June 2, 2010

Prolonged Menstrual Period

Posted in Category : Women's Health

A prolonged state of menses is also called hypermenorrhagia. This condition affects a small percentage of women due to a number of conditions that include congenital uterine conditions, injury, and infections. Women who have an especially large uterus can be prone to this problem as well. Menses occur during the last phase of a menstrual cycle. The first day is counted as the first day of the period and that becomes the baseline to judge whether a period is on time or not. The process of menstruation occurs when the body is in the luteal phase and detects that pregnancy has not happened. The body then starts a process that is triggered by the destruction of the corpus luteum in the ovary. This shuts down progesterone production and an inflammatory process then occurs to destroy the endometrial tissue in the uterus. This is the reason for pain and dysmenorrhea of menses. The body destroys the endometrial tissue like it would any other tissue, through inflammation. There can be a number of problems that can disturb this cycle and cause amenhorrea or the lack of menses.

On the other hand, there are problems like hypermenorrhea where too much flow is experienced. A standard loss of fluid during this time should just amount to 80ml. This amount can sometimes be increased along with increased duration. The reasons for this include, malformations like a bicornate uterus, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, retained placentas, and an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies that are miscarried can sometimes be mistaken for a heavy period but if a previous pregnancy test proved positive and then massive menses occurred, you should see a doctor immediately. Inflammation is the other cause of heavy bleeding. This can be because of sexually transmitted disease that causes pelvic inflammatory disease or PID. Cancerous growths and neoplasms are another reason for heavy bleeding. Trauma to the uterus and vigorous and violent sexual behavior can cause perforations in the uterus further causing hypermenorrhea. Deficiencies in the body can also cause heavy menstrual flow. These include anemia and coagulation problems that allow blood to flow without control.

Treating hypermenorrhea requires that the underlying causes be taken care of as hypermenorrhea is only a symptom and not a disease in itself. This condition should investigated by first conducting a transvaginal scan and a number of blood tests that can include thryroid and hormone level checks. Hormonal imbalances are also something to investigate.