Health & Fitness 18 Reasons Why Your Period Is Suddenly Lasting Forever

07:25  22 october  2020
07:25  22 october  2020 Source:   womenshealthmag.co.uk

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If your period lasts longer than seven days, or if it suddenly changes significantly in length for three or more cycles in a row, that warrants a call to your ob-gyn, says Tom Toth If the bleeding lasts a few days or happens close to the end of your last cycle, it may seem like your period is continuing forever .

But if your period suddenly goes from lasting a week to lasting just a few days, there could be something Here, experts share the most common reasons that you period might go from six days to “Breastfeeding could delay ovulation for as long as 18 months, because the body is suppressing

Let's not be coy here: Bleeding out of your vagina every single month is already kind of a pain. So when your period decides to extend its visit a little longer than usual, it can be downright infuriating—and concerning, TBH.

a woman looking at the camera: A period typically lasts anywhere from two to seven days. But sometimes long, irregular and heavy periods can be caused by PCOS, fibroids and birth control. © Narisa Ladak - Getty Images A period typically lasts anywhere from two to seven days. But sometimes long, irregular and heavy periods can be caused by PCOS, fibroids and birth control.

Hey, in a perfect world your period would come knocking at the same time each month, without all those crappy symptoms, and hang around for a few days before quietly bidding you adieu. But this isn't a perfect world (alas), and menstruation—what it looks like, feels like, and how long it lasts—is different for every woman.

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A long period , or a period that lasts for more than 7 days, may be a sign of an underlying health It’s important to see your doctor to discuss why you might be experiencing this symptom. There are many reasons you may have a period that ’s longer than normal. Long periods can get in the way of

your periods become irregular suddenly . you have a period that lasts longer than 7 days. How to track your period . Tracking your period is a good idea even when your period is regular. how long your period lasted and whether or not it was longer or shorter than your last period .

You might have a period that goes on for a full week, while others might be more accustomed to only a few short days of bleeding. For some women, though, long periods happen from time to time—and it can be nerve-wracking when you're just not sure why your period won't go away.

So, here's a quick refresher on what a typical period length looks like, why long periods can happen, and how to know if it's time to ask a doc about how long your period is hanging around.

How long does a period typically last?

There's a pretty big range of normal when it comes to period length. 'Usually, it can last anywhere between five to seven days,' says Dr Jessica Shepherd, a gynaecologist. 'But there are times at which it can be a few days longer or shorter.'

Here's a little Menstrual Cycle 101: During each cycle, your body's sending hormones to thicken the lining of the uterus (endometrium) to make it a nice little home for a potentially fertilised egg. About midway through your cycle, one of your ovaries releases an egg, which then travels down the fallopian tubes to this newly plush uterus where, if it's not fertilised by a sperm, it flows out of the body, along with the uterine lining that built up.

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Missed or late periods happen for many reasons other than pregnancy. Common causes can range from hormonal imbalances to serious medical conditions. There are also two times in a woman’s life when it’s totally normal for her period to be irregular: when it first begins, and when menopause starts.

8 reasons (completely unrelated to pregnancy) why your period is late. Got a late period but a negative pregnancy test? But before we start, it's also probably worth mentioning that it ’s completely normal for the length of your menstrual cycle to vary sometimes - and it may not actually be caused by

While this process is the same for nearly every woman, the length of their periods might differ depending on their specific hormonal shifts over the course of their cycle, which affects the endometrium development, and in turn, the number of days it takes for it to shed, Dr. Shepherd explains.

So, if your period is a day or two longer or shorter than your usual period length and you don't notice any other symptoms or issues that seem unusual for you (like extreme menstrual pain or cramps or very heavy bleeding), it's probably not a reason to be concerned.

When should you call your doc about long periods?

If your period lasts longer than seven days, or if it suddenly changes significantly in length for three or more cycles in a row, that warrants a call to your ob-gyn, says Dr Tom Toth, a reproductive endocrinologist at Boston IVF. It's also worth seeing your doc if you're soaking a pad or tampon every hour for several hours or passing clots.

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“ Your period is considered missed if you have gone more than one to two weeks past the expected start date.” Our bodies are so complex that the potential “The number one cause for a missed period is pregnancy!” says Dr. Schellhammer. She advises taking a home pregnancy test if you are sexually

A period that lasts one or two days could be a sign of pregnancy, but there are many other reasons for a If your period typically lasts several days and suddenly becomes much shorter, it could be Most women who breastfeed will resume their periods around 9 to 18 months after their baby is born.

That doesn't necessarily mean you're dealing with something serious, but you want to get to the root of your period problem sooner rather than later. That's because once you're north of seven days and still bleeding, you're at an increased risk for menorrhagia.

Simply put, menorrhagia is when bleeding is too heavy and interferes with your quality of life or requires interventions like blood transfusions, iron transfusions, medications or surgical procedures, Dr. Shepherd explains. Menorrhagia can also lead to other issues, like anaemia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Anaemia can cause you to experience fatigue, weakness, and, in severe cases, nausea, vomiting and dizziness. Taking iron supplements can help improve symptoms, but you need to see your doc to get an the cause of the heavy bleeding.

Here's what might be causing your super long periods, and what you can do about each cause

1. You have an IUD

One of the most common causes of long periods in younger women are intrauterine devices (IUDs), also known as 'the coil,' a type of birth control placed directly into your cervix.

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Reasons why your period might be delayed. A typical menstrual cycle is considered to be 21 to 35 days. Substances that can help to induce a period are called emmenagogues. Be aware that some you experience bleeding in between periods or after sex. your periods suddenly change

If it is sudden the it means that you have made some sudden changes to it also. If you have had the phone for a long time then these could be the reasons If you have an iPhone too, sometimes if its old it's battery starts to function weird and less effectively. Sometimes my phone even lasts for hours on

These can cause abnormally long bleeding, especially right after insertion, Dr. Toth says. Longer, heavier periods are a known side effect of the copper IUD.

If the prolonged periods don't settle down after three cycles, it's time to go back to your doctor, as it's possible the IUD moved out of position or simply doesn't play nice with your body.

2. You're ovulating

Menstruation is your body's way of getting rid of the extra blood and tissue it saved up in case your egg got fertilised, but sometimes the hormonal signals get crossed and you can bleed when you release the egg too, says Dr Sherry Ross, an ob-gyn and author of She-ology.

This occurrence is known as 'intermenstrual bleeding,' and it happens as a result of the slight dip in oestrogen that happens around ovulation, which can cause spotting. If the bleeding lasts a few days or happens close to the end of your last cycle, it may seem like your period is continuing forever. It's not normally something to worry about, but if it changes suddenly or if you have serious pain, see your doctor.

3. You're pregnant (yes, really)

Wait just a second: Isn't the tell-tale sign of pregnancy no periods? Yes, but not all the time, Dr. Toth says. 'A common cause for abnormal menses, including longer bleeding, is pregnancy,' he explains, adding that typical symptoms of pregnancy, like nausea, may be absent. 'Any time a woman has unusual bleeding, it's always best to eliminate possibility of pregnancy with a blood test for pregnancy for reassurance,' he says.

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4. You're on hormonal birth control

Anything that manipulates your hormones has the potential to make your periods longer, says Dr. Toth. This includes all types of hormonal birth control like the pill, patches, rings, shots, and implants. The good news is that there are lots of options with varying levels and types of hormones, so if your body doesn't respond well to one type or dosage, there's a good chance you can find a different one that will work.

The length of your period is just one factor your doctor will use to help you determine which type of birth control works best for you.

5. You had an early miscarriage

Early miscarriages are much more common than you may realise. Up to half of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, often before the woman even realises she was pregnant, according to the March of Dimes.

Sometimes the only sign is an extra-heavy or long period. Your menstrual cycle length should return to normal within one to two cycles; if it stays abnormally long after three cycles, call your doctor, Dr. Toth says.

About one in 100 women suffer from repeat miscarriages, so it's important to rule out a condition that affects fertility, like endometriosis.

6. You have PCOS

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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects about 10 percent of women of childbearing age, per the Office of Women's Health (OWH). It's named for the cysts that grow on the ovaries, preventing eggs from maturing, and often causing fertility issues.

PCOS also wreaks havoc on hormone levels, causing weight gain, excess hair growth, and (you guessed it) prolonged periods, Dr. Toth says. You'd think that not ovulating would give you a free pass on bleeding, but the opposite is often true, he adds—no egg means long, wacky cycles.

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If you're experiencing super-long periods along with other signs of PCOS, like migraines, facial hair growth, and weight gain, talk to your ob-gyn about getting tested for the condition.

7. You have thyroid issues

One in eight women will suffer from low thyroid function, or hypothyroidism, at some point in their lives, according to the OWH.

Your thyroid is a little butterfly-shaped gland that controls the hormones that regulate many systems in your body, including how fast you burn calories, how fast your heart beats, and yes, menstruation. Having too little thyroid hormone can cause your period to be super long and heavy, the OWH explains.

Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, fatigue, and hair loss, so if you're experiencing any of those, along with longer-than-normal periods, bring it up to your doctor, says Dr. Ross.

8. You have an underlying blood disorder

It's rare, but it's possible that extra-long periods are a sign of an underlying illness, like a blood disease, says Dr. Toth. Some of the underlying diseases associated with bleeding, like haemophilia or Von Willebrand disease, are genetic, so if you have this you likely already know about it.

Still, if your periods are lasting a super-long time, and you've already been cleared for other conditions, it's worth checking in with your doctor about tests to rule out a blood disorder that you might not be aware of.

9. You have uterine polyps or fibroids

'Uterine abnormalities, such as polyps or fibroids, can cause prolonged periods because they distort the endometrial cavity which can lead to increased blood flow,' Dr. Toth explains. Basically, your body senses something in your uterus that isn't supposed to be there, and tries extra hard to get rid of it.

Polyps and fibroids sound scary, but they're pretty common—up to 80% of women will have at least one before they're 50. On their own, they don't indicate a serious disease, like cancer. Important to note: Black women are two to three times more likely to have fibroids than white women, and the reasons for their increased risk are not well understood or well studied due to lack of representation of Black women in research, notes Dr. Horton. 'Black women are also more likely to be hospitalised due to fibroids due to heavy, prolonged vaginal bleeding, pain, and symptoms from anaemia.'

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But for many people, these benign growths don't have any symptoms, and if they do, it's usually prolonged periods, says Dr. Toth. Most likely your doc will just recommend keeping an eye on them, but if they cause pain or grow very large they can be surgically removed.

10. You have undiagnosed cervical cancer

Abnormal vaginal bleeding—such as bleeding after vaginal sex or bleeding and spotting between periods—can be a sign of cervical cancer. (Yet another reason to check in with your doctor if you notice something strange going on with your period.)

Because cervical abnormalities can be detected through Pap and HPV tests, make sure you stay on top of those, and always tell your doctor about your family history of female cancers.

11. Your body's gearing up for menopause

Oh yes, simply getting older can mess with your period. Menopause, which technically means you've gone 12 or more months without a period, hits women around age 50. However, your body starts the natural decline in hormones that leads up to menopause (a.k.a. perimenopause) as early as 35, says Christiane Northrup, MD, author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom.

When this happens, you may notice your periods getting longer or shorter, your cycle becoming more random, and other slight changes in your menstruation.

If you've ruled out everything else, and you're in your mid- to late-30s, your prolonged periods might simply be due to the natural process of ageing. There is, however, such a thing as early menopause, which can affect women even in their twenties. So talk to your doctor if this runs in your family or if you're showing other signs of menopause, like a low sex drive or insomnia.

12. You’re under a lot of stress

The body’s reaction to stress can change the levels of many hormones that cause your period to last longer than necessary, says Dr. Horton.

'Stress can cause delayed ovulation, causing your period to start later than expected, which can make your periods longer and heavier than usual,' she explains. 'Identifying and eliminating stressors in your life will help regulate your periods over time. Meditation, getting enough sleep, and regular exercise are also effective ways to manage stress.'

13. You’re taking certain medications

Medications such as anti-inflammatories, aspirin, or other blood thinners can also affect your menstrual cycle, says Dr. Horton.

'Aspirin and blood thinners prevent blood clots but can increase the flow of your period,' she explains. 'These medications can thin the blood so much that it causes your menstrual cycle to be heavy and last longer than usual.'

As such, it is important to take medicines as directed and if your period becomes heavier or prolonged, to contact your doctor, says Dr. Horton. You may need blood work to determine if you are taking too much medicine, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories may be used to treat your heavy and prolonged periods.

14. You’re experiencing an ectopic pregnancy

An unusually heavy period can be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy found outside of the uterus, most commonly in the fallopian tubes), says Dr. Horton. Taking a pregnancy test can help you figure out if that's what's going on.

'If you have a positive pregnancy test and have pain and vaginal bleeding, you should be evaluated,' she says. 'Your doctor will get blood work and a pelvic ultrasound to see where the pregnancy is located and, if it is ectopic, treat it with medicine or surgery.' Unfortunately, it's not safe for a mother to carry an ectopic pregnancy.

15. You’re actually pregnant and have placenta previa

This type of heavy vaginal bleeding is actually unrelated to a period, though you might think it is one if you don't yet know you're pregnant. Placenta previa is a condition that happens during pregnancy where the placenta covers the cervix, explains Dr. Horton.

Patients will usually have heavy vaginal bleeding throughout their pregnancy and will need to deliver their baby by C-section. Take a pregnancy test and see your doctor to figure out the best treatment method.

16. You have adenomyosis

Adenomyosis is a condition where the uterus lining, called the endometrium, is found in the muscular portion of the uterus. It is common in women who are in their 40s and have heavy, prolonged, and painful periods, says Dr. Horton. It’s also common to experience painful sex and frequent miscarriages with this condition, which is often difficult to diagnose until other possibilities are ruled out.

'With adenomyosis, the uterus is usually larger than average, and that leads to heavy, painful periods,' she explains. Your doctor may order a pelvic ultrasound or MRI to help make the diagnosis.

There is, unfortunately, no cure for adenomyosis, though symptoms are treatable, says Dr. Horton, so talk to your doc about your options.

17. You have pelvic inflammatory disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a condition caused by sexually transmitted bacteria, like that from gonorrhea and chlamydia, traveling from the cervix into the fallopian tube. PID can cause bleeding that is heavier than normal, spotting between menstrual cycles or spotting after sex.

'If you have abnormal bleeding and pain, get a pelvic exam and get tested for sexually transmitted infections,' says Dr. Horton. They can be treated with medication, which will stop the progression of PID too. Left untreated though, and PID can cause lasting issues with fertility.

18. You’re medically overweight or obese

Obesity can affect your menstrual cycle, says Dr. Horton, because larger bodies produce excess oestrogen, which can affect how often you have your periods and eventually cause you to stop ovulating regularly. 'When you stop having periods every month, the lining of the uterus will become thick, and eventually shed, resulting in very heavy and prolonged bleeding.'

Losing weight (ideally 15% of your body weight) can help you regulate your periods, she says. Your doctor may also prescribe birth control pills or progesterone to help with the prolonged heaving bleeding.

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