If you are concerned that you have heavy periods, prolonged menstrual bleeding, and other period problems, talk to your doctor.
This chart can help you keep track of your periods. You will want to note how heavy your flow is and whether or not you have cramping. Bring a copy to your doctor for a thorough discussion about how to proceed.
More than 7 million women in America experience a heavy menstrual cycle. Many of these women don't seek treatment, believing that a heavy menstrual cycle is a normal part of the aging process and of menopause. In fact, a heavy menstrual cycle is not normal and can lead to complications, including:
More than 7 million women in the United States suffer with a very heavy menstrual period each month. This can have a major impact on their lives. Consequences of a very heavy period can include severe pain, fatigue, embarrassment, and iron-deficiency anemia. A heavy period may be caused by such conditions as fibroids, polyps, and hormonal changes.
There are many potential causes for heavy periods, such as hormone imbalances, fibroids and polyps, infections, and bleeding disorders.
Hysterectomy is a major operation, requiring hospitalization. The surgery involves removing the entire uterus either vaginally or laproscopically through an incision in the abdomen. Recovery can take up to 6 weeks or longer. Normal activity is generally resumed in 4-8 weeks and sexual activity is generally resumed in 6-8 weeks.
Dilation and curettage, also known as D&C, is a procedure in which the top layer of the uterus lining is scraped away.
A hormone-releasing intrauterine device (IUD) is inserted into the uterus and releases a steady amount of progestins which may help control bleeding. It can take up to 6 months to regulate bleeding. Breakthrough bleeding is a common complaint and a primary reason for discontinued use1. More than 40% of women do not experience a satisfactory improvement in bleeding and go on to have a hysterectomy1. Hormonal side effects include breast tenderness, mood changes, and acne. Potential drawbacks include abdominal pain, infection, and difficult insertions.
Hormonal drugs, which contain estrogen and/or progestin, can make the endometrial lining of the uterus thinner and may reduce blood flow. They are often prescribed to lighten menstrual bleeding. However, they often fail to adequately reduce bleeding and women often seek additional treatment such as endometrial ablation or hysterectomy. Unlike a one-time endometrial ablation, hormones must be used daily.. Hormones are used to manage heavy bleeding, rather than resolve it. This means that when you stop taking them every day, heavy periods are likely to return. Almost one-third of women stop taking hormones due to side effects or lack of efficacy.
Endometrial ablation is a quick, outpatient procedure that gently removes the endometrial lining of the uterus (called the ‘endometrium’) to control bleeding.
During your menstrual cycle, your body prepares for the possibility of becoming pregnant. During the first half of your cycle, estrogen and progesterone hormone levels rise and thicken the lining of the uterus to protect the egg released by an ovary each month. If an egg is fertilized, it will embed itself into the new thick lining of your uterus. However, if no egg is fertilized, your body sheds the excess lining over the course of several days in the form of menstrual blood or, your period.
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