Discover how Main Line Health provides comprehensive and compassionate care for women in all stages of life.
Heavy or Irregular Vaginal Bleeding
What is heavy or irregular bleeding?
Most women are familiar with the discomfort and inconvenience of vaginal bleeding during their monthly period. However, if you have heavy and long-lasting menstrual bleeding, or irregular bleeding (such as bleeding between periods), you may have a condition called menorrhagia.
Some signs that you may have menorrhagia include:
- Needing to change sanitary products more frequently, such as once an hour, during your period.
- Bleeding from your period that lasts more than seven days in a row.
- Spotting or bleeding between periods on a regular basis.
- Spotting or bleeding during pregnancy (unrelated to another condition).
In order to diagnose menorrhagia, your doctor will need to rule out other conditions that might be causing your heavy or irregular vaginal bleeding.
Causes of heaving bleeding
Your doctor may suggest one or more tests to see if you have menorrhagia. The diagnosis may include:
- Blood tests – Your blood may be analyzed to find clues to an underlying condition.
- Dilation and curettage (D&C) – During this minimally invasive procedure, your cervix is opened (dilated) and then scraped with a special tool called a curette to remove a sample of endometrial tissue.
- Hysteroscopy – A thin, lighted tube is inserted into your vagina so the doctor can view the inside of the uterus.
- Pap test – Your doctor will take a sample from your cervical cells to diagnose an underlying condition.
- Ultrasound – This allows your doctor to view the inside of your uterus to determine the cause of your condition.
These diagnostic tests help determine if you have a condition that’s causing your heavy or irregular bleeding. There are several conditions that may result in menorrhagia, including:
- Bleeding disorders
- Eptopic pregnancy
- Fibroids in the uterus
- High levels of endothelins (peptides, or amino acids, that constrict blood vessels)
- High levels of prostaglandins (hormones that affect blood vessels) in the uterus
- Hormonal imbalance
- Liver, kidney or thyroid conditions
- Pelvic infection
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Platelet disorder
- Polyps or tumors in the pelvic cavity
Whether you’re seeing us for common gynecological problems or seeking out advanced therapies and the very best surgical expertise, our physicians, board-certified are here for in gynecology, are here for you every stage of your life from adolescence through the childbearing years into menopause and beyond.