Heavy menstrual bleeding can affect your life and your health
Many women believe that the heavy menstrual bleeding they experience each month is a normal part of menstruation. Our Austin obgyns want women to know that heavy menstrual bleeding that disrupts their life is not normal, and we can help them with this issue.
Heavy menstrual bleeding, also known as menorrhagia, is defined as bleeding that meets the following conditions:
- Enough blood to soak through one or more pads or tampons each hour for several consecutive hours
- Bleeding that requires a woman to use new pads or tampons during the night or bleeding that requires double protection, such as two pads or a tampon and a pad
- Bleeding that lasts longer than one week
- Blood clots in the menstrual blood that are the size of a quarter or larger
- Heavy menstrual bleeding that restricts daily activities or requires life changes
- Experiencing symptoms that may indicate anemia, such as feeling tired, fatigued or short of breath
Heavy menstrual bleeding has several causes
Most heavy menstrual bleeding can be attributed to one of the following causes:
- Anovulation, a term for not ovulating monthly
- Conditions that cause abnormalities in the uterine tissue, including: fibroids, polyps or adenomyosis, a condition that occurs when the tissue lining the uterus grows into the uterine wall.
- Bleeding disorders, such as a low platelet count
Less common causes are cancer, endometriosis or medications, such as blood thinners, that cause heavy menstrual bleeding.
Diagnosing bleeding problems
When a woman comes to see our Austin obgyns about heavy menstrual bleeding, we take a thorough medical history and perform a pelvic examination. After this, we may perform one or more tests to diagnose the cause of the problem.
These range from basic laboratory tests to imaging tests such as an ultrasound, MRI or a sonohysterography, an ultrasound that is conducted after fluid is placed in the uterus with a thin plastic tube.
Our experienced physicians may also perform minimally invasive surgery to diagnose the cause of heavy menstrual bleeding. These procedures include hysteroscopy, which involves inserting a scope into the uterus to provide a view of the uterus, or an endometrial biopsy to remove a small amount of endometrial tissue for examination.
Treatment may include medications and/or procedures
Heavy menstrual bleeding can be treated with medications, such as hormonal birth control methods or hormone therapy. Our physicians also prescribe gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists or a medication called tranexamic acid.
If medication doesn’t relieve a woman’s heavy menstrual bleeding and we have already discussed your plans to get pregnant in the future, our Austin obgyns may recommend minimally invasive surgical procedures, including:
- Uterine artery embolization (UAE)
- Endometrial ablation
In some cases, a hysterectomy may be necessary; most treatments can be performed using minimally invasive techniques.
Our Austin obgyns encourage women to see us if they experience heavy menstrual bleeding that is adversely affecting their lives. No woman should suffer in silence. Contact us for an appointment.
Our Gynecology Services
- Abnormal Pap Treatments
- Bladder Health
- Bone Density Scans
- Breast Exams
- Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
- Hormone Replacement Therapy
- Imaging Services
- In-Office Procedures
- Menopause Management
- Pelvic Floor Therapy
- Permanent Birth Control
- Screening and Treating STDs
- Treatment of Pelvic Infections
- Urinary Incontinence
- Uterine Fibroids
- UTI & Recurrent UTI
- Vaginal Discharge/Itch
- Menstrual Concerns
- Ectopic Pregnancy
- Pelvic Pain
- Pain with Intercourse