Better Ways to Cope
by Timothy Murphy, M.D.
Heavy or irregular menstrual bleeding
can be an upsetting problem for some
women. The problem affects each woman
differently, but for many, it’s a quality-of-life
issue. Their bleeding is so heavy or unpredictable
that they worry about leaving the house
and going about their normal activities. These
women may have periods that last longer
than a week or have to change their
pads or tampons every hour
for several hours at a time.
with Heavy Bleeding
Abnormal or irregular menstrual bleeding is called menorrhagia and can affect women of any age. Menorrhagia may be caused by benign growths called fibroid tumors. Still for other women, there may not be a clear cause of the problem.
Many options are available for women who suffer from menorrhagia. Some options include oral hormones and other medicines, which can help reduce blood loss. Another option is a dilation and curettage, or D and C. This is a procedure to remove the lining of the uterus, using a small surgical tool. It is usually done in the hospital setting but is an outpatient procedure.
“The procedure can be done in the office with the patient going home the same day.”
In the past, a hysterectomy was sometimes suggested for some women with heavy bleeding. But a new alternative, called endometrial ablation, does not require removing the uterus. However, it is an option for only those women who no longer want children. With this minimally invasive treatment, we can often eliminate a woman’s periods completely. This procedure involves inserting into the uterus a device that uses microwave energy to destroy the lining. The procedure can be done in the office with the patient going home the same day. The most common side effect is cramping. Most women are back to work within a week of the procedure.
Women who suffer from heavy, irregular periods should explore the options with their physicians.