Profuse and prolonged period is referred to as menorrhagia. It is experienced in the form of too intense bleeding that requires changing the pad every hour. The question “why won’t my period stop,” should be better asked to a gynecologist, who will be able to define the presence of one of those 9 possible causes, associated with uterine or cervical pathologies, endocrine diseases, blood problems or disturbance of the course of pregnancy.
Average duration of menstruation varies from 3-8 days, and the volume of blood loss usually amounts to 35-50ml. It is appropriate to speak about prolonged period or menorrhagia – pathologically profuse menstrual bleeding, in case the amount of discharged blood during one menstrual cycle equals to or exceeds 80ml. This amount can be measured by counting the pads, used during the period – in case of menorrhagia there is a necessity to change them every 60 minutes (so 24 pads have to be used in a day)
4 uterine causes of a prolonged period
In fact, menstruation is nothing but rejection of the endometrial lining, which had been proliferated during the previous cycle. Therefore, etiology of the condition, when the period won’t stop, often has to do with the mucous lining of the uterus, particularly:
This is a nonmalignant disease, which is characterized by the growth of the endometrium into the muscular layer of the uterus deeper than to 1 mm. In some cases, it goes in line with endometriosis – pathological proliferation of the mucous membrane out of the uterine cavity.
The accurate cause of this disease has not been established. It is only certain that this situation results from inadequately high level of estrogen in combination with previous affection of endometrium (including normal pregnancy, during which the fetus invades the mucous membrane, disturbing its integrity).
Adenomyosis takes an asymptomatic course in one-third of patients, while other women observe prolonged periods and profuse bleeding between periods. Some women may experience signs of pressure of the swollen uterus on the urinary bladder and straight intestine, leading to the necessity of frequently going to the bathroom.
It should be noted that adenomyosis affects the type of cells (basal), which do not have any role in the normal estrogen-dependent menstrual cycle. This fact is extremely important, since it makes this disease responsive to hormonal therapy. Only the specialist can decide whether such therapy will be sufficient for the elimination of adenomyosis, or surgical intervention should also be applied.
2. Hyperplasia or endometrial polyps
These two pathologies present precancerous conditions of the uterine mucous membrane. They result from chronically high level of estrogen, in the absence of any stabilizing progesterone impact.
Risk factors of this pathology include:
- Absence of registered pregnancies in medical history;
- Late menopause (after the age of 55);
- Long-term absence of ovulation (including such, induced by hormonal contraceptives);
- Diabetes mellitus;
- Intake of certain drugs, etc.
In most cases, women with endometrial precancer, consult the gynecologist with the concern “why won’t my period stop?”, since uterine bleeding tends to become prolonged and rather irregular. Often, such complaints arise in the period of the decline of reproductive function (after the age of 45-50).
Treatment of hyperplasia is prescribed by the doctor, based on the form of the disease and its advancement. Polyps are usually subject to surgical excision, with subsequent curettage of the uterine cavity.
3. Endometrial cancer
This is severe and rather a common disease (this type of cancer is the third most common oncological disease in women all over the world). Its causes and symptom set are practically identical to those of endometrial hyperplasia.
Preventive gynecological examinations are very important (especially in the postmenopausal period) in terms of the possibility of detection of this disease in its early stages, in which case the doctor will be able to opt for medical therapy or surgical intervention.
4. Uterine fibroid
Uterine fibroids affect the muscular layer of the uterus rather than its mucous lining. Nevertheless, this condition also results in prolonged periods. Besides, the tumor may put pressure on the adjacent organs, leading to pelvic pain and impossibility of normal childbearing. Unlike the two previously discussed pathologies, fibromyomas most often appear at reproductive age.
Its genetic etiology is being studied, while the relatedness of fibromyoma to the level of estrogen is already established. Thus, uterine fibromyomas may spontaneously regress after the postmenopausal period, due to the absence of estrogen sustention. Eradication of the myomatous nodule, as well as “deactivation” of vessels, nourishing the tumor, are applied as an alternative to medical therapy.
2 cervical pathologies, associated with a prolonged period
Dysplasia (erosion, polyps) of the uterine cervix, in the first place and cervical cancer in the second, are accompanied by such problems, as prolonged period, bleeding after sex and between periods.
Precipitating factors of these diseases, include:
- Early start of sexual life;
- Too many sex partners;
- Failure to use barrier methods of birth control (preservatives);
- Past history of sexually transmitted diseases;
Besides, the interrelation between human papillomavirus infection and cervical cancer has been scientifically ascertained. The late stages of this disease are threatening due to the high rate of lethality, but timely visit to a gynecologist and discovery of oncological pathologies in the stage of dysplasia, increase the chances of successful recovery. Therapy can be medicamental, radiological or surgical, depending on the advancement of the process.
Dysfunctional uterine bleeding as the answer to the question “why won’t my period stop”
The most common etiology of DUB is anovulation, i.e. disturbance of follicle’s maturation and the ovum’s emergence from the latter. As a rule, this happens after the first menstruation and prior to menopause, (in the periods of the endocrine alteration). DUB is mostly treated with hormonal contraceptives, which should be selected by a specialist, with regard to all possible nuances of the disease.
Blood coagulation problems, as one of the causes of prolonged periods
Decreased number of platelets or blood coagulation pathologies (hemophilia) is able to provoke bleeding of various mucous membranes, particularly, prolonged periods, involving a great deal of blood loss. This is not a gynecological pathology. Therefore, its treatment should be trusted to a hematologist.
Disturbance of the course of pregnancy (whether uterine or ectopic) is accompanied by profuse bleeding, which may be perceived as if the period won’t stop. Hydatidiform mole – a childbearing pathology, associated with absence of an embryo in the ovum, assumes the same symptoms. Only gynecologist can differentiate these conditions from a prolonged period. The doctor will also perform final curettage of the uterine cavity or another manipulation, in case the fetus was developing out of the uterus.
Thus, observing pathological menstruation, one should by all means consult a doctor since regardless of its cause, one should beware of the development of anemia and other complications of massive blood loss. Depending on the distinctness of hemorrhage, it may be required to perform immediate extirpation (surgical removal) of the uterus. In order to prevent the necessity of taking radical measures, one should not hesitate to consult a specialist, being concerned with a prolonged period.