Are you experiencing heavy periods that last much longer than what is acceptable? Menorrhagia is the term used to describe the condition in which several regular heavy periods occur that affect you physically and emotionally.
What Is Menorrhagia?
It is very difficult to measure the amount of blood lost during a period so generally, heavy periods is diagnosed when,
- You need to change your sanitary towel frequently-every two hours or earlier or need to use additional protection
- You pass blood clots and often stain your clothes or bed linen at night
- The heavy periods affect your regular life-work and activities
What Are the Causes of Menorrhagia?
In about half the women with Menorrhagia, the cause cannot be detected, and the term Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding (DUB) is used to describe this condition. When there is a cause that exists, it may be one of the following:
- Uterine fibroids
- Uterine polyps
- Cancer of the uterus
- Polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Having an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) implanted
- Blood disorders
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Menorrhagia?
The duration of a normal menstrual cycle typically is between three to five days. In cases where patients suffer from Menorrhagia, periods tend to last for more than seven days and are associated with excessive blood loss and excessive clots being passed.
The effects of menorrhagia are related to the lack of red blood cells and iron deficiency that results. About two-thirds of women with menorrhagia have iron deficiency anaemia that manifests as fatigue, tiredness, and shortness of breath.
Tests & Treatment for Menorrhagia
Menorrhagia treatment completely depends on factors that include your overall clinical condition, whether you plan to have children in future, the severity of the menorrhagia and whether a cause has been detected.
Your doctor will typically do a physical exam, and recommend other procedures such as blood tests, a PAP smear, an ultrasound scan and in severe cases, an endometrial biopsy. Depending on the results of your initial tests, your doctor may recommend that you undergo further testing that may include procedures like a dilatation and curettage (D & C), a hysteroscopy or a laparoscopy.
Treatment options include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), the combined oral contraceptive pill, iron supplements to treat the anaemia and tranexamic acid. You may be recommended a levonorgestrel-releasing intra-uterine system (IUS)-Mirena®. This will be recommended only if you agree to have it fitted for at least a year. The IUS lasts up to five years and should help to improve your menorrhagia within the first three to six months
Some of the other treatment options are
- Uterine artery embolization that will reduce the blood flow to any fibroids causing them to shrink
- Endometrial ablation, where most of your womb lining is destroyed or removed using energy such as microwaves or heat.
- Myomectomy is the surgical removal of uterine fibroids
- Hysterectomy is usually only done if other treatments haven’t worked. After a hysterectomy, you will no longer have periods and won’t be able to become pregnant.
Get in touch with our team of healthcare professionals to get a better understanding of this condition, as well as an accurate diagnosis of the same.