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Why You Shouldn’t Ignore a Heavy Period at Any Age

When you have your period, do you soak through a sanitary pad or tampon every hour for several hours in a row? Are you unable to make it through the night without breakthrough bleeding? Does your menstrual bleeding last longer than a week? 

If so, you may be experiencing unusually heavy periods, a problem that affects 1 in 5 women in the United States each year.

It may be tempting to ignore heavy periods, perhaps assuming they’re simply an annoying inconvenience. But that’s not a wise decision. In truth, heavy periods could be a sign of a medical condition that requires medical care. And in many cases, treatment can reduce monthly bleeding. 

Here at Alpenglow Gynecology in Littleton, Colorado, Rickie Guida, WHNP-BC, and the team would like to give you some important information about heavy periods. No matter how old you are, you owe it to yourself to tell your care provider if you’re experiencing heavy periods. Take a moment to find out why.

Causes of heavy bleeding

Menstrual periods that produce heavier-than-normal bleeding or that last an unusually long time are known as menorrhagia. Heavy bleeding may occur on its own, or it may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms such as pain, swelling, or infertility.

Menorrhagia can have a range of causes, including the following:


This is a condition in which the tissue in the lining inside the uterus grows into the uterine wall. 

Endometrial polyps

These are non-cancerous growths in the lining of the uterus (the endometrium). They can cause excessive bleeding.


This is a condition that occurs when the lining of your uterus grows outside your uterus, in places where it shouldn’t grow. Excess endometrial tissue bleeds during menstruation, causing periods to be unusually heavy.

Uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids are growths of muscle tissue in the lining of the uterus. Although they are typically benign, they can cause excessive bleeding and long periods.

Bleeding disorders

These can include platelet disorders, clotting disorders, leukemia, hemophilia, and a condition known as von Willebrand disease.


Cancer of the reproductive organs (uterus, cervix, ovaries) could cause unusually heavy menstrual bleeding.

Certain medications

Some drugs, such as blood thinners, can cause heavy periods.

IUD problems

If you have an IUD that isn’t positioned properly, it could contribute to heavy periods.


Having extra fat in your body can lead to the production of excess estrogen, which can lead to heavy or irregular periods.

Ovarian cysts

Cysts are fluid-filled sacs in the ovaries. Sometimes they burst, which can lead to excessive bleeding.

Ovulation problems

Hormones control ovulation, the process in which an egg is released from your ovaries each month. If hormone levels are out of balance, you may not ovulate, and your uterine lining may build up too much and bleed excessively or unpredictably.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

This is a condition that occurs when the ovaries or adrenal glands produce more male hormones than they should, which causes fluid-filled cysts to grow on the ovaries.

Thyroid disorders

Heavy bleeding can occur when your thyroid is underactive, a condition known as hypothyroidism.

Get help for heavy periods

If you’re experiencing heavy periods, we can help, no matter your age. Your care providers at Alpenglow Gynecology can perform a pelvic exam and order any necessary tests to determine the cause of your bleeding. 

Once we know why you’re having heavy periods, we work with you to develop a treatment plan and manage your symptoms. Call our office at 303-219-9143, send us a message here on our website, or make an appointment using our online scheduling tool.

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