Menorrhagia / Heavy Periods
Menorrhagia is the medical term for heavy periods. This is generally defined as soaking a pad or tampon more than every hour, but any volume of bleeding that interferes with your daily activities or causes you distress is worth discussing with your healthcare provider.
Heavy periods can happen for a variety of reasons, including structural issues in the uterus (fibroids, endometrial polyps, adenomyosis), medical problems (bleeding disorders, thyroid disease, PCOS), certain medications, and in rare cases even cancer).
Evaluation starts with a history (to include questions about your menses, other symptoms, prior treatments) and a physical exam by your provider. Additional evaluation may include blood work, imaging studies, pap smear, or an endometrial biopsy.
Many treatment options are available, including:
- Tranexamic acid (Lysteda) - medication taken just during your menses to decrease bleeding
- Hormonal birth control methods - in addition to acting as birth control, these methods also have the added benefit of making periods lighter or less often
- Myomectomy/polypectomy - if fibroids or polyps are the cause of the heavy bleeding, surgery can be performed to remove the problem
- Endometrial ablation - a device is used to clear the lining of the uterus to decrease or stop menstrual flow
- Hysterectomy - removal of the uterus, usually reserved for cases where less invasive options have failed