Long periods during the menstrual cycle: is this normal?

What are long periods? Why do some menstruating women have heavier periods that last up to ten days? Are there solutions to prevent periods lasting too long? The Elia team sheds light on these questions!

What are long periods?

Long periods are defined as abnormally long periods. From a medical point of view, excessively long periods are defined as consecutive periods lasting more than 8 days. On average, a woman has her periods for 5 to 8 days and loses around 60ml of blood each cycle. The duration of bleeding and the amount of flow vary from one woman to another. However, menorrhagia should raise your alarm and may even be a symptom of a menstrual disorder.

What causes long periods?

Women who experience long periods often suffer from hormonal imbalances, pain and a heavy, even haemorrhagic flow. If menstruation lasts more than 8 days, we speak of menorrhagia. If the phenomenon recurs with each cycle, we recommend you consult your GP or gynecologist. Let the Elia team guide you through the main causes of this menstrual disorder.

Puberty or pre-menopause

Puberty and menopause or pre-menopause are times when changes in the body's hormone levels lead to imbalances and symptoms that affect cycle length, the volume of blood loss and the continuity of menstruation. Some women have the impression during these periods that their periods just won 't stop. During the pre-menopause, it's not uncommon to have menstrual cycles with an absence of ovulation, allowing theendometrium, the lining of the uterus, to develop more than it should. When the endometrium is evacuated by the uterus, blood loss will be more abundant and persistent than usual. It's perfectly normal to experience long menstrual cycles from time to time, particularly in adolescence and before the menopause.

Using the copper IUD

The copper IUD, or intrauterine device, can be the cause of symptoms such as menorrhagia. This is because the introduction of a foreign body surrounded by copper into the uterus causes inflammation of the endometrium, which in turn increases the amount of blood flow. The more inflamed, thicker and more numerous the endometrium, the longer menstruation lasts. You may even experience spotting outside your menstrual periods. Some women feel that their periods never end.

Taking medication

Certain medications have an impact on menstrual length, or even premenstrual syndrome. For example, they are accentuated when takingaspirin,antidepressants oranticoagulants. In fact, these drugs can cause long-lasting bleeding, as their action can make blood loss more fluid and encourage bleeding.

Are long periods linked to certain pathologies?

Apart from the hormonal factor, first menstruation, menopause or return from childbirth, prolonged menstrual flow can be the sign of a side-effect of a pathology that needs to be treated by a health professional:

  • disorders of the uterus
  • benign lesions
  • fibroids, polyps or cysts in the ovaries
  • non-cancerous tumors
  • adenomyosis, the cousin of endometriosis
  • sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia
  • extra-uterine pregnancy

In cases where these conditions have not been identified, it is possible that the cause is related to uterine cancer. For these reasons, it's important to consult a doctor and carry out comprehensive gynecological examinations to check for other disorders.

What are the consequences of long periods on the menstrual cycle?

There are many consequences. There's a greater chance of developing anemia due to iron deficiency. This is all the more true when blood flow is abundant or hemorrhagic. Insufficient red blood cells can lead to chronic fatigue, dizziness and headaches.
A priori, they have no impact on the phases of the menstrual cycle. It is rare, but not impossible, for some women to become pregnant during their period. In fact, prolonged menstrual periods or spotting immediately afterwards can be a sign of ovulation. Some menstruating women with irregular cycles are also more likely to become pregnant at the same time as their bleeding.

What can I do to get my period back to normal?

Having blood loss that doesn't stop is morally difficult and trying. But having a heavy menstrual period that drags on while on the pill is normal, especially when you have anovulatory cycles. Once a menstruating woman reaches her forties, her rhythm becomes less regular, and the lack of progesterone in the second half of the cycle can disrupt the continuity of bleeding. Drug treatments can help to regulate an excessively long menstrual period.
Taking the contraceptive pill or other methods of contraception may be a solution to the problem of prolonged bleeding periods. Natural methods such as exercise, intercourse, free instinctive flow, herbal teas or the use of plants can help shorten the duration.
In the majority of cases, regulating hormones naturally or by stopping medications that affect duration will be enough to ensure that periods don't seem to last an eternity!

Controlling the flow of long periods with menstrual panties

It's not possible to control non-stop bleeding with menstrual panties. However, menstrual panties help women to feel better in their daily lives by making them forget that they have a continuous flow. However, the use of menstrual panties (as long as they are made from organic cotton) limits the absorption of pesticides and endocrine disruptors that impact hormonal variations!

FAQs on long periods

Can periods last longer than 7 days?

Menstruation can last more than 7 consecutive days. Long periods can be caused by the presence of a thick endometrium that takes longer to shed. Medication or contraception such as IUDs can also affect the continuity of bleeding.

Can periods last longer than 15 days?

The duration of menstruation varies from person to person. However, it's important to note that, on average, blood loss lasts between 5 and 7 days. If it's longer, you may be suffering from a hormonal imbalance. Don't hesitate to talk to your doctor or health care professional to validate a treatment.

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