Periods can vary

Occasionally, a woman’s menstrual cycle will be heavier or lighter than usual. When this happens, you should look at your health, diet, and other changes in your life and body. These may help determine what might be causing your menstrual changes. A normal period lasts about 3-5 days and includes a total blood loss of 30-40 milliliters (ml).

Abnormal periods, however, deviate from this norm. For example, heavy bleeding, called menorrhagia, is defined as blood loss of more than 60 ml. Generally, you can go by your own experience to know when your period is changing its flow. Here are four potential causes of heavier or lighter menstrual cycles.

Birth control changes

Changes in birth control can often lead to a heavier flow (though the birth control patch can cause lighter periods). This is a normal reaction, due to changing hormone levels. You should see your periods go back to normal as your body adjusts. If you are using a product like Implanon, you may be especially prone to heavier menstrual cycles, as well as other issues such as mood swing, headaches, depression, and acne. In general, these symptoms ease up after a few months.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a bacterial infection of a woman’s reproductive organs. Caused by untreated STDs, multiple sexual partners, douching, and prior bouts of PID (According to the CDC), this disease can present itself as a heavier than normal menstrual flow. Other symptoms include pain during sex, green vaginal discharge, nausea, and fever. PID also makes it harder to conceive, with 1 in 8 women who have the condition experiencing difficulty achieving a pregnancy, according to the CDC.

Uterine fibroids

Fibroids affect nearly 70 percent of white women and 80 percent of African American women by the time they turn 50. These non cancerous tumors in the uterus may be connected to genetics, as well as higher levels of estrogen and progesterone.

While fibroids in the uterus may or may not cause symptoms, one potential symptom can be abnormal periods, especially a heavy menstrual flow. Treatment for uterine fibroids vary, but can include a minimally invasive procedure such as uterine fibroid embolization, which starves the fibroids of nutrients so that they shrink.


Up to 20 percent of women find it difficult to continue with their daily activities in the face of a painful uterine condition called adenomyosis (ad-uh-no-my-oh-sis). This growth of the uterine lining into the uterine wall creates significant symptoms. One of the symptoms is heavy menstruation, others include pelvic pain, and frequent urination. The condition can be located throughout the entire uterus or localized in one spot.

Viva Eve may be able to help abnormal periods

The doctors at Viva Eve are specialists in uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), a minimally-invasive treatment for fibroids and adenomyosis. We provide high-quality, personalized care for each and every patient we see. We’ ll partner with you to determine the best way to treat your abnormal periods or other problematic symptoms.

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