Heavy bleeding during your menstrual cycle may be normal for some people, but if it's not typical for you, something else may be going on when it starts to happen. While there are a number of causes of irregular or heavy bleeding, uterine fibroids are at the top of the list.
At New England Women’s Healthcare, our specialists can handle all of your OB/GYN needs, from pregnancy to abnormal menstrual bleeding. Our six board-certified OBGYNs determine if uterine fibroids are causing your heavier-than-normal bleeding, so you can get treatment as soon as possible.
What are fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are a type of noncancerous growth in or on your uterus. The fibroids are often made up of muscle and other tissues, but they’re usually harmless. In fact, with small fibroids, you might not even know they’re there.
Uterine fibroids may grow in clusters or as a single nodule. They can also grow inside the lining of your uterus or on the outside of the organ. Either way, they have the ability to cause a lot of uncomfortable symptoms.
So why exactly do fibroids grow? Many factors put you at risk for developing fibroids, including:
- Family history of fibroids
- Never having kids
- Late onset of menopause
- Early onset of menstrual period
However, just because you’re at risk doesn’t mean you’ll ever get fibroids. Keep in mind that this condition is relatively common, although many women don’t exhibit any symptoms. Fibroids that do cause symptoms can be a nuisance.
Symptoms of fibroids
If you have fibroids but aren’t dealing with symptoms, our team may just monitor the fibroids to make sure they don’t get any bigger. However, in other cases, fibroids cause a variety of different symptoms, including:
- Painful sex
- Back pain
- Bleeding between periods
- Frequent urination
- Vaginal discharge
- Excessive painful bleeding
If your fibroids are on the larger side, you may even feel fullness in your abdomen. This may lead to a feeling of discomfort as well.
Spotting between your normal menstrual periods is also a common symptom of fibroids, which can lead to infertility in some cases. They can also cause issues during your pregnancy or when you deliver.
Are fibroids why you’re bleeding heavily?
Heavy bleeding during your menstrual cycle isn’t uncommon for some women; but if it’s not normal for you, it could be due to uterine fibroids. If your period lasts more than a week and you have to change your pad or tampon frequently, you could be dealing with uterine fibroids.
But why do fibroids lead to heavier-than-normal menstrual bleeding? There really isn’t one specific reason that uterine fibroids lead to heavy bleeding. But there are a few theories why they do, including:
- They cause your blood vessels to grow
- Prostaglandin hormones are elevated
- Problems with your uterus contracting properly
- They put excess pressure on the lining in your uterus
Bleeding related to fibroids is often dependent on their location as well. For example, fibroids inside your uterus are likely to cause bleeding, because they affect the lining of your uterus.
Your hormones also play a role in whether your fibroids lead to bleeding. Because they can cause some of your hormone levels to increase higher than normal, you may bleed more heavily than usual during your menstrual cycle.
Even though uterine fibroids are often benign, they can cause you a lot of discomfort during your menstrual cycle. Heavy bleeding is scary, and not something you want to deal with.
If your menstrual cycle is heavier than normal, don’t hesitate to contact one of our offices in Wilmington or Woburn, Massachusetts, to schedule a consultation. You may also request an appointment with one of our providers using our online booking tool.