Heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding between periods is a regular occurrence for women suffering from uterine fibroids. In fact, fibroids are the most common reason why women have abnormally heavy periods.
Heavy, lengthy periods are often the first symptom that indicates fibroid tumors. Sometimes a woman has bled abnormally for such a long time that she does not recognize it as abnormal. The menstrual is abnormally heavy if she experiences any of the following:
- menstruation lasting more than 7 days;
- changing sanitary products more frequently than every 3-4 hours or more than one pad at a time;
- blood clots (quarter size or larger);
- bleeding episodes where blood “gushes” or “floods” out.
While fibroids are the most common reason heavy periods, other conditions like polyps and adenomyosis can also cause these symptoms. The best way to find out why a woman has heavy periods is through imaging. The most common imaging tool used is a pelvic ultrasound. Most gynecologists have this equipment in their offices and it’s why it’s the most commonly used imaging device. At the Atlanta fibroid Center, we use a much more sophisticated imaging tool called Magnetic Resonance Imaging (or MRI). It shows the uterus to much greater detail allowing us to diagnose not only fibroids but other conditions resulting in heavy bleeding, like adenomyosis. While adenomyosis is easily diagnosed on MRI, it is just as easily missed on a pelvic ultrasound.
Most often, bleeding occurs due to submucous fibroids, less often due to intramural fibroids and their active growth, and never from a subserosal fibroid. Bleeding as a symptom of fibroids can be manifested as:
– longer than usual menstruation;
– blood color changing from light red to dark;
– presence of large blood clots in the discharge;
– bleeding between periods.
Fibroid bleeding usually increases with age and stops with the onset of menopause when hormone levels decrease. Any bleeding after menopause must be discussed and addressed with your doctor.
If you suffer from heavy periods or bleeding between periods and suspect you may have uterine fibroids, please call the Atlanta Fibroid Center at 770-953-2600 or make an appointment online today.