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Ask Our Physicians: Heavy Periods

Posted on November 1, 2017
Steven Pierce, MD
Steven Pierce, MD

Dear Dr. Pierce:

I’m only in my 30s, but I’ve noticed my period is getting heavier and longer than it’s been in the past. It doesn’t seem normal, and it’s affecting how I feel and my daily life. Is there anything I can do to control this abnormal bleeding?

The normal length of your menstrual cycle should be 21-35 days, with bleeding occurring three to seven days, but it may vary each month and change as you age. However, if you have irregular cycles or bothersome symptoms that affect your daily life, you should see a gynecologist to discuss what options might bring you relief.

You should be examined if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Menstrual cycle lasting less than 21 days or more than 35 days (measured from the first day of bleeding to the next occurrence of bleeding)
  • Bleeding that lasts longer than seven days
  • Heavy bleeding or passing large clots (soaking through a pad or tampon every hour for two to three hours in a row)
  • Severe cramps, especially the sudden onset of such cramping
  • Bleeding or spotting between periods
  • Bleeding after intercourse
  • Bleeding after menopause

There are many causes for abnormal bleeding, such as fibroids, polyps, miscarriage, ovulation problems, and bleeding disorders. The most common cause is an excess of uterine lining, and is easily treated with a procedure called endometrial ablation. If you’re done having children, this might be a good option for you.

We’ll first use a special, lighted telescope, known as a hysteroscope, to look inside your uterus for a definitive diagnosis of abnormal bleeding. Excess tissue – even polyps, fibroids, and cancers – can be seen with this instrument. Endometrial ablation “burns off” excess uterine lining (endometrium) and eliminates heavy periods. We use several types of ablation techniques, such as electrical cautery and a hot-water circulating balloon, and will recommend the best method for you. This isn’t a surgical procedure, so you won’t have an incision.

If you’re still planning to become pregnant, we’ll discuss other treatment options like medication or a myomectomy.

Learn More

If you have questions about abnormal bleeding or your menstrual cycle, please call our office at (865) 331-1122 to schedule an appointment. 

About Dr. Pierce:

In addition to abnormal bleeding, Steven Pierce, MD specializes in:

  • Colposcopy
  • Abnormal pap smears
  • Vaginal slings
  • Urogynecolgy
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Minimally invasive hysterectomy and gynecologic surgeries

For more information about Dr. Pierce, please click here to see his profile. He is accepting new patients, and you can make an appointment with him by calling (865) 331-1122.

Disclaimer: please note that this information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice. If you have a specific medical question or issue, we encourage you to call our office at (865) 331-1122 and schedule an appointment.

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