More options than ever are available to treat excessive menstrual bleeding. For many women, the pain and inconvenience of heavy menstrual bleeding may interfere with living life to the fullest. If you're among them, the good news is there are treatment options.
Where to start? You can begin by asking yourself a few simple questions.
What is excessive menstrual bleeding?
Menstruation is the shedding of the lining of the uterus (endometrium), and is a cycle that repeats itself approximately every 28 days in a woman who is not pregnant. Excessive menstrual bleeding, also known as menorrhagia, is defined as blood loss of more than 80mL during a menstrual cycle. This translates into bleeding for more than 7 days or using more than 10 pads or tampons per day during the menstrual cycle. Excessive menstrual bleeding is a common cause of iron-deficiency anemia.
What are the symptoms?
Women describe the symptoms of excessive menstrual bleeding as unmanageable bleeding and a constant need to change soaked pads or tampons. They often complain of fatigue (a common side effect of anemia) and are concerned about embarrassing accidents.
What are the causes of excessive menstrual bleeding?
Hormonal imbalance. Causes dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB) and accounts for approximately 20 percent of hysterectomies.
Fibroids and polyps. Causes structural uterine bleeding and accounts for 30 percent of hysterectomies.
Infection or disease. Infection of the uterus or cervix and certain types of cancer, such as cancer of the uterus, cervix or vagina.
Fibroids & Polyps
What are fibroids?
Fibroids, also known as myomas, are abnormal, but usually benign (non-cancerous), growths or
tumors that frequently occur on the muscles and connective tissues inside the uterine walls or on
its surface. Fibroids can occur as a single growth or multiple growths and vary in size from as
small as a pea, to the size of a grapefruit. They typically grow larger over time.
What are polyps?
Polyps are growths in the lining of the uterus that are usually benign.
Who is affected by fibroids?
A fibroid is the most common growth found inside a woman's uterus. Fibroids occur in up to
40 percent of women age 30 and older.
What are the consequences of fibroids and polyps?
Depending on size, number and location, fibroids can cause changes in the menstrual cycle, pain
in the abdomen or lower back, pain during sex, difficult or frequent urination, constipation,
miscarriage, infertility or anemia (due to excessive menstrual bleeding). Fertility problems are
attributable to fibroids that block the fallopian tubes or prevent implantation of a fertilized egg in
Are there different types of fibroids?
There are different types of fibroids:
Submucosal fibroid - grows from the uterine wall into the uterine cavity, sometimes
distorting it, which can lead to pain, abnormal bleeding and infertility.
Subserosal fibroid - grows from the uterine wall to the outside of the uterus and can cause
pressure on the bladder, bowel and intestine. These fibroids can cause bloating, abdominal
pressure, cramping and pelvic pain.