSTAGRAM CHAT
As a way to keep you informed about the importance of talking about your own health, we’re hosting another “Talk About “U” Instagram Live, hosted by Kym Lee, on Thursday, August 12, 2021, at 6:00 pm CST. She’ll talk about fibroid disease with Melissa Muganzo Murphy, CEO of Muganzo Entertainment. Murphy, a fibroid survivor herself, is currently filming a documentary spotlighting Black Uterine Health and Medical Injustice. Follow our Instagram to get notified of when this live event starts!
Treatment for Menorrhagia and Fibroids
If your menorrhagia is caused by fibroids, Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) may allow you to experience relief from heavy, prolonged periods. In one study, menorrhagia was controlled in 86% of patients at 3 months and 92% at 12 months.
Uterine fibroid embolization treats fibroids by shrinking them. A fibroid specialist, also known as an interventional radiologist (IR), locates the growth and the artery that is supplying the tumor with blood. The IR doctor will place a tiny catheter into the uterine artery, which is providing the fibroid with oxygen, blood, and other nutrients. Embolic agents are injected into the artery to stop the flow of blood, preventing nourishment, which causes the fibroid to shrink and die. As the fibroid gets smaller, symptoms will begin to improve. In the following months after UFE, women should experience shorter, lighter, and more manageable periods
Request a Consultation at USA Fibroid Centers
USA Fibroid Centers is dedicated to providing personalized non-surgical, outpatient treatment for fibroids using a leading-edge procedure known as UFE. Schedule a consultation online or give us a call at 855.615.2555.