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Often, one of the first and most noticeable signs of uterine fibroids is menorrhagia, or heavy menstrual bleeding. Heavy periods are not uncommon for women, but when menstruation causes abnormally heavy bleeding or for an unusually long time, it can become more serious.

Symptoms of Menorrhagia

There are several symptoms that indicate a heavy period should be considered a medical condition and needs to be addressed. You do not need to have all these symptoms. In fact, just one can be an indication of menorrhagia. Physical symptoms include:

  • Requiring one or more tampons or sanitary pads per hour for several hours
  • Requiring two sanitary pads at one time
  • Waking up during the night to change a tampon or sanitary pad
  • A period lasting more than seven days
  • Experiencing blood clots larger than the size of a quarter

Heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding can sometimes lead to anemia when levels of healthy red blood cells drop below the normal range. Symptoms of anemia can include pale skin, fatigue and feeling cold. Treatment for anemia is based on severity.

How Fibroids Cause Menorrhagia

There are several ways that uterine fibroids contribute to menorrhagia. Higher levels of the hormones that contribute to the fibroids can also lead to heavy periods. However, the presence of fibroids can put pressure on the lining of the uterus to cause abnormal bleeding. They can also prevent the uterus from contracting properly. Contraction helps to slow and stop the bleeding at the end of the menstrual cycle.

Other Causes of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

While menorrhagia is a common indication of uterine fibroids, there are other possible causes. These include a hormone imbalance, dysfunction of the ovaries, medications you are taking or another underlying health condition.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Karl Zhang and learn more about uterine fibroids, a possible cause of your heavy menstrual bleeding, contact us online or call (212) 254-0149. Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive procedure that could help to alleviate your symptoms.