What is Menorrhagia?
Menorrhagia is a menstrual disorder characterised by abnormally heavy and/or prolonged bleeding during menstruation. Women with this condition frequently experience substantial blood loss when menstruating and pelvic or abdominal pain.
There are several causes of menorrhagia. These include:
- hormonal imbalance
- ovarian dysfunction
- uterine fibroids and/or polyps
- usage of IUDs (intrauterine devices)
Certain health problems can also result in menorrhagia. These include pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), liver problems, cancer, adenomyosis, inherited blood disorders, renal diseases, and thyroid problems.
The most common symptoms of menorrhagia include:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding (requiring a change of a sanitary napkin every hour for several consecutive hours or the usage of tampons and sanitary napkins simultaneously)
- Periods that occur for eight days or longer
- Passing sizable blood clots during menstruation
- Gushing of blood or episodes of flooding
- Weakness, tiredness and/or shortness of breath
- Severe period pain
Dr G can diagnose your condition through a pelvic examination. He may suggest other diagnostic methods like blood tests, pelvic ultrasounds, or biopsies of the uterine lining if necessary. A biopsy involves removing and examining a piece of tissue to check for the presence or extent of a disease. Dr G may also recommend a hysteroscopy — a procedure which involves exploring the interior of your uterus with the help of a thin tubular instrument to which a mini camera is affixed.
Menorrhagia: Treatment Options
There are several treatment options available to treat menorrhagia. The options that Dr G recommends will depend upon your current state of health, the severity of your symptoms, and the cause of the problem. You may require one or more of the following:
- Iron supplements: If your blood tests show that you have low levels of iron, you may be prescribed iron supplements.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): These drugs will help reduce a heavy flow during menstruation as well as alleviate period cramps.
- Birth control pills: These pills can both regulate your cycles and reduce the excessive bleeding.
- Oral progesterone: If your condition is the result of a hormonal problem, you may be prescribed oral progesterone to correct any imbalance you may have.
- Mirena: This IUD (intrauterine device) releases progestin in your uterus. The progestin thins the lining of uterus, which in turn should reduce the intensity of your menstrual flow.
You may require surgical intervention if your case cannot be treated by the methods above. The surgical methods used in the treatment of menorrhagia include:
- Endometrial ablation: This treatment option thins or removes the endometrium (inner uterine lining) permanently. As a result of the procedure, you should experience minimal bleeding. The method is not recommended if you wish to conceive in the future since a subsequent pregnancy can jeopardise your health. For further details, please visit http://www.cavaterm.com/en/patients/heavy-menstrual-bleeding
- Dilation and curettage (D&C): This method involves the dilation of the cervix and the scraping of the uterine lining. While the process will reduce your menstrual flow, it may need to be repeated if the menorrhagia recurs.
- Hysteroscopy: Hysteroscopy necessitates the usage of a hysteroscope — a thin tubular instrument that allows Dr G to see the interior of your uterine cavity and remove abnormal structures (like polyps) which may be causing the heavy bleeding.
- Hysterectomy: This surgical method can involve both uterine and cervical removal. While the process stops you from menstruating, it also renders you infertile. A hysterectomy is therefore not ideal for women who plan to conceive in the future. Dr G almost exclusively carries out keyhole surgery (laparoscopic hysterectomy).
- Endometrial resection: This treatment option removes the uterine lining with the help of an electrosurgical wire loop.
Menorrhagia can interfere with your day-to-day functioning and lower your quality of life significantly. If you believe you have this problem, talk to Dr G. With over ten years of experience, he’ll be able to diagnose and treat your case successfully, thus freeing you to return to life as normal.
For more details on treatment of menorrhagia, please visit our page Treating Menstrual Disorders and Menorrhagia.