Causes and Treatments for Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

Menorrhagia, the medical term for heavy menstrual bleeding, affects more than ten million American women each year, about one in every five. Even though heavy menstrual bleeding is common, it is not normal, and it can be a sign of other issues. Rather than allowing heavy menstrual bleeding to negatively impact your quality of life, Coyle Institute can uncover the root cause and develop a plan to treat it effectively.

Defining Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

The amount of menstrual bleeding a woman experiences will vary over the course of her lifetime. Some women bleed more than others during their menstrual cycles. However, you may have menorrhagia if you:

  •   Soak through one or more pads or tampons every hour for several hours in a row
  •   Change pads or tampons during the night
  •   Have menstrual periods lasting more than one week
  •   Pass blood clots the size of a quarter or larger in your menstrual flow
  •   Are unable to do the things you normally do because of your heavy menstrual flow
  •   Experience constant pain in the lower abdomen during your periods
  •   Feel tired, fatigued or experience shortness of breath

Potential Causes of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

At Coyle Institute, we reject the idea of trying out treatments without first investigating the cause of the issue. When it comes to heavy menstrual bleeding, we typically recommend a full workup for our patients to give our providers the best understanding of your medical history and current health status. In many cases, a pelvic ultrasound can help identify the cause of heavy menstrual bleeding. Our providers will also review lab and Pap test results. In some cases, an endometrial biopsy may be done to test a tissue sample from inside the uterus. After these examinations, causes of heavy menstrual bleeding can usually be identified.

Some potential causes of heavy menstrual bleeding may include:

Some potential causes of heavy menstrual bleeding may include:

  •   Endometrial hyperplasia, a condition in which the lining of the uterus grows too thick
  •   Endometrial or uterine polyps, which are small, soft, non-cancerous growths that occur inside the uterus
  •   Hormone imbalances
  •   Bleeding-related disorders, such as von Willebrand disease or platelet function disorders
  •   Non-bleeding-related disorders such as liver, kidney or thyroid disease; pelvic inflammatory disease; and cancer

Noninvasive Treatments for Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

Since iron is excreted by the body through menstrual flow, we commonly prescribe iron supplements for women experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding. Additionally, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or aspirin are also recommended for women experiencing menorrhagia. Hormonal birth control (pills, vaginal rings, patches or IUDs) can also be beneficial to women with heavy menstrual bleeding because they can make periods more regular while also lightening blood flow. However, we only recommend this for women of childbearing age, since women over 35 who are on hormonal birth control are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer. If a hormonal imbalance is the cause of menorrhagia, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) can be prescribed to remedy hormone deficiencies that may be resulting in heavy menstrual bleeding.

Other Treatments for Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

Coyle Institute is home to some of the most advanced technologies in minimally invasive surgical interventions for heavy menstrual bleeding. Procedures such as endometrial ablation or dilation and curettage can effectively treat heavy menstrual bleeding by removing polyps and fibroids or thinning the uterine lining. If all other interventions fail, a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) is the definitive cure for menorrhagia.

You don’t have to live with heavy menstrual bleeding. Do something about it today by booking an appointment at Coyle Institute. Call us today at 850.637.8258.