What is a heavy period/menorrhagia?
Unusually heavy or prolonged menstrual periods are a monthly problem affecting the lives of many women. Aside from the inconvenience and social distress they can cause, heavy periods can also have a negative impact on the body’s iron reserves.
How heavy your periods are compared with other women is difficult to gauge. Scientifically speaking, periods are deemed to be heavy if they involve the loss of 80mls of blood for each menstrual period. What is far more meaningful however, is the extent to which periods affect your life.
If you are at all worried about your periods, there are many ways in which we can help you.
At your consultation
When you come for your consultation, you will be asked how long your bleeding lasts, how long your whole menstrual cycle lasts, and whether you have any associated pain. In particular we will want to know whether you have ever passed blood clots or had your clothing or bed linen flooded with blood.
You will have a physical examination, including an internal examination, and in all likelihood an ultrasound scan. Essentially, we will be trying to find out the underlying cause of your heavy periods. Quite a few patients have no abnormalities detected, and when heavy periods occur without a demonstrable cause, this is known as dysfunctional uterine bleeding.
Causes of heavy periods/menorrhagia
There are a variety of different causes behind heavy periods or menorrhagia. Conditions such as endometriosis, adenomyosis, pelvic inflammatory disease and endometrial hyperplasia can all present you with this problem, as can fibroids.
Click here to read about the treatment(s) involved in treating Heavy Periods/ Menorrhagia. If you would like more information or wish to make an appointment regarding heavy periods/ menorrhagia, please get in contact .
Treatment for heavy periods/menorrhagia
The treatment for your problem will depend on your individual circumstances. Treatment will also vary depending on your age, whether you wish to or have had children, and in particular whether any treatments have already been tried by your GP. Treatments sometimes begin with non-hormonal tablets such as Tranexamic acid and Mefenamic acid. Sometimes hormonal tablets are used such as the combined oral contraceptive pill or the progesterone only pill. Sometimes progesterone treatment is given by a three monthly injection or via the release of progesterone from the stem of a special kind of intrauterine device (coil) called Mirena. There is also a very simple treatment available called endometrial ablation which works by destroying the lining of the womb, so preventing heavy periods. This can be done using a special technique called NovaSure.
If fibroids are the problem
If fibroids appear to be the problem, then some different treatment options may be considered. Sometimes fibroids can be removed surgically by passing a slender telescope through the cervix (hysteroscopy) allowing a fibroid which is filling the cavity of the womb to be removed bit by bit. This is called transcervical resection of a fibroid. If the fibroids are bigger or more deeply lying, then a radiological procedure (done in the x-ray department) can be used to block the blood supply to the uterus. This causes the fibroids to shrink, so reducing your menstrual symptoms in that way. Occasionally surgery is required to remove individual fibroids (myomectomy) but occasionally a hysterectomy is required. We will be able to guide you through the appropriate treatment options for your particular circumstances so that you come to the right choice for you.