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Menorrhagia is another name for what you might call heavy periods. Find out the common symptoms of menorrhagia and how to get help.

What is menorrhagia?

Heavy periods are the worst. They’re draining, they’re annoying, and sometimes they really hurt! A very heavy period, also called menorrhagia, can be caused by many things – changes in hormone levels, weight loss or gain, changes in diet and exercise routines, medical conditions and more. If you are experiencing several of these changes, consider talking to your doctor about menorrhagia symptoms or heavy menstrual bleeding.

Heavy menstrual bleeding may have consequences to your sleep, causes pain in the lower abdomen and makes it hard to enjoy your usual activities. If you are experiencing weakness, make an appointment to see your doctor.

Menorrhagia symptoms

If you’re not sure if your heavy periods cross the line to qualify as menorrhagia, compare your experiences to the ones listed below. This may help you to determine the causes of your menorrhagia.

  1. Are your periods heavier than usual? Do they last longer?
  2. Does your bleeding soak through a pad or tampon every hour for two or more hours back to back?
  3. Do you notice sudden gushes in your flow? Are there large blood clots?
  4. Do you need to wake up to change your pads at night?
  5. Are you bleeding for a week or longer?
  6. Do you restrict what you do in your daily life because of your very heavy periods?
  7. Are you feeling symptoms of anaemia (fatigue or shortness of breath)?

It’s important to speak to your doctor – they may want to do a physical examination. They may recommend a cervical smear test or blood tests to check your iron count or thyroid. They can help you much better when they understand what else is going on in your body.

When you see your doctor, bring a record of your symptoms, notes about when your period begins and ends, and how many pads and tampons you use in a day and whether they are soaked through. This information will help your doctor to understand as much as possible before making a diagnosis.

In the meantime, make sure to protect yourself from leaks during heavy periods. There are a variety of ALWAYS pads designed for heavy-flow days. Have a look at our selection of ALWAYS pads for overnight protection.

Causes of menorrhagia

Here are some conditions that can cause heavy menstrual bleeding:

  • Hormone imbalance: If your levels of oestrogen and progesterone get out of whack, the uterine lining develops in excess and eventually sheds more menstrual bleeding than usual.
  • Ovary dysfunction: If you don’t ovulate, your body doesn't produce as much progesterone as it would during a normal menstrual cycle.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease: This infection of the reproductive organs that can have severe complications if not treated.
  • Pregnancy complications: This could signal a miscarriage or an unusual location of the placenta.
  • Medications: Certain anti-inflammatory medications, hormonal treatments and anticoagulants can affect bleeding.
  • Other medical conditions: Ask your doctor about other possible reasons for your bleeding, based on your personal symptoms.

There can be other medical conditions to menorrhagia, you can ask your doctor about other possible reasons for your bleeding, based on your personal symptoms. Your doctor will want to know when your period starts and stops, how many pads or tampons you go through in a day and whether they soaked through, and what your period symptoms are.