Treatments such as endometrial ablation address heavy menstrual bleeding and provide a solution for millions of women.
Many of the patients I treat experience abnormally heavy bleeding during their periods and think that they have to just live with it. That’s just not the case.
Heavy bleeding will often begin in your 30s or 40s, or when you are nearing menopause.
Although there is no true “normal” when it comes to women’s periods, there are certainly some warning signs that you’re bleeding too much.
You are experiencing abnormal heavy bleeding if you:
- Change your pad or tampon once an hour throughout the day
- Get up in the middle of the night to change a pad
- Miss work
- Do not participate in sports or the hobbies you love.
If it’s comforting at all, you’re also not alone.
Millions of women, up to 1 in 5, suffer from heavy menstrual bleeding, also known as menorrhagia, at some time in their lives. Heavy bleeding can become more than just an annoyance. Your sex life may suffer, you may feel exhausted and you may just feel like your periods are taking over your life. Additionally, women who bleed heavily during menstruation also lose iron content and may develop anemia.
Take control of heavy bleeding
It’s important to decide that you will take action. Start journaling or recording heavy bleeding incidents so that you and your gynecologist can evaluate and decide on a proper treatment path. Some causes or explanations might include uterine fibroids or polyps, as well as hormone imbalance. Some women are not ovulating (producing an egg) monthly, while others have abnormal growths in the uterus that can increase bleeding.
Most pre-menopausal women with heavy bleeding do NOT have cancer, although this is something your doctor will also evaluate in order to rule out any possible threats of cancer. Pap tests and ultrasounds may be performed to identify the source of the heavy bleeding.
There are quite a few treatment options, as well as minor procedures that can decrease or eliminate bleeding. Depending on your age and severity of symptoms, there is a treatment out there for you.
Endometrial ablation is one example of a relatively new outpatient procedure we perform that avoids the need for major surgery. This is a minor and short surgical procedure that removes uterine lining, resulting in lighter periods or no periods at all. Endometrial ablation is an option for women whose heavy periods disrupt their lives.
Birth control contraceptives may be a nonsurgical option for some women, especially younger ones. Progesterone therapy, a medicine that reduces blood flow in women’s periods, may also help women nearing menopause.
A generation ago, many or most women with heavy bleeding would elect to have their uterus removed in a hysterectomy. While hysterectomy is still an extremely common surgery for numerous gynecological issues, I do not recommend traditional and invasive surgery to remove organs when treating heavy period bleeding.
The gynecologists at the University of Colorado can evaluate and treat abnormal and heavy periods. Your life does not have to be ruled by your periods. We can, and will, help you.