Dealing with the ebb and flow of hormones is torture enough, but it can be beyond annoying if your periods last longer than they should. For the unversed, your uterus sheds its lining during periods that usually last between 2-7 days. Longer periods could be a sign of worry and something you should not ignore.
In a conversation with Health Shots, Dr Nidhi Khera, Director, and Head of Obstetrics and High-Risk Pregnancy, BLK-Max Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi, explains all about longer periods that last longer than seven days.
Reasons your periods last longer than 7 days
There are many factors at play when it comes to your menstruation cycle. Your periods may last longer than usual, and the causes can vary in different age groups.
“Hormonal imbalance is the number one culprit in young adolescents. Whereas, fibroids and adenomyosis, pregnancy-related conditions, and infections can affect the menstrual cycle in adults. Women in their reproductive age may experience pregnancy-related conditions like ectopic tubal pregnancy or a miscarriage,” points out Dr Khera.
The expert further warns that women should not ignore it if their periods last more than seven days or they notice too many blood clots. Women should also get it checked if the blood appears red, pink, brown, or even rust-like.
What does it mean when periods extend to 20 days?
It goes without saying that bleeding that extends to 20 days in a month is definitely not normal, and one should always look further if a situation like this happens, says the expert. Stating the causes of longer periods that extend to 20 days, she lists down the causes, which include:
An imbalance between the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone could be the reason why your periods last up to 20 days.
Fibroids occur when there is an increase in the size of the uterus. These are benign masses in the uterus that are common in women. Severe menstrual cramps, heavy periods, pain during sex, and severe back pain are some of the common symptoms of fibroids.
These are usually benign growths within the uterine cavity, which form due to the overgrowing cells in the endometrium (the inner layer of the uterus).
Too much bleeding during periods could be because there are cancerous growths within the uterus and/or the cervix.
Underlying medical condition
Some medical conditions such as HIV, rubella, mumps, etc., can make your blood thin and cause you to bleed too much during your periods.
Intra uterine devices (IUDs)
IUDs are small contraceptive devices that are placed in your uterus to avoid pregnancy. A forgotten or misplaced IUD can also lead to heavy menstrual bleeding.
Some medicines like blood thinners or aspirin can also lead to problems. An improper intake of oral contraceptive pills, especially if missed in between the recommended period could also lead to the problem.
In certain situations, women may experience heavy periods or periods that long longer than usual due to pelvic infections, which may range from mild to severe.
Treatment would depend on the cause of the problem. You may be given some medications or may require a biopsy in some cases, avers Dr Khera.