Menorrhagia is the medical term for menstrual periods with abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding. Although heavy menstrual bleeding is a common concern, most women don't experience blood loss severe enough to be defined as menorrhagia. This type of flow lasts longer than 7 days, and it requires a woman to change her pad or tampon every 2 hours or more. Average blood loss during menstruation is around 30 to 40 milliliters, or 2 to 3 tablespoons, over a period of 4 to 5 days. Medically, menorrhagia is a loss of over 80 milliliters of blood in one cycle, or twice the normal amount.

Reasons for menorrhagia can be:

  • Hormonal disturbances
  • Ovarian dysfunction
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Uterine polyps
  • Adenomyosis
  • Non-hormonal Intrauterine Device (IUD)
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Pregnancy-related complications
  • Cancer: Uterine, cervical, and ovarian cancer
  • Inherited bleeding disorders
  • Medications: Anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant drugs
  •  Other health conditions that can trigger menorrhagia include thyroid disorders, endometriosis, and liver or kidney disease.

Signs and symptoms of menorrhagia can include the following:

  • Heavy vaginal bleeding, resulting in the saturation of one or more sanitary pads or tampons every hour for several hours
  • Heavy bleeding requiring the use of double sanitary protection
  • Having to change pads or tampons in the middle of the night
  • Menstrual flow or bleeding lasting more than a week
  • Passage of blood clots that are the size of a quarter or larger
  • Inability to perform regular daily activities because of the bleeding
  • Signs and symptoms of anaemia, including tiredness, fatigue, and shortness of breath
  • Constant lower abdominal and pelvic pain

Treatment of menorrhagia depends on the individual. If bleeding interferes with daily life and social, physical, or emotional well-being, it is appropriate to seek help.