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.