Periods don’t stop for pandemics and according to the World Bank, “Every day, some 800 million women and girls menstruate. Being able to manage their menstruation safely, hygienically and with confidence and dignity is critical not just for their health and education, but also for economic development and overall gender equality.” The coronavirus pandemic or these ongoing three years of Covid-19 highlights, or even exacerbates, persisting challenges related to menstruation when millions of women and girls were already struggling to meet their menstrual needs before the current crisis and with an internalised sense of shame that is often linked to this natural process.
Some women experience menstrual periods that are abnormally heavy or with prolonged bleeding. Has your monthly menstrual flow changed? Is it getting heavier or lasting longer over time? Do you tend to have heavy bleeding? Is there a need for you to change the pad multiple times? If the answer to these questions is a “yes”, chances are that you may be suffering from a condition called Menorrhagia and you need to consult a doctor on an immediate basis.
Although heavy menstrual bleeding is a common concern, most women don’t experience blood loss severe enough to be defined as menorrhagia. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Payal Narang, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Motherhood Hospital in Lullanagar, revealed, “With menorrhagia, you can’t maintain your routine activities because of so much blood loss and cramping. There is fatigue an immense weakness. This condition is commonly seen in many women but they ignore it.”
According to Dr Payal Narang, menorrhagia is also a side effect of an intrauterine device (IUD). However, some of its common causes include:
· Fibroids, which are benign enlargements of muscle in the wall of the womb.
· Endometrial polyps. Endometriosis. Pelvic inflammatory disease ie infection of the pelvis. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
· Certain medicines.
· Thyroid problems.
· Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Dr Payal Narang highlighted, “The symptoms of heavy bleeding are periods that tend to last more than a week, frequent changing of pads or tampons, waking up in the night to change pads or tampons, wearing several pads at a time, fatigue, cramping and abdominal pain and passing bigger blood clots during menses. Once you notice these symptoms then consult the doctor without any further delay.”
He advised that women should not ignore the problem of heavy bleeding as during menses it can take a toll on your overall well-being and even your reproductive health and impact your ability to do the daily chores with ease. He pointed out that menorrhagia decreases iron levels to increase the risk of iron deficiency anaemia and the red flags of anaemia are pale skin, weakness and fatigue.
Asserting that the treatment of menorrhagia varies from one woman to another, Dr Payal Narang said, “The treatment can be based the diagnosis of an underlying condition. It could be either with medication or surgery. Ignoring the symptoms and not seeking treatment can lower the quality of life. One can get depressed, anxious and stressed due to the severity of the symptoms.”