Cause For Abnormal Menstrual Flow
Menstruation is a natural process of discharging blood and tissues from the uterus, which happens when the egg that is released from the ovaries doesn’t get fertilized. This means that no pregnancy took place and your body is getting ready for the next cycle. On an average the cycle takes place from 28 to 30 days, although it varies and differs with every woman.
Most of us experience regular cycles although there may be some who would experience abnormalities in their cycle. Abnormalities may include heavy blood flow, very low blood flow, severe pain, irregular time periods, etc.
Menorrhagia or Heavy Menstrual bleeding is an abnormal bleeding from the uterus. It refers to a condition in which a woman looses more blood than usual during menstruation. Bleeding may last more than 7 days or it may be heavy with passage of large clots and may require frequent changing of pads.
Lets go through the symptoms first:-
- Heavy or prolonged, more than seven days.
- Inter-menstrual bleeding which refers to vaginal bleeding at any time during the menstrual cycle other than during normal menstruation.
- Severe cramping and pain in the lower abdomen
- This may cause fatigue due to blood loss and reduction in the number of oxygen carrying cells.
There are factors that can contribute to long term irregular or abnormal menstrual bleeding. Some of the factors are as follows:-
- Imbalance in hormones which leads to excessive build-up of blood in the inner lining of the womb. Conditions such as hypothyroidism (low levels of thyroxin), polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and hyperprolactinemia can affect the menstrual cycle.
- Fibroids, polyps and other abnormal growths in the womb. Fibroid tumors are non-cancerous tumors that grow in the uterine muscle. They usually affect women in their 30s or 40s. Polyps are abnormal growths of tissue that can be found in any organ that has blood vessels, like nose and uterus.
- Side effects of Copper-Intrauterine Contraceptive devices and Birth Control pills.
- Side effects of drugs such as aspirin.
- Some women may be taking blood thinners, which can also affect the regular blood flow.
- Pregnancy disorders such as miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
- Inherited bleeding disorders. Von Wille brand’s disease which is the most common hereditary bleeding disorder and may arise from a quantitative or qualitative deficiency a multimeric protein that is required for platelet adhesion.
- Platelet dysfunction
- Adenomyosis- where the glands from the lining of the womb become embedded in the inner muscle layer.
- Infection on the womb lining, in fallopian tubes and ovaries.
- Thyroid, liver or kidney diseases.
- Over-consumption of Alcohol can also affect the hormonal levels and can in turn upset the normal cycle.
- Stress, irregular sleeping hours.
- Uterine Cancer, which is the result of the abnormal growth of cells that have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body. The first sign is most often heavy vaginal bleeding that may or may not associate with a menstrual period.
If you have irregular cycle or flow, you need to consult with your gynecologist to determine the cause of it. A physical examination, an ultra sound, a blood test can be done. The tests can indicate whether the irregularity in your cycle is caused by a more serious disorder or not.
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