Heavy or prolonged menstrual periods, or menorrhagia, are the most common type of abnormal bleeding from the uterus. Periods are considered heavy if there is enough blood to soak a pad or tampon every hour for several consecutive hours.
In severe cases, heavy menstruation can interfere with sleep and daily activities. Blood loss from heavy periods can also lead to anemia, causing symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath.
Causes of Menorrhagia
There are many possible causes of heavy menstrual bleeding. They include:
Hormonal imbalance, particularly in estrogen and progesterone; this is most common in adolescents who recently began their periods and women who are getting close to menopause. Hormonal imbalance may also occur if there is a problem in the function of the ovaries.
Fibroids or noncancerous tumors of the uterus; fibroids typically occur during childbearing years.
Adenomyosis, a condition in which the glands from the lining of the uterus become imbedded in the muscular wall of the uterus; this is most likely to occur in middle-aged women who have had several children.