Many women struggle with long and heavy periods for years without knowing the reason behind it and the ways to manage and improve their symptoms.
Generally, women complain about their long menstrual periods and the discomfort they experience during that time, and how it disrupts their daily routine.
If you are here, you might probably be the one who is seeking help for yourself or your close ones about the long menstrual period.
If you have been struggling with a long period, it’s time you need to know what the long menstrual period is, the causes, and the treatment for it.
What is the duration of a normal period? Is there such a thing?
The average woman’s menstrual cycle is 28 days long, and the average period lasts for 3 to 5 days. This is just the ideal situation for most of the women but not what everyone experiences.
Every woman is unique and differs in their range of menstrual cycles. Some periods are short which may last for 2 to 3 days while some others are too long, lasting even more than a month.
What if my period lasts longer for more than a week? Is it normal?
A menstrual period that lasts longer than seven days is considered a long period and is called Menorrhagia in medical terms and may be a sign of a serious health condition. But, don’t worry. You are not alone. About 1 in every 20 women suffer from this condition.
Is a long period a cause of concern?
Depending on the circumstances, long periods might be a mild condition that can be easily controlled or the one that indicates a more serious underlying health issue.
You might suffer from heavy blood loss which leads to anemia with a lot of pain and discomfort. If you feel that your period interferes with your lifestyle, then it’s time you need to consult your doctor and address it immediately.
Why do long periods happen?
Long periods can be the result of a variety of factors such as health conditions, medications, stress, age, and lifestyle.
It can be annoying and nerve-wracking not knowing why your period lasts longer than normal and when it goes away.
Not all lengthy periods are harmful, but it’s good to know the underlying causes for longer periods can help you seek the appropriate treatment and prevent potential future complications.
Here are few potential reasons that might be a cause of your longer-than-average or longer-than-usual periods.
You would experience a longer period if your body is changing your hormone levels.
With each monthly cycle, the lining of the uterus prepares itself to nourish a fertilized egg and increased levels of estrogen and progesterone help thicken its walls.
At certain times, estrogen and progesterone levels stay suppressed which can result in a longer period.
You may also experience changes in hormonal levels due to different health conditions, such as thyroid disorders or polycystic ovary syndrome.
If you’re not bleeding excessively each day, or your period is comfortable without any issues, then don’t worry about this change.
Medications like steroids, blood thinners, and antipsychotics can disrupt your hormone levels and cause your menstrual period to last longer than usual.
If you are on any medication for other health conditions, it’s important to take the medicines as directed. If the problem persists, make sure to contact your doctor for alternate medication.
If you are super stressed, it can make your period longer or heavier or lead to mid-cycle bleeding. Stress can change the levels of many hormones that can cause delayed ovulation, causing your period to start later than expected, which can make your periods longer and heavier than usual.
Identify the cause of your stress and try to overcome it with meditation and regular exercises and therapy. Getting good sleep is also an effective way to manage stress.
Have you gained weight recently? Then, this might be the reason for your longer periods. Increased body fat leads to higher estrogen levels, which can make periods longer and heavier.
Fibroids and Polyps
If you are unfamiliar with these terms, these are abnormal growths of tissue that can occur in any organ, including the uterus (lining), that can cause long or heavy periods.
Generally, they are noncancerous, but it’s important to get them checked out before they can turn cancerous.
These don’t always require treatment, but they can be treated with hormonal medications or surgical removal.
Loss of early pregnancy may be the cause for an extra-heavy or long period. Normally, your menstrual cycle length returns to normal within one to two cycles. Consult the doctor, if it’s prolonged even after three cycles.
There are many other reasons for the longer periods like changed birth control methods, bleeding disorders, and endometrial cancer.
When to see a doctor?
A single long period is not usually a sign of serious medical complications. If you have long painful periods frequently affecting your lifestyle, then it’s time for you to speak to a doctor to find out the cause and start the treatment.
Delayed treatment may result in further complications and may require more invasive treatments in the future.