When Should You Go To The Doctor For Heavy Menstrual Bleeding?

It's no secret that everyone's period is different. Some people will have more painful cramps or a heavier menstrual cycle than others and vice versa. However, there is such a thing as bleeding too much. While it's fairly common to experience heavy menstrual bleeding, especially on the first or second day of your period, some people have a condition known as menorrhagia, which is the medical term for long and heavy periods (via Everyday Health).

In most cases, menorrhagia is not the result of an illness or underlying condition, but rather it is caused by certain lifestyle issues, like stress. In some instances, however, menorrhagia may be a symptom of a more serious health issue, like fibroids, polyps, or bleeding disorders. That's why it's important to track your menstrual cycle and monitor any changes to see if they persist. You can do this by keeping a period diary for a few months to find out if a problem lasts for more than two to four menstrual cycles in a row.

When should you go to the ER?

While the average person loses two to three tablespoons of blood over the course of four to five days during a single menstrual cycle, losing more than this or bleeding for more than seven days is considered significant heavy bleeding (via Healthline). Other signs of heavy bleeding include passing large blood clots, changing your pad or tampon every hour, getting up in the middle of the night to change your pad or tampon, filling up your menstrual cup every hour or so, and bleeding so much that you have to stay home from work or school. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, you should talk to a doctor.

If you have anemia, however, heavy periods can make you feel weak and tired. That's because the lining of the uterus is very rich in iron, and your body actually loses iron when it sheds during your period. Anemia can also cause shortness of breath and chest pain, which require immediate medical intervention. In rare cases, you can lose so much blood that it starts to affect your body's most basic functions. This is known as hypovolemia, which can cause low blood pressure, elevated heart rate, dizziness, and lightheadedness. If you're experiencing hypovolemia, you should seek emergency medical attention right away. As a general rule of thumb, however, it's best to seek emergency medical care if you experience any new or severe symptoms related to heavy menstrual bleeding.