Women want a quick effective solution for heavy bleeding.
Approximately 50% of women taking birth control pills continue to suffer from heavy bleeding¹. Birth control pills must be taken daily for as long as the bleeding problem exists. This means daily compliance as well as an ongoing expense. Also, it often takes 3-4 cycles before the pills start affecting blood flow. While taking birth control pills, you may experience side effects including headaches, nausea, breast tenderness or swelling, loss of libido or moodiness. Oral contraceptives are not recommended for women with a history of cardiovascular disease, blood clots, a family history of breast cancer, or women over the age of 35.
Progestins are made to replace progesterone, a hormone that a woman’s body naturally produces. This is an option for women who are producing too much estrogen and not enough progesterone. Progestins can be taken in the form of a pill or by insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD). While progestin-only birth control pills are more successful at managing bleeding when compared to estrogen/progestine birth control pills, their strong side effects limit long-term use. Typical side effects include breakthrough bleeding, breast pain, acne, weight gain and bloating.
Because of these problems of poor bleeding control, side effects, and the need for daily compliance, medical therapy tends not to be a good long-term treatment option for most patients. In one study, by 5 years, more than 75% of women taking drug treatments had gone on to have a hysterectomy.²
Not every woman is able and willing to take hormone therapy for heavy menstrual bleeding.
1. Davis A, Godwin A, Lippman J, et al. Triphasic norgestimate-ethinyl estradiol for treating dysfunctional uterine bleeding. Obstet Gynecol 2000; 96:913-920.
2. Cooper K, Jack S, Parkin D, Grant A. Five-year follow up of women randomized to medical management or transcervical resection of the endometrium for heavy menstrual loss; Clinical and quality of life outcomes. Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 2001;108:1222-1228.
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