Prolonged menstruation or prolonged menstrual bleeding is also known as menorrhagia. Variations in menstrual cycle and the bleeding, is quite common during menarche, when the varying hormone levels fluctuate. Likewise, menstrual bleeding could be prolonged or heavy just prior to menopause.
The prolonged bleeding especially if it is heavy, would cause anemia, weakness and other related symptoms. A case of prolonged menstruation should be evaluated carefully as it could be a pointer to deeper pathologies.
Causes of Prolonged Menstruation
Hormonal imbalance is one of the common cause of prolonged menstruation. The progesterone and the estrogen are the two hormones regulating the menstrual cycle. When these hormones do not function properly it could lead to prolonged menstruation. The variation in the level of hormones cause the lining of the uterus to grow thicker. As a result, during menstruation the thicker layer needs to be shed resulting in prolonged and often heavier menstrual cycle.
Pelvic Inflammatory Diseases
Pelvic inflammatory disease means inflammation in any of the organs from ovary, fallopian tubes, uterus etc. Pelvic Inflammatory diseases are usually caused by sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis etc. Pelvic inflammatory disease could cause prolonged menstruation. Besides, pelvic inflammatory disease could lead to sterility.
Cysts and Fibroid
Poly cystic ovarian disease, uterine fibroid etc. too could cause prolonged menstruation. PCOD is caused by hormonal imbalance and usually strikes the reproductive age group.
Uterine fibroid are non cancerous growths in the uterus. They can vary in number and size. Both these conditions could cause prolonged menstruation. These cases also requires adequate treatment as these could become cancerous.
Cancer of the ovary, fallopian tube, uterus, cervix etc. could cause prolonged menstruation. Very often a heavy or prolonged bleeding is the presenting feature of a cancer of the female reproductive system. Check out for other signs and symptoms and a thorough investigation before you diagnose a cancer.
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Intrauterine contraceptive devices are used by women so as not to get pregnant for the set period. They may be left for several years. These devices could cause prolonged menstruation. If so, then these devices need to be removed immediately.
Prolonged menstruation could be caused as a result of side effects of certain medications. Diabetes, thyroid hormone dysfunction, liver or kidney diseases, clotting disorders etc. could also cause prolonged menstruation.
Dealing with Prolonged Menstruation
The prolonged bleeding during menarche and menopause may subside on its own without any particular treatment. However every case needs to be evaluated to rule out deeper pathologies. Hormonal imbalances are usually treated with hormonal tablets. A tumor or a fibroid might require surgery and follow up treatment.
Anemia is often a consequence of prolonged menstruation. These might require iron tablets or blood transfusion, if the case is severe. Meanwhile, every step must be taken to ensure adequate well being of the body. Reduce weight if you are over weight. Stick to a low fat diet and let your calories come from whole grains, fruits and vegetables with occasional helpings of fish/ meat. Low fat diary is a better option than a full fat one. Exercise adequately. Walking is one of the best choice.