Heavy menstrual bleeding is higher amount of blood lost during a period than expected. It is also called menorrhagia. It is normal for women to have a heavy menstrual flow at some point. This is a more severe form that happens often.
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The cause is not always known. Excess bleeding can be caused by other health issues such as:
Menorrhagia is more common in:
Menorrhagia may be:
Long periods of heavy flow can also lead to fatigue and shortness of breath.
Call your doctor if you have symptoms of menorrhagia.
The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical examination, including a pelvic exam, will be done. Tests to look for possible causes may include:
Treatment will be based on the cause. Some steps may include:
Medicine may help to stop or ease heavy flow, such as:
Other medicine may help to ease symptoms of a heavy flow, such as:
Surgery may be needed if the bleeding is severe and not responding to other treatment. Surgery choices include:
There are no steps to prevent heavy menstrual bleeding.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Women's Health—US Department of Health and Human Services
The Canadian Women's Health Network
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Abnormal uterine bleeding. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/abnormal-uterine-bleeding . Accessed September 12, 2020.
Apgar B, Kaufman A, et al. Treatment of menorrhagia. Am Fam Physician. 2007;75(12):1813-1819.
11/20/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
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FDA approves Lysteda to treat heavy menstrual bleeding. United States Food and Drug Administration website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T361089/Abnormal-uterine-bleeding . Accessed September 12, 2019.
Last reviewed September 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Chelsea Skucek, MSN, BS, RNC-NIC
Last Updated: 08/07/2020