Part 1 Why Am I Having Such Heavy Bleeding: Hormone Imbalance
The menstrual cycle is regulated by very precise interactions of hormones from several glands and organs in the body. The main activity of these hormones is to make the ovary release an egg (ovulation) and to prepare the uterus for pregnancy. If a pregnancy does not occur, the lining of the uterus is shed resulting in a period. The whole process then repeats again.
Heavy menstrual bleeding can occur when there is some imbalance in these hormones.
This imbalance prevents the release of the egg from the ovary, causes a buildup of the lining of the uterus, and results in an instability of the lining which makes it more prone to shedding.
What causes these hormone imbalances?
Stress, worry, and anxiety have many negative affects on the body including on the menstrual cycle. The main way that this happens is through prevention of the release of an egg from the ovary (anovulation). Many women under a lot of stress actually miss their periods while others have heavy or prolonged menstrual cycles. Both effects are caused by the same problem.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
This is an illness characterized by obesity, hair growth in male patterns, problems with the control of blood sugar, infertility, and period abnormalities. The woman with PCOS has mostly irregular periods but at times she may experience prolonged or excessive menstrual cycles.
Illness of Other Parts of the Body
Illness within other organs in the body can have a indirect affect on the menstrual cycle.
Heavy bleeding can be cause by either excessive (Hyperthyroid) or diminished (hypothyroid) thyroid hormone release.
These tumors produce prolactin, a hormone which can lead to anovulation. This more commonly results in no periods at all. But prolonged anovulation can less commonly lead to heavy bleeding.
Liver or Kidney Disease
These illnesses cause abnormal bleeding by their effects on the menstrual hormones.
Steroids, anti-seizure medications, and some medicines used to treat psychiatric conditions can cause heavy bleeding through their interaction with the organs which produce and regulate the menstrual hormones.
How Can I Know If I Have a Hormonal Imbalance?
It is hard to know if you have one of these problems. There are some signs and symptoms which can suggest this but do not make the diagnosis of hormone imbalance completely.
- weight gain resulting in change of waist size
- excessive thirst or urination
- growth of the thyroid gland in your neck
- excessive hair growth in male patterns (under chin or nose, on chest, on inner surface of thighs)
Your doctor can take a history and perform an examination along with some simple lab tests to diagnose these problems.