What is Menorrhagia?

Menorrhagia is a condition that affects women and is characterized by having very heavy menstrual periods with prolonged bleeding. Menorrhagia is more severe than just having an abnormally heavy period once in a while because with menorrhagia, women experience a heavy loss of blood during every menstrual period. While it is concerning in general for premenopausal women to experience heavy blood loss, most premenopausal women do not experience such a heavy blood loss to be considered menorrhagia. It is estimated that about 10 percent of women in the United States have menorrhagia.


Menorrhagia causes a woman to have such a significant amount of blood loss and severe cramps during every menstrual period that it interferes with the ability to maintain her daily routines. If this is the case, it is important for women who may have menorrhagia to see and discuss their symptoms with their doctor.   If you have menstrual bleeding so heavy that you dread your period, talk with your doctor. Women who have menorrhagia do not have to suffer. There are many treatments available for menorrhagia that are effective.

The signs and symptoms of menorrhagia include menstrual bleeding that lasts for more than seven days, bleeding that leaks through a pad or tampon every hour, needing to use two pads to control your menstrual flow, needing to wake up at night to change your pad or tampon, large clots in menstrual blood, passing blood clots with menstrual flow for more than one day, spotting or bleeding in between periods or during pregnancy, restricting daily activities due to heavy menstrual flow, and anemia symptoms such as fatigue, tiredness, and shortness of breath.

Who gets menorrhagia? Women who are older than 30 years old most often get menorrhagia. Women with menorrhagia have regular periods, however, they are different from women who do not have menorrhagia in that they have periods that cause severe bleeding occurs every day of your period and that lasts for more than a week. Menorrhagia may also cause you to have abdominal pain or develop anemia. If you develop anemia as a result of menorrhagia, you may have symptoms such as shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and fatigue. This can become serious and may require hospitalization.

What causes menorrhagia? Menorrhagia may be caused by a hormonal imbalance, pelvic inflammatory disease, using an IUD, uterine fibroids, or an abnormal pregnancy. Treating menorrhagia depends on what is causing the condition. Treatment may also depend on an assessment of a number of factors such as whether you want to have children, your age, and how severe your case of menorrhagia is. Treatment may include birth control pills, hormones, or surgery.