Every month your body goes through the process of preparing to get pregnant. This begins with the uterus thickening wall in preparation for receiving a fertilized egg. The wall will shed as part of your menstrual period when this doesn’t occur. The average woman loses about 2.7 ounces of blood during this process. Some women, however, have significantly heavier periods resulting in greater blood loss. Known as menorrhagia, this condition occurs in around 12% of all women.
Learning More About Menorrhagia And What You Can Do
The average time it takes for typical menstruation to fill a pad or tampon is about four hours. Women who experience heavier periods may need to change their pad or tampon every two hours or even every hour. In serious cases, this amount of blood loss may lead to feelings of weakness or fainting. It’s also possible for this amount of blood loss each month to produce anemia from iron deficiency. A host of treatments are available to address heavy menstrual bleeding. The right treatment will depend on the underlying cause of your condition.
Five common treatments for heavy menstruation include;
- NSAIDs – Drugs like naproxen sodium and ibuprofen, known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can ease cramp pain. They won’t help reduce your blood loss.
- Hormonal Contraceptives – Oral contraceptives can address some underlying causes of heavy bleeding. Contraceptive devices that have a hormonal element can also be beneficial. These work by reducing the amount by which your uterus thickens.
- Hormone-based medications – Similarly, medication with a hormonal element can also help balance menstrual bleeding. This is an approach often successful with those approaching menopause.
- Tranexamic Acid – This drug works by reducing the amount of blood lost. It accomplishes this by slowing the rate at which blood clots break down.
The fifth treatment is used in cases where the cause of bleeding is adhesions, polyps, or fibroids. The latter two are forms of non-cancerous growths that can occur on or within the uterine tissue. Adhesions are also non-cancerous and are made of scar tissue. They often appear in women living with endometriosis. This condition causes the uterine lining to develop in places where it shouldn’t. Surgical procedures can be used to address all these sources.
Surgical approaches include:
- Endometrial Ablation – This approach is used to eliminate the aforementioned adhesions. This is accomplished using laparoscopic surgery to eliminate the scar tissue.
- Uterine Fibroid Embolization – This procedure places blocks in the blood vessels leading to uterine fibroids. This results in the fibroids shrinking, easing symptoms.
- Hysterectomy – This approach is used when other options have failed or by the desire of the patient. A hysterectomy removes the uterus in its entirety. It can also remove the ovaries and cervix when necessary. Without a uterus, there will be no monthly menstruation.
Learn More About Heavy Bleeding From Your Specialist
If you experience heavy bleeding as part of your menstrual period, reach out to your specialist. They’ll perform an assessment to determine the cause and help develop a treatment plan to address it.