Menstrual Flow/Bleeding

What Causes Heavy Menstrual Bleeding?

Heavy menstrual bleeding can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'life-threatening'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose heavy menstrual bleeding, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "heavy menstrual bleeding" as a symptom.  Here are eight possibilities (more below):
  • Bleeding Tendency
  • Fibroids
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Low Progesterone
  • A Weight Problem
  • Vitamin A Need
  • Endometrial Hyperplasia
  • Endometriosis

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
adult acne
much reduced sense of taste
severe leg cramps caused by walking
much reduced sense of smell
temple-based headaches
omnivorous diet
severe abdominal pain
sugar/sweet craving
late birth of first child
high low-calorie soda consumption
long term history of obesity
occasional painful urge to defecate
... and more than 50 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of heavy menstrual bleeding:
Cause Probability Status
Endometriosis 92% Confirm
Vitamin A Need 25% Unlikely
A Weight Problem 24% Unlikely
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome 2% Ruled out
Low Progesterone 2% Ruled out
Fibroids 1% Ruled out
Endometrial Hyperplasia 0% Ruled out
Bleeding Tendency 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate being premenopausal or being perimenopausal, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
How would you rate your average menstrual bleeding?
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ Light
→ Normal / average
→ Heavy
→ Very heavy
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate having light periods, having average menstrual bleeding or having heavy periods, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:

Fibroids can lead to heavier bleeding during periods.


Prolonged and/or heavy periods are a sign of hypothyroidism.

Progesterone Low or Estrogen Dominance

In a normal menstrual cycle, estrogen and progesterone regulate the buildup of the endometrium (uterine lining of blood and tissue), which is shed each month during menstruation.  Menorrhagia can occur because of an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone.  As a result of the imbalance, the endometrium keeps building up resulting in heavy bleeding when it is eventually shed.  Since hormone imbalances are often present in adolescents and in women approaching menopause, this type of menorrhagia (dysfunctional uterine bleeding) is fairly common in these groups.

Vitamin A Requirement

One study found serum retinol levels (a measure of vitamin A levels) to be significantly lower in women with menorrhagia than in healthy controls.  92% of those with lower levels experienced either complete relief or significant improvement after 25,000 IU of vitamin A was taken twice per day for 15 days.

Problems Caused By Being Overweight

Chronic menorrhagia and PMS is usually the result of deficient progesterone secretion or constant adipose-released estradiol from obesity or recent substantial weight loss.

Concerned or curious about your health?  Try The Analyst™
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