Why is my period so heavy? It’s a question many women have to ask. Almost no woman is a huge fan of menstruating. But sometimes a heavy flow is really too heavy. If you’re soaking through a pad or tampon every few hours, it could be a sign that your menstrual flow is abnormal or problematic. That’s even more true if you have to double up on pads, or use a pad and tampon together. It’s also a problem if you’re passing blood clots that are bigger than a quarter during your period.
Too much blood loss during your period may mean you have menorrhagia. (This is a condition characterized by heavy menstrual bleeding.) The previous symptoms could mean you have this condition. And so could a period that lasts longer than seven days.
Now, want to know why your period is heavy? Here are 8 groups of women at risk for menorrhagia. And a few things you can do if you’re in a high-risk group.
Why is My Period so Heavy? I have Fibroids
Women with fibroids have a higher risk for a heavy period. Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that typically develop in your uterus. They often lead to heavy menstrual bleeding, And, for some women, they can cause infertility. Studies reveal that, for about 10% of women who ask “Why is my period so heavy”, the answer is fibroids.
Of course, not all women have an equal risk. Unfortunately, black women are more likely to have both heavier periods and fibroids. Here are a few reasons why that may be true.
- Obesity. The US Department of Health and Human Services report that 4 out of 5 black women are either overweight or obese. Carrying extra weight is linked to higher estrogen levels. And more estrogen in your body may increase your fibroid risk.
- Nutrition. It’s harder for women of color to soak up vitamin D, because melanin can block its absorption. And, today, we know that vitamin d deficiency is tied to an increased fibroid risk.
- Toxic chemicals. Women of color are often sold hair products containing dangerous chemicals. And guess what? Many of those chemicals have been tied to their increased risk for fibroids.
Now you understand why a heavy period could mean fibroids. And why your risk for fibroids could increase. But let’s look at other reasons why your period could be heavier than normal.
Women with Polycystic ovarian syndrome
This condition is associated with irregular and infrequent periods. PCOS causes growths to develop around a woman’s cervix or uterus; the growths are either the result of high estrogen levels or are caused by infections. Because periods are irregular with PCOS, the uterine lining has a longer time to thicken, adding to the volume of a woman’s menstrual blood and making her flow abnormally heavy.
Women with Endometriosis
With endometriosis, tissue that’s similar to the lining of your uterus travels out of the uterus. When a woman with endometriosis menstruates, she sheds all of the lining tissue, regardless of its location. And that makes her period very heavy.
Women with Changing Hormones
When a woman is dealing with a hormonal imbalance—either low or high levels—she can experience irregular ovulation. And that can make her ask “Why is my period so heavy?” As with other conditions that affect your menstrual cycle, hormonal imbalances that give you less frequent periods can make the periods you do have extra heavy.
Clotting Problems Change Periods
Certain genetic conditions, or even certain medications, can affect your body’s ability to form blood clots. While this problem is extremely rare, if you are one of the women affected by a natural or medical bleeding disorder, your periods may become very heavy.
IUDs Could Mean Heavier Periods
An IUD or intrauterine device is a long term form of birth control that’s implanted in your uterus. In certain cases, IUDS—especially ones that don’t contain hormones—can cause you to experience a heavier than normal period.
Black Women Have a Higher Risk
Research shows that 39% of Black women deal with heavy periods. That’s a higher percentage than in other groups of women. Which may be related to Black women’s increased risk for fibroids.
Obesity Can Make Periods Heavier
When you carry extra weight, your hormonal balance shifts. (See the risk factor above.) For obese women (who have a BMI of 30 or above) the risk increases further, because fat cells produce estrogen. And, with too much estrogen, your uterine lining will thicken. And, when it’s time to shed that lining at the end of the month, your period will be heavier.
Only your doctor can determine the specific cause of your heavy menstrual flow. If you are dealing with heavy periods and want some answers, schedule a consultation with our highly trained fibroid physicians right away. Don’t wait for another cycle to find relief!