Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Heavy Period? The Top Causes of Debilitating Menstrual Cycles Uncovered

Some people share a little TMI (too much information). As one of my good friends said, as a dietitian, you are part nutrition expert, part behavioral expert and part therapist. And granted, I’d expect my female clients to ask me questions about their bodily functions (from constipation to the color of pee). But when random girls I don't know well start telling me about their heavy menstrual cycles and asking about herbal remedies, it’s TMI. I’m not a doctor, you’re okay and it's Friday night and we are at a bar for crying out loud. But, naturally curious, I began to wonder why some women complain about abnormally long periods, debilitating cramping, bloating and a 1-week a month total meltdown.

So I went searching and found some common causes of heavy periods include:

- Hormone imbalances - the pill can help, sometimes.
- Uterine fibroid tumors - these are typically benign (non-cancerous). The causes are not known but these tumors rely on estrogen for growth.
- Cervical polyps - small growths on around the cervix
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) - typically caused by a STD though some women get PID after childbirth or a gynecological procedure.
- Cervical cancer - yearly pap smears are vital for catching this cancer early!
- Endometrial cancer
- Bleeding disorders
- Diseases such as lupus, cirrhosis of the liver, diabetes, thyroid and pituitary disorders

If you have heavy bleeding and/or cramping and pain, don’t just wait it out while popping Advil. Instead, talk to your physician to rule out any medical conditions that may be causing changes to your cycle. In addition, may sure your physician runs lab tests including CBC, thyroid functioning and an iron panel.

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