At King’s, our physicians have decades of experience in detecting and treating the causes of heavy bleeding and are highly skilled in operating on women with this condition.
What is heavy bleeding?
Heavy bleeding, also called menorrhagia, usually refers to menstrual periods with abnormally prolonged and heavy bleeding. Heavy bleeding may also occur during phases other than the regular menstrual periods due to reasons related or unrelated to the women’s reproductive system.
Women with menorrhagia have difficulties in performing their routine activities when they have periods because of excessive blood loss and muscle cramping.
What are the common signs and symptoms of heavy bleeding?
The common signs and symptoms of heavy bleeding caused due to menorrhagia include:
- Frequent soaking through sanitary pads or tampons
- Bleeding that persists longer than a week
- Restriction of daily activities due to prolonged or heavy menstrual flow
- Passing of large blood clots
- Symptoms of anemia including fatigue and shortness of breath
What are the common causes of heavy bleeding?
- Hormone imbalance due to polycystic ovary syndrome, insulin resistance, obesity, or thyroid problems
- Uterine fibroids
- Uterine polyps
- Dysfunction of the ovaries
- Uterine or cervical cancer
- Having an intrauterine device
- Pregnancy-related complications such as placenta previa or a low-lying placenta
- Side effects of medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, hormonal medications, and anticoagulants
- Inherited bleeding disorders such as von Willebrand’s disease
Treatments and surgical options for the management of heavy bleeding
Drug therapy for menorrhagia usually includes the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium to relieve painful cramps and reduce menstrual blood loss.
Tranexamic acid may be prescribed to reduce blood loss.
Oral contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy, and intrauterine devices that release a form of progestin known as levonorgestrel might be recommended to some women depending on the cause.
Women may need surgical treatments such as dilation and curettage for menorrhagia when the medical therapies have been unsuccessful.
In this procedure, the doctor dilates the cervix and scrapes or suctions the tissue from the inner lining of the uterus to reduce bleeding.
Uterine artery embolization, focused ultrasound surgery, endometrial ablation, myomectomy, and hysterectomy are other forms of surgeries that may be needed to control heavy bleeding or eliminate the specific underlying causes.
Depending on the type of surgery, patients may need about 2 to 3 days to be able to resume their regular activities. Minimally invasive surgeries like dilation and curettage have a minimal recovery period of 4 to 6 hours.
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