As any group of women discussing the topic will realize, the monthly menstrual period varies widely from one woman to the next. Some women typically have light periods, while others are accustomed to heavier bleeding. Age matters too, as menopause can bring changes, including periods that are longer, shorter, heavier, or lighter. Likewise, menstrual cycles can vary at puberty and during adolescence. But if a period lasts more than seven days and is also very heavy, it could be a sign of a condition called menorrhagia, or heavy menstrual bleeding.
Although many report heavy menstrual bleeding, most women don't experience blood loss severe enough to be defined as menorrhagia. This is not only inconvenient and uncomfortable, it can signal more serious health conditions. Losing so much blood each month can also lead to anemia (low red blood cell count).
Fortunately, there are a number of treatments that can alleviate the discomfort of menorrhagia and also address underlying problems. At Yale Medicine, our obstetrician-gynecologists are experienced at treating a variety of bleeding disorders in women.