What causes heavy periods? Do scans help?

Women of reproductive age who experience heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding, or bleeding between periods, often want to know the cause and whether scans such as ultrasound or MRI can help. In this blog post, we’ll explore the causes of heavy periods and how radiology scans like ultrasound and MRI may provide useful insights into the underlying cause. Ultimately, you should have a better understanding about why you are experiencing your menstrual symptoms after reading through this article!

Overview of heavy periods – what they are and potential causes

Heavy periods, medical name menorrhagia, can significantly impact a woman’s life. They may be characterised by having long and heavy menstrual cycles, intermenstrual bleeding or both. If someone is losing more than 80mL of blood per cycle, anaemia can result from the frequent blood loss.

There are many potential causes for heavy periods such as an imbalance in hormones, conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome or structural problems like fibroids, polyps or tumours. Further examination with an ultrasound or MRI scan is usually required.

Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that form in the uterus and can cause heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding. Fibroids vary in size, ranging from several centimeters to huge lumps. They can occur at any age, but they tend to develop during childbearing years, and usually shrink after the menopause. Fibroids can cause a range of symptoms, depending on their size, location and number. Heavy menstrual bleeding is one of the most common symptoms caused by fibroids; women may experience prolonged periods or intermenstrual bleeding. Pelvic pain, which can be mild to severe, is also frequently reported. Large fibroids can press on the bladder or bowel, to cause frequent urination or constipation. Fibroids can also sometimes cause subfertility.

Uterine polyps, also known as endometrial polyps, are growths within the lining of the uterus. While usually benign, they can occasionally be malignant.

Endometrial cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the lining of the uterus, known as the endometrium. It is the most common type of uterine cancer, accounting for about 95% of cases. A number of different symptoms can arise from this, including heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding, bleeding after the menopause, pain during intercourse or a bloody vaginal discharge.

Benefits of radiology scans in diagnosing heavy period cases- Ultrasound and MRI

With heavy periods, ultrasound and MRI scans are an essential diagnostic tool.

Radiologists use ultrasound to detect changes in the uterus and ovaries. Ultrasound is a safe, non-invasive tool that can check for abnormalities inside the body without using radiation.

MRI scans help identify and characterise tissue changes for more detailed information about the uterus and ovaries. It is the best test for assessing the uterus and ovaries.

How to prepare for a radiology scan prior to your appointment

If you are having an ultrasound of pelvis, drink plenty of fluids in order to fill your bladder.

Alternatively, no preparation is required for an MRI scan.

All in all, it’s clear that heavy periods can be caused by a number of issues and can be a sign of something more serious. That’s why it is vital to look into every issue where heavy periods are concerned and utilise radiology scans like ultrasounds and MRIs to investigate the cause. Thankfully, both of these tests provide a nonsurgical assessment of the pelvic region. Therefore, don’t forget to take control of your health care – arrange an ultrasound or MRI scan today and avoid any potential delays.

Dr. Khalid Enver

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