Menstrual bleeding is considered to be heavy or lasting longer than normal if:
If you have unusually heavy bleeding for 2 periods in a row, talk to your healthcare provider about it.
The medical term for this problem is menorrhagia.
There are many possible causes of menorrhagia, including:
Your healthcare provider will ask about your medical history and menstrual cycles. Your provider may ask you to keep a diary of bleeding and nonbleeding days, including notes about how heavy the bleeding was. You will also have a physical exam. You may have blood tests. You may have other tests that let your provider take samples of tissue from the uterus or look inside it, such as:
Many of these procedures may be done in your healthcare provider's office. Others may be done in an outpatient clinic.
The treatment depends on the cause of the problem. For example, if it is caused by an IUD, the IUD will be removed. If you have a hormone imbalance, your healthcare provider may prescribe hormones. If you are already taking hormones, your provider may prescribe a change in your medicine.
Taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, may help control heavy bleeding. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) may cause stomach bleeding and other problems. These risks increase with age. Read the label and take as directed. Unless recommended by your healthcare provider, do not take for more than 10 days for any reason.
Sometimes surgery is needed. Possible surgical treatments include:
Hysterectomy and endometrial ablation are procedures that will make you sterile. That means you will no longer be able to get pregnant. If you have a hysterectomy, you will stop having menstrual periods. After endometrial ablation you should have no or very little menstrual bleeding, although some women start having menstrual bleeding again a while after the procedure.
Hysterectomy and endometrial ablation are usually done after medical treatments, such as hormones and ibuprofen, have not worked.
How long you have abnormal bleeding depends on the cause and treatment.