Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Should my period last more than 10 days?"
My period's been going on for 10 days now and I'm worried something is wrong with my reproductive system. What should I do?
The typical length for menstruation is 3-5 days of the 28-day menstrual cycle. A condition of having menstrual bleeding for more than 7 days is called menorrhagia. This excessive bleeding is obviously not good for the health. If you are a young woman or a woman in her late 40's approaching menopause, such heavy bleeding is most often due to a temporary hormone imbalance, which eventually corrects itself. A doctor visit is still recommended to get the excessive bleeding under control if it happens too frequently to prevent you from developing anemia. There are many causes of menorrhagia. If it happens only once, then the cause will probably never be found. In some cases, a pregnancy that is lost very early on can be the cause of bleeding in this length. Another possibility is the intake of certain drugs such as steroids and blood thinners (i.e., aspirin) during menstruation. Similarly, it could be a side effect of a birth control pill. However, a recurrent menorrhagia is abnormal and can be a serious medical condition. A short list of common causes of the problems are (1) a blood clotting disorder (called coagulopathy) where the blood does not clot properly; (2) uterine fibroids or polyps (a non-cancerous growths in the lining of the uterus; (3) endometriosis; (4) thyroid and pituitary disorders; (5) pelvic inflammatory disease or polycystic ovary syndrome; (6) dysfunctional uterine bleeding, which refers to heavy bleeding with unknown reason As you see, there are numerous underlying causes of menorrhagia that may or may not lead to a serious condition. It is good idea to consult a primary care doctor or gynecologist for a proper diagnosis if you experience recurrent menorrhagia.
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