It is hard to define what heavy periods are, and also if a woman needs to be investigated to find a reason or treat a problem.
Medical assistance should be requested if:
- You become anaemic or Iron deficient as this may impair your performance or daily activities.
- You have an episode of vaginal bleeding (any amount counts) after your menopause.
- You notice a difference in the pattern of your periods.
- You notice vaginal bleeding out of your normal periods time.
- You develop pain with your periods (It should not be assume than age is related to periods problems).
There are quite a number of conditions that cause heavy or abnormal periods or abnormal vaginal bleeding.
The following are only an example:
- Hormonal causes.
- Adenomyosis:The lining of the uterus grows into the muscle or wall of the uterus.
- Fibroids: Lumps arising from the muscle of the uterus.
- Polyps: Small lumps arising from the lining of the uterus.
- Ovarian cysts
- Precancer or hyperplasia of the lining of the uterus.
- Cancer of the uterus.
- Medical conditions like thyroid disease, pelvic inflammatory disease and endometriosis.
Investigations to determine the reason for abnormal vaginal bleeding may include a pelvic scan and a hysteroscopy (where a thin telescope or hysteroscope is used vaginally and passed through the neck of the womb (cervix) into the uterus to assess the uterine cavity.
Treatment of heavy periods or menorrhagia
Medical treatment may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, oral contraceptive pills,, progesterone and others
Surgical treatment may involve:
- Insertion of a Mirena coil: It does release a progesterone hormone that controls the bleeding.
- Operative hysteroscopy: (to remove polyps, some type of fibroids and to exclude cancer)
- Ablation: This is the burning or destruction of the lining of the uterus to prevent it from growing again.
- Hysterectomy: The removal of the uterus (normally the ovaries are not removed).