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Women's Health - What is menorrhagia?
Heavy Menstrual Flow - When to See Gyno

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Ask A Healer Women's Health Series

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Menorrhagia May be Symptomatic of other Women's Health Conditions


More on Women's Health Care:
Polycystic Ovaries and Breast Disease

What is menorrhagia:When a woman has a heavier than normal menstrual flow, it is called menorrhagia. Your doctor may diagnose menorrhagia if your menstrual cycle becomes irregluar, if you have spotting between periods, bleeding after sex, the passing of large clots or cycles lasting more than 7 days. A persistent or excessively heavy menstrual flow may be a symptom of other underlying medical conditions including:

* Infection
* Fibroids
* Miscarriage
* Ecoptic pregnancy
* Pelvic tumors
* Blood platelet disorders
* Polyps
* Hormonal imbalances
* Diseases of the liver, kidney or thyroid
* Endothelin
* Prostaglandin overloads

More rare health conditions associated with menorrhagia include Von Willebrand disease, which develops when there is a deficiency of an aspect of healthy blood that helps with normal clumping and clothing, called the von Willebrand factor. You may be at greater risk of menorrhgia if your family has a history of bleeding disorders.

See your gynecologist if you have the following symptoms:
* Your period lasts more than 7 days
* You have to change pads or tampons every hour
* You experience abnormal amounts of pain or discomfort
* You have spotting between periods
* There is a history of bleeding disorders in your family
* You have spotting during pregnancy.

Related: What causes menopausal gas and bloating?

Health Care Disclaimer: Because a chronic heavy menstrual flow may be symptomatic of so many other women's health issues, it is very important to get a gynecological exam if you have menorrhagia. Spotting between periods may have many causes but if combined with menorrhagia, may warrant more attention.