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HOME REMEDIES 7 Reasons Your Period Is Heavier Than Usual

7 Reasons Your Period Is Heavier Than Usual

When it comes to menstruation, not all periods are created equal. Any Mean Girls fan knows that some women just have a heavy flow and wide-set vagina! And while you shouldn't worry if you typically use "super" tampons while your friend's always grabbing the "light" ones, something might be up if your flow has dramatically changed and is now heavier than it usually is. (You should talk to your doctor if you're having unusually light periods, too.)

"Women are definitely aware of what's normal for them," says ob-gyn Jennifer Ashton, MD. "If one of my patients is experiencing something irregular and it happens three months in a row, I like to see her."
From no-biggie birth control changes to serious medical problems, here are seven reasons why you might be bleeding more than usual.
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Considering that hormonal birth-control pills often regulate and lessen periods—in fact, some doctors prescribe it specifically to lighten up heavy flows—it makes sense that if you switch to a non-hormonal pill or stop taking oral contraception completely, you're going to be going through your tampons faster. And although IUDs like Mirena also lighten periods, Ashton says that "non-hormonal IUDs tend to cause heavier periods in most women." While this is generally normal, see a healthcare professional if your heavy bleeding continues three months after insertion.
While many younger women might not think that they qualify for this category, perimenopause—aka the four- to 10-month transition leading up to menopause—can begin when women are as young as 30. You can't predict exactly when you're going to become menopausal, but Susan Wysocki, a nurse practitioner and board member of the American Sexual Health Association, says "menstrual changes are the first sign that there are changes related to menopause."
Anticoagulants, often referred to as blood thinners, are often taken to help people reduce and break up potentially dangerous blood clots. While anticoagulants like aspirin allow blood to flow through your body more easily, thus decreasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke, they also allow blood to flow more freely down there, according to research from the Royal Free Hospital in London. Your MD could help you figure out what meds might be best to prevent this from happening.
Abnormally heavy periods might also be a sign of blood disorder. While there are many different types of blood conditions, two to four million Americans suffer from von Willebrand disease (VWD), which means they don't have a specific blood-clotting protein, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. See your doc if you think you might have this problem.
Uterine fibroids are small, non-cancerous growths inside the uterus. And while they may sound scary, they're actually much more common than you'd think. One study from the Birmingham Women's Hospital found that 70% of women will have at least one before the time they reach 50—and one of the main symptoms of uterine fibroids is heavy bleeding, sometimes with blood clots or bleeding in between periods. "It can be an issue that in some cases can incapacitate a woman for a couple of times a year," says Wysocki. "And anything that incapacitates a woman from carrying out her regular functioning should be looked into." Sometimes the solution can be simple as going on birth control, getting an IUD, or taking another form of non-contraceptive medication.
According to the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Foundation, up to 10% of women have PCOS—and approximately 50% of those women don't even realize they have it. Women with PCOS can get a cluster of cysts (often compared to a strand of pearls) on their ovaries that could lead to heavier periods. According to Wysocki, ovulation, which is irregular for women with PCOS, triggers the conditions for the lining of the uterus to shed. If that trigger is absent, the uterine lining continues to thicken and later causes much bloodier periods.
Yes, this includes infections of the sexually transmitted variety. "Gonorrhea, chlamydia, or any infection on the lining of the uterus can cause heavy bleeding," Wysocki says. So if you have been having unprotected sex and are noticing unusual menstruation, it's a good idea to see a doctor ASAP. If you do have an STD, there are many medications that can help you out.
The article ​7 Reasons Your Period Is Heavier Than Usual originally appeared on Women's Health.

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