My periods have become extremely heavy. How do I know when it's time to go to the doctor to see what's up?

It is extremely common for your periods to get heavier during perimenopause, and this can often be distressing when you are accustomed to shorter and lighter cycles.  There are no absolute parameters that you can use to determine if the amount of bleeding that you are experiencing is a sign of an underlying problem.  There are, however, some guidelines that can help you decide if it's time to see your provider.

For example, it is clearly time to get evaluated if the bleeding is very prolonged (10 days or more a month); if the flow requires frequent thick pad or super tampon changes (hourly for more than 2 hours); if you commonly pass large blood clots with your cycle; if you frequently have to leave work or skip out on activities you enjoy because you soak through your clothes; or if you are feeling weak or dizzy from the blood loss.  Ultimately, if your quality of life is diminished because your cycles have become difficult to manage, it is worthwhile to have an evaluation. Even if there are no serious underlying medical issues, there may be many solutions that your provider can offer to help regulate and minimize your bleeding during this transition.

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