Heavy Menstrual Flow Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand heavy menstrual flow symptoms, including 5 causes & common questions.

  1. 5 Possible Heavy Menstrual Flow Causes
  2. Real-Life Stories
  3. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  4. Statistics
  5. Related Articles

5 Possible Heavy Menstrual Flow Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced heavy menstrual flow. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids are benign growths in the wall of the uterus and most often appear during childbearing years. Fibroids are almost never associated with cancer.

Those at higher risk include black women and women who started their periods at a young age. Other risk factors are vitamin D deficiency, poor diet, obesity, drinking alcohol, and family history of fibroids.

Fibroids can cause pelvic pressure and pain, severe menstrual cramping, and heavy menstrual bleeding that leads to anemia. Quality of life is diminished due to the chronic pain and discomfort. Though fibroids don't always make it impossible to become pregnant, infertility and pregnancy loss may occur as well as pre-term delivery.

Fibroids can be diagnosed through a routine pelvic exam or ultrasound in a doctor's office.

A gynecologist can prescribe various medications to ease the symptoms and regulate the menstrual cycle. There are also a number of surgical techniques, some minimally invasive, to shrink or remove the fibroids while leaving the uterus in place. Hysterectomy, or removal of the uterus, is an option in some cases.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: vaginal bleeding, pelvis pain, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), painful periods, irregular period

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Polycystic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition very common in women of reproductive age, resulting in menstrual abnormalities as well as an excess of the androgen testosterone. PCOS can affect a woman's overall health and appearance and often has a si...

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Heavy Menstrual Flow Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your heavy menstrual flow

Symptoms of menopause

Menopause is the name for the natural process by which the menstrual cycle (period) stops happening in a woman. Usually, the process is gradual (takes months or years) and occurs from the age of 45 to 55 years. Menopause is officially diagnosed once a woman stops having a period for 12 months continuously. A woman with menopause will notice a decrease in the number and regularity of her periods until they completely stop. In addition, she may notice a number of symptoms that occur as a result of decreased estrogen levels, such as hot flashes, changes in mood, sleep problems, vaginal dryness, changes in libido, and changes in sexual function. Certain medications exist that can decrease these symptoms.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: fatigue, delay in or irregular periods, vaginal discharge, anxiety, trouble sleeping

Symptoms that always occur with symptoms of menopause: delay in or irregular periods

Urgency: Self-treatment

Overactive thyroid

The thyroid is a small, bow-tie shaped gland in your neck. Its main job is to produce thyroid hormone (known as T3 or T4), which serves a wide array of functions throughout the body.

When too much thyroid hormone is released, the body’s metabolism gets ramped up, causing symptoms ...

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Abnormal vaginal bleeding as a result of iud use

Abnormal vaginal bleeding – meaning it is abnormally heavy and/or occurs when it is not time for a normal menstrual period – is a common complaint when there is an IUD (intrauterine device) in place.

An IUD is an effective contraceptive, but as a foreign body it can cause inflammation of the uterine lining and abnormal bleeding.

If not corrected, anemia can result from this increased blood loss. Quality of life can also be affected.

Pain during vaginal bleeding can be a sign of a serious complication such as an ectopic pregnancy or perforated uterus. This is a medical emergency and if suspected, take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Diagnosis is made by physical examination and ultrasound, to determine whether the IUD is still properly placed and to rule out any other causes for the bleeding.

Treatment involves medications to inhibit bleeding, and possibly removal of the IUD and use of a different birth control method.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: bloody vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding, heavy menstrual flow, yellow or green vaginal discharge

Symptoms that never occur with abnormal vaginal bleeding as a result of iud use: unintentional weight loss, yellow or green vaginal discharge

Urgency: Wait and watch

Real-life Stories

Once your story is reviewed and approved by our editors, it will live on Buoy as a helpful resource for anyone who may be dealing with something similar. If you want to learn more, try Buoy Assistant.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Heavy Menstrual Flow

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • When was your last menstrual period?
  • Is your period regular? (Within the same 8 days of the month)
  • Are you sexually active?
  • Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Heavy Menstrual Flow Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your heavy menstrual flow

Heavy Menstrual Flow Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced heavy menstrual flow have also experienced:

  • 19% Vaginal Bleeding
  • 19% Bloody Vaginal Discharge
  • 5% Abdominal Cramps (Stomach Cramps)

People who have experienced heavy menstrual flow were most often matched with:

  • 42% Uterine Fibroids
  • 42% Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • 14% Symptoms Of Menopause

People who have experienced heavy menstrual flow had symptoms persist for:

  • 63% Over a month
  • 14% Less than a week
  • 10% Less than a day

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant (a.k.a. the quiz).

Heavy Menstrual Flow Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your heavy menstrual flow

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