Irregular and heavy periods can be caused by many factors. The doctors at Old Farm Obstetrics and Gynecology help women from throughout the Salt Lake City, UT, area understand the causes of abnormal periods and obtain the most appropriate care based on their needs.
Usually, a complete menstrual cycle takes 28 days to complete, with periods lasting anywhere from five to seven days. Irregular periods include any menstrual bleeding that occurs outside of these norms, including periods that occur less or more frequently or periods that are significantly shorter or longer than the average five to seven days. Heavy bleeding includes periods in which a woman passes significantly more than the average one ounce of blood lost during a normal period. Menorrhagia is another term for heavy periods, during which three or more ounces of blood are typically lost. Complete lack of periods called amenorrhea is also considered a type of irregular menstrual bleeding.
Some women have abnormal periods as a result of taking birth control pills. As long as the changes in menstruation are a normal side effect of the pills and the prescribing doctor is aware of the change, it's usually nothing to worry about. Often, an irregular period or bleeding that is heavier than normal can be caused by one of these issues:
Some types of IUDs can also affect normal menstruation.
Before any treatment is prescribed, a pelvic exam will be performed, and other tests and evaluations may also be prescribed, including blood tests, urinalysis and minimally-invasive evaluations like hysteroscopy to examine inside the uterus and look for abnormal changes. Once the cause is determined, treatment options can include:
In some cases, lifestyle changes like a change in physical activity routines or weight loss may help periods return to normal.
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