Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
Menorrhagia is excessive and/or prolonged menstrual bleeding at regular intervals. Although about 30% of women have heavy periods, only 10% of women have ...
Heavy menstrual bleeding (also called menorrhagia) is excessive menstrual blood loss that interferes with a woman's quality of life.
Menstrual FlowCopyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Factors that may increase the risk of menorrhagia include:
- Being an adolescent
- Approaching menopause
Symptoms of menorrhagia include:
When Should I Call My Doctor?
- Menstrual bleeding lasting more than seven days
- Unusually heavy bleeding (soaking through a sanitary napkin or tampon every hour)
- Menstrual flow requiring change of sanitary protection during the night
- Menstrual flow including large clots
- Menstrual flow interfering with lifestyle
- Fatigue and/or shortness of breath (symptoms of anemia)
Call your doctor if you have symptoms of menorrhagia.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical examination, including a pelvic exam, will be done. Tests may include:
- Pap test
- Blood tests
- Transvaginal ultrasound
- Endometrial biopsy (removal of a sample of endometrial tissue)
- Dilation and curettage (scraping of the inner lining of the uterus)
- Hysteroscopy (examination of the cervix and fallopian tubes)
Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the heavy menstrual bleeding. Your doctor will work with you to create a treatment plan.Medications
Your doctor may recommend:
- Hormonal therapy
- An IUD that releases the hormone progesterone
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Iron supplement
In some cases, surgery may be needed, such as:
- Dilation and curettage
- Operative hysteroscopy (may be used along with other tools to remove a polyp)
- Endometrial ablation (removal of the lining of the uterus)—This procedure reduces your chance of becoming pregnant.
- Hysterectomy (removal of the uterus)—After this procedure, you will not be able to become pregnant.
There are no specific steps to prevent this condition.