Menorrhagia is the medical term for excessive bleeding during menstruation. It is a relatively common problem among women, and can be very inconvenient, if not painful. Causes of menorrhagia can vary widely, and if not evaluated by a doctor, some causes can become dangerous or even life-threatening.
During a normal menstrual period, approximately six to eight teaspoons of blood loss occurs. In women suffering from menorrhagia, however, this amount is significantly increased. In some cases, the woman might need to change her pads or tampons very frequently, and in other cases, bleeding may not able to be controlled satisfactorily with ordinary menstrual products. In more severe cases, there may also be interference with sleep at night, and there may be embarrassing or inconvenient situations during the day.
Some women may find, after consultation with a health care provider and appropriate examinations and testing, that they simply suffer from heavy periods, while others may be diagnosed with other dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB). DUB is often attributable to specific underlying disorders, such as uterine fibroids (non-cancerous tumors in the uterus), complications from IUD (intrauterine device) birth control, thyroid or other hormonal disorders, uterine cancer, or infections or injuries in the reproductive tract. Formal evaluation is essential to distinguish between benign and malignant underlying conditions.