The average menstrual period lasts 2-7 days. The first day of bleeding marks the first day of a new menstrual cycle, which generally lasts 21-35 days. Almost every woman experiences monthly menstrual cycles in her childbearing years, so she has about 450 periods in her lifetime.
You can have varying symptoms with your menstrual cycle. Since every woman’s period symptoms are different, it’s not always easy to know if what you’re experiencing is normal. For example, heavy menstrual bleeding is common, yet only one-third of women with abnormally heavy periods seek treatment.
Ignoring period symptoms like heavy bleeding or pelvic pain could put your health at risk. At OB/GYN Specialists, Daniel McDonald, MD, Marc Wilson, MD, and our team specialize in diagnosing abnormal menstrual symptoms, working with women of all ages to find the right treatment.
But what constitutes heavy menstrual bleeding? And are your menstrual cramps more severe than normal? It’s time to find out.
Signs your period symptoms aren’t normal
Periods often bring unpleasant symptoms like mood swings, bloating, and cramps. Most women don’t look forward to the start of their cycle, but for some, the symptoms are more than just a nuisance. They can significantly impact quality of life.
It’s normal for the flow of your period to change from time to time. But you could be suffering from abnormally heavy periods if you:
- Have periods lasting longer than seven days
- Need to change pads or tampons every hour
- Need to change pads or tampons during the night
- Need to wear more than one pad at a time
- Notice blood clots the size of a quarter or larger
In the days before your period and about 1-2 days after it starts, your uterus contracts to shed its lining, and this is what causes menstrual cramps. Cramps range in severity, but in general, you should visit the doctor for cramps that:
- Aren’t relieved by over-the-counter pain medication
- Are accompanied by heavy bleeding
- Are so painful that they interfere with daily activities
Heavy menstrual bleeding and pain could be signs of an underlying condition, like endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or pelvic inflammatory disease. But even if you don’t have an underlying condition, seeking professional care is the best way to lessen your period symptoms.
What to do about abnormally heavy periods
If you think your menstrual pain and bleeding might be abnormal, make an appointment at OB/GYN Specialists. Dr. McDonald and Dr. Wilson specialize in diagnosing many common causes of heavy bleeding and pelvic pain, including:
- Uterine fibroids or polyps
- Ovarian cysts
- Urinary tract infection
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
Our team starts by thoroughly reviewing your medical history and your symptoms. We perform a pelvic exam, and we may recommend additional testing like an ultrasound or hysteroscopy to get a better look at your uterus and other reproductive organs.
If it’s possible, track your menstrual cycle and note any particular symptoms before you come in for your appointment. This helps your doctor reach a diagnosis.
Your treatment is tailored to fit your needs. Depending on your diagnosis, the doctors may recommend hormonal birth control to regulate ovulation and minimize unpleasant period symptoms. Other options may include hormone therapy or minimally invasive surgery.
Severe period symptoms don’t have to keep you from enjoying life. Find the care you need at OB/GYN Specialists. Call our Denton, Texas, office at 940-202-0566 or send a message to our team online to set up your appointment..