Many women develop heavy and irregular bleeding in the years before menopause because estrogen dominance causes the lining of the uterus to overgrow. Emotional stress of all kinds can make this worse. Instead of the normal monthly buildup and shedding of the uterine lining, too much endometrial tissue builds up and then breaks down in a disordered way that results in spotting or irregular heavy bleeding.
What do I mean by heavy bleeding? Many women experience a heavier flow on the first or second day of their periods, which slows them down a bit, but I consider this within the realm of normal. However, if your bleeding prevents you from leaving the house or participating fully in your life for more than two days per month, or if you’ve been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia, I suggest you to take action.
I always ask my patients with heavy bleeding if they are leaking their life’s blood into any dead-end job or relationship that doesn’t fully meet their needs. Are you giving more than you are receiving in return? Is someone or something draining your energy by being a kind of Dracula? Take some time alone, sit right down on the earth, and pray for guidance and a boost of energy for yourself.
Physical Causes of Heavy Periods
As I explain in the article “Heavy Menstrual Bleeding“, in addition to hormonal imbalance, physical conditions may impede the normal uterine contractions that help stop menstrual blood flow each month. Fibroid tumors are the most common physical reason for excessive bleeding. Whether or not a fibroid causes bleeding depends upon its location in the uterine wall. Bleeding is most often caused by submucosal fibroids, which are located right under the endometrium, the mucous membrane that lines the uterus.
Adenomyosis is another condition that can cause heavy bleeding. Adenomyosis results when the endometrial glands that line the uterus grow into the uterine muscle (the myometrium). When this happens, little lakes of blood form in the uterine wall that do not drain during menstruation. Over time, the uterus enlarges and becomes boggy, spongy, and engorged with blood, disrupting the normal uterine contraction patterns.
Since both fibroids and adenomyosis are associated with excess estrogen, minimal progesterone, too much prostaglandin F2-alpha, and frequently too much insulin, hormonal and physical factors are often present at the same time. Getting to the root cause of your heavy bleeding requires that you look all the factors at play: emotional, lifestyle, physical, hormonal, and, of course, your thoughts.
There are many options for addressing heavy bleeding. You can become familiar with them by reading Chapter 8 “Creating Pelvic Health and Power” in The Wisdom of Menopause paperback or ebook edition, or the article “Heavy Menstrual Bleeding” on www.drnorthrup.com.
© Christiane Northrup, Inc. All rights reserved. Excerpted with permission from The Wisdom of Menopause eBook, by Christiane Northrup, M.D. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
The bleeding is so that I can’t leave my home anymore. If I have a doctor’s appointment, I have to carry a bag with clothes, underwear. It’s like going to a trip
Yes, they are draining my energy and my life..
I am 43 years old and I am having this Uterine Fibroid Embolization very soon
I’m excited they are disappearing from my body. Please listen to me the hysterectomy should be the last resort, keep your uterus healthy, keep your ovaries too.. God Bless all women
im 33 yrs old never had regular periods if any …(2-4)days of moderate bleeeding then done …..tho been hemeraging for 5 -6 days now,first time in my life ive ever gone through an entire box of tampons in less than a day /…put a tampon in then 5-10min later bleed straight through…….whats wrong with me!?
My age 50 regular periods 3 or 4 days but have bleeding blood loss of day 3to7days Ian soreness please your answer
in my period 1day only few clotting & 2day start bleeding so which day i am count 1day please help me…this problem is start in first time so please help becouse i am plan to baby boy..
I am 42 years old and recently diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia. I have had heavy periods since I was a teen, but have never been diagnosed with anemia before. There are no changes to my menses or diet (I eat meat, fish & green leafy veggies regularly). Is it common to develop anemia after so many years being asymptomatic?
I so love when your mom said, This is the mother-daughter bag of shit . LOLShe aywals tells it straight. Thank you Kate for sharing your mom with us now and when she was writing all her books.I know I’m a better mother and daughter because of your mother’s work and because you both (as well as Ann) have allowed us to peer into your family dynamics letting us learn and grow from it.Laughter is so essential and does give us the inner smile that radiates out. I’ll aywals remember your two laughing, smiling faces in the back of my car.Keep shining- Annette
I am 58 yrs old.I havn’t had a period for 19 months.Today I am having slight brownish spotting.Any thoughts?
I am 61, sexually active, early menopause days (54) i had periods pf heavy bleeding but after DC it corrected itself. Now i had 5 days of spotting and bleeding , this did not start after sexual intercourse.i am waiting for PAP result. Do you think i have anything to worry about. I do not take any HRT meds only hypertension and cholestrol meds.
I experienced this…and your article sounds true to me. I didn’t make the changes…but life made them for me. Fascinating. Thank you.
exactly what i need .but with my broken english didnt cach the name of the herbs im 50 i stop taking pills five mon ago since every thing you teach us about pills,i start taking a fito formola named ‘red of max’ but i think it make it worse ,now i must take soft iron to bring back the big looss .this mor after 12 day im bleeding again cant take it anylonger .much love
My heavy bleeding ended just a few months after I divorced a “taker.” I haven’t had an incident since (10 years have passed). You’re a godsend: my docs back then shrugged and said there was nothing they could do. I felt so alone and so scared. I thought my body had suddenly gone full alien on me. I didn’t know how I was going to live with it. If a doc had told me what you just wrote, well, my goodness! I could have made life-enhancing changes sooner. Bless you and your work!
Thank you! In the mid80s when this first happened to me, there was so little info, so few options. But quest forsolutions other than hysterectomy led me to so much that has become central in my life. Love the Dracula metaphor! And appreciate your understandable explanation of how things work & various ‘new’ causes. Rock On! We keep on needing you!
I am 51 and never had a heavy period (thankfully) my entire life until one time last year. It was so heavy that it felt like it was literally draining out of me. I went to the Dr. and everything checked out ok. I told the Dr. maybe it was the last ‘hurrah’ and perhaps i was going out with a bang into menopause. I think this was correct. Funny how the mind and body work;)
This is what I am going through just woke up I am 51 and it never been this heavy. I feel so a shame how I have no control over this this month.
I am 53 and loaves of tissue have come out of me recently! I have been to doctors in the past and am attempting it again…I am a full time student these days so it has to be the clinic. I will read more and try to educate myself, I do always appreciate your fb posts and feel your healing intentions. I know the insulin thing plays a part and am grateful for the reminder!
Never pregnant, adenomyosis found during myomectomy, had D&C after blood thinners made menstrual flow heavier, can’t take hormones, flooding stopped for 18 mos after D&C. Almost 52…when might menopause officially start for me. My mom started meno at 52, but she was a smoker and started her first period two years later than me. Will my enlarged uterus begin to shrink when I hit meno? hysterectomy scares the bejeezus out of me.
Am 51.What do you recommend if hormonal intervention cannot be done (blood clot in arm following bioidentical; hormones; prothrombin mutation (heterozygous, but still, coagulability risk is higher than average with hormones) to control menorraghia.
Thanks for this article, Christiane. I bled very heavily the last 2 years of my periods, so this really helped me connect some dots with things coming to light in my life now in terms of my needs vs others needs. I just wrote a blog post about my experience with it at http://www.WiseWomenRule.com
Thank you! As always, you open the door to be able to focus on the bigger picture. So helpful to women everywhere!
Had an ablation and now treated with progesterone and testosterone and feeling way more energetic…was bleeding very heavily and low iron so low energy. So relieved to be feeling better.
I know you are correct; I’m stuck in a job I dread but being the main income earner, what other choice is there? It has become increasingly difficult to find jobs where creativity is rewarded financially.
I’m 54 years young. An endometrial ablation (sp?) was the answer to my prayers. Havent had a.period since.
I have had very heavy bleeding, but no physical basis has been found for it. Basically, all my gyn did was take me off birth control–it has lessened some, but it is still difficult to bear. I am anemic and take supplements. Age 38, no kids. Have been at wits end. This has been going on since about age 28. I find that when I eat a lot of sugary things, it is worse.
I have to remember the keep asking for guidance part. That will help. My flow is more regular than ever, there is more of an exhaustion feeling the day before I get my period. Like a wicked premenstrual awareness day. Thank you for posting. It’s an interesting read.
In 1997, at the age of 32, I had an emergency hysterectomy after 6 blood transfusions. I had been bleeding for over 50 days and had finally begun hemorrhaging, which almost killed me. Looking back on my life, I can see how the emotional and physical turmoil I was experiencing in life contributed to this event. I can’t believe how drained of life energy I was. Thank you, Dr. Northrup, for educating us not only on the physical aspects of women’s health, but on the spiritual side too.
thank-you for this article which helped give me closure and peace about leaving a job that was wrong for me but I was too desperate to admit it. I just started bleeding and didn’t stop until I had an uncharacteristic outburst and quit! Now teaching & loving it & have no more problems!
kept asking for guidance & got it just not in the way I expected 😉
I’ve been experiencing my cycle getting closer together with ‘flooding’ 1st doc told me this had nothing to do with menopause. The 2nd was more affirming & after 17 days & very nearly needing a blood transfusion, we are attempting to figure things out. I’m excited to read ch 8 & will be spending some time reflecting! I would encourage women to try several doctors until they are being heard & are able to find a health care provider who wishes to partner with them as they heal & become healthy!
Bleeding for 23 days straight, 53 yrs of age, is this normal?
Is there any correlation to women having a tubal ligation and heavy bleeding?
My mother, sister inlaw and two close friends have all had tubal’s and three out of the four have had hysterectomies due to heavy periods. Is there any significance to this?
Hi Doctor, I am 32 years old. This year on June, I had a pulmonar embolism and 2 large fibroids 8 cm. I am on coumadin, and I have had 3 Lupron 3.75 mg. My gynecologist was giving me letrozole 5mg daily, premarin 0.3, provera 2.5. I felt awful, so stopped them. She believes that it is better to take out my uterus. Now the bleeding never ends, I have small discharges and blood clots and a sore uterus. I need your advice regarding my situation.Thank you for reading me.
Age 66. Blood in urine since 1974. Why?
I am 32 years old. This year on June, I had a pulmonar embolism and 2 large fibroids 8 cm. I am on coumadin, and I have had 3 Lupron 3.75 mg. My gynecologist was giving me letrozole 5mg daily, premarin 0.3, provera 2.5. I felt awful, so stopped them. She believes that it is better to take out my uterus. Now the bleeding never ends, I have small discharges and blood clots and a sore uterus. I need your advice regarding my situation.Thank you for reading me.
THANK YOU! At 56 I am still bleeding almost daily – iron count ok. I have been checked and have had recent D&C to remove Hyperplasia and polyp. Still have an old fibroid. I was using 2 % Prog cream & Agnus Castus daily..Doc stopped that. I felt better on the cream but dont know how and when to appy with daily spotting or more. Is this DUB? Any advice gratefully received, want to avoid Hysterectomy if poss. THANK YOU for all you do for us XX
Thank you Dr Northrup for your wise words – I had not reconnected with the truth that life events and circumstances that are draining energy may contribute to heavy menstrual bleeding. I will use this with my patients and clients to give them a new vantage point.
Alison x http://www.DrAlisonGrimston.com
A very helpful article, as I am going through this now at 46. Feel like I am at the cross roads and all of them are dead ends. Such a crappy way to feel, I pray it will get better.