5 Options for Treating Heavy Periods

Each month, the lining of your uterus thickens to ready itself for pregnancy. If you don’t conceive and a fertilized egg doesn’t implant in your uterine wall, your uterus sheds its lining and a menstrual period occurs.

During a menstrual period, your body loses an average of about 2.7 ounces (60 milliliters) of blood. But some women experience heavy periods, during which they lose more blood than that. This condition is known as menorrhagia. Approximately 9-14% of women experience heavy periods.

With an average menstrual blood flow, it takes about four hours to fully soak a tampon or pad. If you have heavy periods, saturation can occur in as little as one or two hours. You may even feel weak from the loss of blood, although not all women with heavy periods do. In some cases, heavy bleeding can lead to iron deficiency.

Treatments for heavy menstrual bleeding

Your healthcare providers at Virtuosa GYN can help. We have a variety of treatment options for heavy periods. The treatment that is best for you depends on the cause of your heavy periods. Here are five options for treating heavy periods.  

1. Pain relief medications

Over-the-counter NSAID drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen not only help decrease the amount of blood you lose during your period, but they can help with the painful menstrual cramps that often accompany heavy bleeding.

2. Oral contraceptives or contraceptive devices

Depending on the cause of your menstrual bleeding, you may benefit from taking oral contraceptives. The hormones in birth control pills can help regulate your periods and may reduce bleeding by limiting the buildup of the tissue in your uterine walls between periods.

An intrauterine device, or IUD, implanted in the uterus can prevent pregnancy, but it can also reduce menstrual bleeding if it’s the type of IUD that releases hormones.

3. Hormone-based medications

Hormones such as progesterone can sometimes bring menstrual bleeding back into balance, particularly if you are nearing the age of menopause.

4. Tranexamic acid

A prescription drug known as tranexamic acid can reduce monthly bleeding by slowing the breaking down of blood clots.

5. Minimally invasive surgical procedures

Heavy periods can be the result of benign fibroids, polyps, or adhesions. Fibroids and polyps are non-cancerous growths that develop in the uterus. Adhesions, which are also non-cancerous, are clumps of scar tissue that can occur in women with endometriosis, a condition in which tissue from the uterine lining grows in places where it doesn’t belong.

Having fibroids, polyps, or adhesions can interfere with the muscular contractions that occur each month as your uterus sheds its lining. We use several techniques to remove fibroids, polyps, or adhesions that cause heavy bleeding or other health problems.

Range of surgical procedures

Depending on the cause of your heavy bleeding, the symptoms it causes, and where you are in your reproductive life, you may have a range of surgical options.

For example, if you require surgery to remove endometrial adhesions, you may opt to have endometrial ablation, a minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery that eliminates scar tissue caused by endometriosis.

If fibroids are causing your heavy menstrual bleeding, you have several minimally invasive treatment options, including laparoscopic robotic surgery. You may also benefit from the Accesa™ procedure, during which your doctor makes tiny incisions in your abdomen and inserts a device that shrinks fibroids using radiofrequency ablation.

If menstrual bleeding is severe enough and you’ve completed your family, you may opt to have a minimally invasive hysterectomy. During this procedure, we use the da Vinci® robotic system to remove your uterus and, if necessary, other reproductive organs such as your ovaries, fallopian tubes, or cervix.

Don’t let heavy menstrual bleeding sideline you. Your healthcare providers here at Virtuosa GYN in San Antonio, Texas, can talk with you about the best treatment for your heavy periods. Call today for an appointment or book one online.

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