Excessive Menstrual Bleeding If your periods are so heavy that they disrupt your normal daily activities, you may have excessive menstrual bleeding. The medical term for periods that are very heavy, prolonged or both is menorrhagia. Symptoms of menorrhagia may also include cramping, pelvic pain, and in severe cases, anemia. Excessive menstrual bleeding is a common condition that occurs for many of reasons. Two of the most common causes are: a hormonal imbalance and uterine growths. Hormone Imbalances Your menstrual cycle is controlled by hormones, including estrogen and progesterone. When these hormones are out of balance, they can cause heavy periods or bleeding between periods. Causes of hormonal imbalances may include:
- Hormonal changes in teens and in women nearing menopause
- Thyroid Disease
- Strenuous exercise
- Anorexia (eating disorder) Types of Uterine Growths
- benign (non-cancerous) growths in or near the uterus
- Polyps – growths that attach to the inner wall of the uterus and protrude into the uterine cavity
- endometrial tissue normally lining the uterus grows into the muscular walls of the uterus
- Endometriosis tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus grows outside your uterus
- Endometrial cancer – an uncontrolled growth of cells of the uterine lining
- Hyperplasia – an abnormal proliferation of cells (cell division or growth) that may result in enlargement (growth) of the uterus. This term is sometimes used to refer to a benign tumor or fibroid.
Treatment Options for Excessive Menstrual Bleeding Excessive menstrual bleeding can be treated with hormone therapy, surgery or a combination of both. Your doctor can diagnose your condition and provide treatment(s) to relieve your symptoms. Hormone Therapy Your doctor may recommend you take hormones such as progesterone or the birth control pill to control and regulate your period. Hormone therapy can limit the swelling of your endometrium (uterine lining that sheds each month during your period) and extra endometrial tissue (implants). This treatment may be used before, instead of, or after surgery. Surgery Surgical procedures to treat excessive bleeding include endometrial ablation and hysterectomy. Endometrial Ablation Energy is used to destroy the endometrial lining of the uterus with the goal of lightening or stopping your periods. This technique is usually done on an out patient basis at the hospital or in your physicians office. This procedure is not recommended for women who may still want to become pregnant. Hysterectomy The surgical removal of your uterus. Depending upon your condition, your fallopian tubes, ovaries and any visible growths may also be removed. A hysterectomy can be performed using traditional open or laparoscopic surgery. Open surgery involves a large abdominal incision and a four to six week recovery. Laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive, with only a few small incisions. Your hysterectomy can also be done using the da Vinci Robotic procedure. This procedure requires only a few tiny incisions, less pain and a quicker recovery time.