Menorrhagia is the medical term for menstrual bleeding that lasts more than 7 days. It can also be bleeding which is very heavy. Untreated heavy or prolonged bleeding can significantly reduce the quality of your life and cause a host of uncomfortable symptoms. One in five women bleeds so heavily during their periods that they have to put their normal lives on hold just to deal with the heavy blood flow.
Women in Newton and Walpole, Massachusetts can get treatment for menorrhagia and other gynecological problems from an expert team of OB/GYN physicians at Newton-Wellesley OB/GYN.
Symptoms of Menorrhagia
If you have menorrhagia, you might have symptoms like:
- Soaking through a tampon or menstrual pad every hour for several hours
- Waking up at night with a need to change your tampon or pad
- Menstrual bleeding that lasts longer than a week
- Large blood clots (bigger than the size of a quarter)
Menorrhagia can also cause symptoms of anemia, like fatigue or shortness of breath.
Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
Causes of Menorrhagia
Several factors can lead to the development of menorrhagia. Some common causes are:
Hormonal Imbalance. If your key female hormones–estrogen and progesterone–are out of balance, this can cause excess endometrial tissue to develop during your menstrual cycle.
When you have your period, this leads to heavier bleeding. Hormonal issues can also cause problems in the ovaries, fibroids, polyps, or other conditions of the reproductive organs that may bring on menorrhagia.
Bleeding Disorders. If you have a bleeding disorder like von Willebrand’s disease, you might be missing blood-clotting factors. This can lead to heavier menstrual bleeding.
Medications. Certain medications can cause heavier bleeding, including anti-inflammatory drugs, hormone replacement medications, or anticoagulants.
Underlying Health Conditions. For some women, other underlying health conditions–like liver or kidney disease–cause menorrhagia.
Treatment Options for Menorrhagia
Treatment options for menorrhagia depend on the cause. Some common methods for addressing this condition include:
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Birth Control
If medical therapy is unsuccessful, you may need surgical treatment to improve your symptoms. Surgical treatment options may include:
Dilation and Curettage. In this procedure, the doctor opens (dilates) your cervix and then scrapes or suctions tissue from the lining of your uterus to reduce menstrual bleeding.
Endometrial Ablation. This procedure is a one-time, 5-minute procedure that can safely and effectively reduce or eliminate heavy menstrual bleeding. The endometrial ablation procedure is designed to remove just the uterine lining-the endometrium–which is the part of your body that can cause heavy periods. No incisions are required. Recommended for women who are finished with childbearing and want relief from heavy bleeding.
Hysterectomy. This is surgery to remove your uterus and cervix. It is a permanent procedure that causes sterility and ends menstrual periods.
Myomectomy. This procedure involves the surgical removal of uterine fibroid
Treatment for Menorrhagia at Newton-Wellesley OB/GYN
Hormone Imbalance FAQs
Women who have a hormone imbalance may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Heavy, irregular or painful periods
- Osteoporosis (weak, brittle bones)
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Mood swings and/or depression
- Weight gain
- Increased sensitivity to cold or heat
- Dry skin
- Puffy face
- Vaginal dryness
- Painful sex due to a lack of
- vaginal lubrication
- Decreased sex drive
- An increase in urinary tract infections (UTIs) due to a thinning of the urethra
- Breast tenderness
- Constipation and diarrhea
- Acne during or just before menstruation
There are numerous possible causes of hormone imbalance in women. Some causes are due to external factors, such as stress and hormone medications, and other causes may be due to medical conditions such as
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- Androgen Excess (an overproduction of male hormones that cause menstrual irregularities, infertility, acne, and male pattern baldness)
- Hormone Replacement or Birth Control Medications
- Early Menopause
- Primary Ovarian Insufficiency
- Ovarian Cancer
- Eating Disorders
- Cancer Treatments
During your consultation, your Newton-Wellesley OB/GYN physician may order a blood test for you that checks your estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels, as well as your thyroxin (thyroid hormone), insulin, and cortisol levels. There may be more tests ordered based on your symptoms.
Your doctor will also conduct a pelvic exam to check for any lumps or cysts. A biopsy may be taken of any abnormally appearing tissue. If required, your doctor may order imaging tests such as an ultrasound, MRI, or thyroid scan for an accurate diagnosis.
Treatment for hormone imbalance depends on the cause. Once your doctor figures out what is causing your hormone imbalance, treatment recommendations may include:
- Hormone control or birth control regulate menstrual cycles and symptoms.
- Vaginal estrogen reduces symptoms of vaginal dryness.
- Hormone replacement medications reduce symptoms associated with menopause like hot flashes and night sweats.
- Eflornithine slows excessive facial hair growth in women.
- Anti-androgen medications help limit severe acne and excessive hair growth or loss.
- Clomiphene (Clomid) and Letrozole (Femara) help stimulate ovulation for women suffering from PCOS.
- Gonadotropin injections increase the chances of pregnancy.
- Metformin helps manage or lower blood sugar levels.
- Levothyroxine helps improve symptoms of hypothyroidism.
- In-vitro fertilization may help those with PCOS complications get pregnant.
- Lifestyle changes (e.g., losing weight, keeping a healthy diet, avoiding stress, getting enough sleep).