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Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Heavy Menstrual Periods
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With heavy menstrual periods (also called menorrhagia), your bleeding may be heavier or last longer than normal. You may:
Heavy periods may disrupt your life. But in most cases, they aren't a sign of a serious problem.
Still, it's a good idea to see your doctor. A doctor can suggest treatments to ease your symptoms and make sure that you don't have a serious condition.
A number of things can cause heavy periods. These include:
Sometimes a cause can't be found.
In rare cases, heavy periods may be a sign of a serious problem, such as an infection or cancer.
Your doctor will ask about your menstrual periods and do a pelvic exam. During the exam, your doctor will check for signs of disease, infection, and abnormal growths.
If needed, your doctor may also do one or more tests to find out what's causing heavy periods. These tests may include:
In most cases, heavy menstrual periods can be managed with medicines or hormone treatments. If those treatments don't help, you may need surgery to help control your bleeding.
Your doctor may suggest that you take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), like ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) or naproxen (such as Aleve). Taking an NSAID can reduce bleeding and pain during your period. But NSAIDs usually don't help as much as hormone treatments.
Hormone treatments that may be prescribed include:
Sometimes doctors prescribe a medicine called tranexamic acid (such as Lysteda). It is not a hormone treatment. It reduces bleeding by helping blood to clot.
You may want to think about surgery if medicines don't help or if you have a growth in your uterus. Your choice will depend partly on whether you want to get pregnant in the future. Surgery options include:
If you have cramps during your periods, ask your doctor about taking an NSAID such as ibuprofen or naproxen. It can help with cramps and reduce menstrual bleeding. An NSAID works best when you start taking it 1 to 2 days before you expect pain to start. If you don't know when your period will start next, take your first dose as soon as bleeding or cramping starts.
Heavy periods can make you feel weak and tired and can lead to anemia. Your doctor may suggest that you take an iron supplement if your iron levels are low. You may be able to prevent anemia if you increase the amount of iron in your diet. Foods rich in iron include red meat, shellfish, eggs, and beans.
Current as of:
February 11, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Sarah Marshall MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family MedicineRSURemoved
Current as of: February 11, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & RSURemoved
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