Conveniently located in Woburn, MA and Wilmington, MA

My Periods are Extremely Heavy: Why?

Most women experience changes in their menstrual cycle throughout their lives, especially when it first starts and when perimenopause begins. However, you should never have to deal with heavy menstrual bleeding that disrupts your quality of life.

Various conditions and medications may lead to heavy menstrual bleeding, but so can dangerous issues like cancer and infections. Knowing the cause of heavy bleeding helps you get the treatment you need.

At New England Women's Healthcare, our team of OB/GYN doctors quickly evaluates your reproductive health to determine the cause of heavy periods. They then suggest treatment for various issues, such as endometriosis or fibroids.

What constitutes heavy periods?

A heavy period may differ from woman to woman, depending on what's normal for them and how they feel during the cycle. However, the CDC defines a heavy period as having any of the following symptoms during your cycle:

Anytime your period interferes with your life because of how much bleeding you have, it's a cause for concern. Although you may not have a life-threatening issue, heavy bleeding may be a sign of something else going on in the body.

Causes of a heavy period

Various medical conditions may lead to heavy bleeding during your period. If you have extremely heavy bleeding, it could be from any of the following issues:

Hormonal abnormalities

Your hormones, especially estrogen, play a massive role in your menstrual cycle. Abnormal levels of estrogen or progesterone may lead to heavier-than-normal bleeding. Women who are going through perimenopause often experience changes in bleeding due to hormonal fluctuations.

Uterine fibroids

Fibroids are noncancerous growths inside the uterus that disrupt average period bleeding. Although they're not cancerous, they can lead to long periods and extremely heavy bleeding.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS develops when ovaries produce an abnormally high amount of hormones, leading to the formation of cysts on the ovaries. The cysts often lead to missed periods and a heavy flow when you do get a menstrual cycle.


Endometriosis describes when tissue similar to the uterine lining develops outside the uterus. Women with endometriosis often suffer from abdominal pain and heavy bleeding that's difficult to control.

IUD side effect

Because copper intrauterine devices (IUDs) don't contain hormones, they may cause heavier-than-normal period bleeding. Even after a few months of having the device, you may experience abnormal changes in your period.

Pregnancy complications

Miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, and placenta previa are all pregnancy complications that may lead to heavy bleeding. If you're unsure of pregnancy and are experiencing heavy bleeding, be sure to seek treatment immediately to prevent life-threatening complications.

Certain medications

Some medications affect bleeding during your period, especially antiplatelet medications and hormonal birth control. Antiplatelet medications prevent blood clots in the body, which may increase the amount of bleeding during your period.

What are the next steps?

Getting treatment for heavy bleeding is essential, especially when it interferes with your life. Our team talks to you about your periods, when they started, and the characteristics of a regular cycle.

They may then order an ultrasound to look at your uterus and ovaries and bloodwork to check for anemia. An endometrial biopsy or Pap smear may also be necessary to evaluate for specific issues.

Treatment depends on the cause of the heavy bleeding. You may require birth control, hormone therapy, or iron supplements to help you cope with heavy bleeding.

In some cases, you might require more invasive procedures to stop heavy menstruation. A dilation and curettage and hysterectomy are both surgical options for when conservative measures don’t stop extreme bleeding.

To get treatment for heavy-period bleeding, don't hesitate to call our team at our Woburn or Wilmington, Massachusetts, offices or request an appointment here on the website.

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