heavy periods

What are Heavy Periods (Menorrhagia)?

Heavy Periods (Menorrhagia) can occur on their own or in combination with other symptoms, such as period pain (dysmenorrhoea). The amount of blood lost during a period varies from one woman to another, but the average blood loss during a period is two to three tablespoons. Periods are generally regarded as heavy when the blood loss is regularly more than this and they interfere with every day life.

Specialist in treating Heavy Periods (Menorrhagia)

Mr Burrell has a special interest in treating women with Heavy Periods (Menorrhagia) and offers conservative treatments as well as the latest advances in endometrial ablation.

Symptoms of Heavy Periods (Menorrhagia)

Women with Heavy Periods (Menorrhagia) may typically:-
  • Need to change a pad or tampon every one to three hours
  • Need to use both pads and tampons at the same time (double protection)
  • Need to change pads or tampons during the night
  • Pass large blood clots
  • Bleed through clothes or bedding ('flooding')
  • Be anaemic

Conditions that can cause Heavy Periods (Menorrhagia)

The exact reasons why periods may become heavy aren't fully understood, however there are certain conditions that can make them more likely such as:-

  • Fibroids or polyps (growths of tissue) in your womb
  • Endometriosis - a condition in which cells that normally line the womb grow outside the womb in other parts of the body
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease - an infection of the reproductive organs, usually caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome PCOS - a condition in which the ovaries aren't working properly
  • Bleeding disorders
  • An underactive thyroid
  • Medications such as anticoagulants


Heavy Periods (Menorrhagia) and/or irregular menstrual bleeding can be investigated and if required there are a number of treatment options available. These may include treatment with medication, insertion of a Mirena coil, an endometrial ablation (a modern minimally invasive surgical technique) or a hysterectomy.

A pelvic examination will be performed together with an ultrasound scan to check for any cause of the bleeding such as endometrial polyps or fibroids. Depending on what these reveal the following may also be performed:-

  • Blood tests
  • An endometrial biopsy - a small sample of the womb lining
  • A hysteroscopy which uses a small telescope to look inside the uterus