The Problem of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
Heavy menstrual bleeding is a common problem that causes loss of life pleasure. Sometimes, women assume that they must “just live it” or go through a major surgery (hysterectomy). Also, many women do not know if their bleeding is actually too heavy to be normal. The following conditions indicate a medical problem:
1) Bleeding causing anemia (low red cell count)
2) Having to re-schedule, miss, or restrict activities or appointments
3) Staining of clothing or sheets
4) Frequently worrying about whether the next period will be heavy
Polyps are uterine lining gland growths. Fibroids are uterine muscle growths. Fibroids may occur on the outside, in the wall, or inside the lining of the uterus. Both polyps and fibroids of the uterus are usually benign. Removal of polyps and fibroids from the lining of the uterus is recommended in the treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding.
Diagnosis (The First Step)
Before a treatment plan can be chosen, the cause of the heavy bleeding must be found. At the Advanced GYN Surgery Center, hysteroscopy is the preferred technique to find out whether a polyp or internal fibroid is present. A narrow, flexible optical catheter, or hysteroscope, is used to inspect the lining of the uterus. If a fibroid or polyp is found, the follow-up treatment plan can be arranged to include removal.
If no polyps or uterine lining fibroids are found, certain hormone or anti-hormone treatments may be recommended.
If medical treatments are not satisfactory, a minor outpatient procedure called endometrial ablation can be performed. During endometrial ablation, the uterine lining is treated,causing the lining to shrink. Eight out of ten treatments are successful and lead to normal or little-to-no bleeding in the future. Endometrial ablation is best when heavy bleeding is the main or only concern. The presence of other pelvic masses or pelvic pain may require consideration of a hysterectomy. A progestin-releasing IUD is also available to help reduce menstrual flow. If heavy menstrual bleeding is a problem for you, you may contact us to schedule a consultation.