A risk factor is something that raises the chances of getting a health problem. A woman can get a menstrual disorder with or without the risk factors listed below. The chances of getting a menstrual disorder are greater in women who have many risk factors.
Things that raise the risk of heavy bleeding are:
Hormones in fat tissues can turn into estrogen. This can lead to heavier bleeding.
The risk of heavy bleeding may be higher if you have:
- Uterine polyps
- Cancer of the uterus, cervix, or vagina
- Bleeding disorders
- Pelvic infections
- Thyroid problems
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
The risk is also higher in women who take blood thinners.
Young women may have periods that:
- Are too close together
- Are too far apart
These changes happen because young women are still growing.
Periods may change leading up to menopause. The risk of heavy bleeding may also be higher in older women who still have regular periods.
Copper IUDs may cause heavy periods in some women. IUDs with progestin may ease bleeding.
In most women, birth control pills will lower bleeding. Women who have heavy bleeding while taking them should tell their doctors right away.
Medicines that may raise the risk of heavy bleeding are:
- Blood thinners
- Anti-inflammatory medicine
- Cancer drugs
Lack of Periods
Too Much Exercise
Regular intense exercise may stop periods. It can happen in athletes or those with compulsive exercising.
Eating disorders can cause low body fat, rapid weight loss, and hormonal problems. They can all cause period changes.
Stress can cause hormone changes that may slow or stop signals to start periods. When stress is eased, periods often return.
Health problems related to amenorrhea are:
- Ovaries that do not release an egg each month
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Pituitary tumors (nonmalignant)
- Pituitary insufficiency
- Turner syndrome
- Cushing disease
- Asherman syndrome
- High levels of the hormone androgen
- Imperforate hymen
- Lack of a vagina or womb
- Radiation therapy
- Long-term health problems
Stopping a Birth Control Method
A period may not start right after birth control pills are stopped or an IUD is removed. It may take many months to start again.
Abnormal uterine bleeding. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/abnormal-uterine-bleeding. Updated October 10, 2019. Accessed November 14, 2019.
Amenorrhea. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/amenorrhea. Updated January 16, 2018. Accessed November 14, 2019.
Bleeding Disorders in Women. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/blooddisorders/women/index.html. Updated April 25, 2018. Accessed November 14, 2019.
Klein DA, Poth MA. Amenorrhea: an approach to diagnosis and management. Am Fam Physician. 2013 Jun 1;87(11):781-788.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Elliot M. Levine, MD, FACOG Last Updated: 11/20/2020