Menorrhagia - Excessive Menstrual Bleeding
There are several other causes of menorrhagia including uterine polyps, ovarian cysts, ovary dysfunction, intrauterine device (IUD), and adenomyosis. Chemotherapy, blood thinning medication, or anti-inflammatory medication may cause menorrhagia. Some medical conditions may increase the risk of menorrhagia, including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), thyroid disorders, endometriosis, lupus, liver disease, kidney disease, blood disorders, and certain types of cancer.
SymptomsMenorrhagia causes extremely heavy menstrual bleeding. The bleeding is heavy enough to soak through one or more sanitary pad or tampon every half-hour for several hours. You may need to change your pad during the night. Your menstrual flow may contain large blood clots. Your periods may last longer than seven days or be irregular. You may experience constant pain in your lower abdomen during your periods. Substantial blood loss may lead to anemia. Symptoms of anemia include feeling tired, shortness of breath, and a pale complexion.
Your doctor will conduct a physical examination and some tests. Your blood may be tested for abnormalities, such as anemia. A Pap smear may be used to test your cervix for abnormal or cancerous cells. An endometrial biopsy may be used to obtain cell samples from your uterus for examination.
Imaging tests may be conducted to help identify abnormal growths. An ultrasound uses sound waves to create pictures of your internal organs. A sonohysterogram uses ultrasound after fluid is inserted into your uterus. A sonohysterogram is used to identify problems with the uterine lining. A hysterosalpingography is used to evaluate the size of your uterus and fallopian tubes. This test involves using an injected dye to highlight X-ray images.
Your doctor will rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms to menorrhagia. For instance, a one-time late heavy period may be an early miscarriage. An ectopic pregnancy may cause heavy bleeding. An ectopic pregnancy is a serious complication that results when the fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus.
Am I at RiskYoung females may be especially prone to menorrhagia for the first 12 to 18 months following their first period or before they are ovulate regularly. Women that experience hormonal imbalances as they approach menopause are at risk for menorrhagia. Females with hereditary bleeding disorders have the highest risk. Woman who are post-menopausal with certain gynecological cancers are at risk for menorrhagia.
ComplicationsIron deficiency anemia is a common type of anemia that is caused by menorrhagia. Severe cramps (dysmenorrhea) may accompany heavy bleeding. The hormone imbalances and irregular periods associated with menorrhagia may contribute to infertility.
NovaSure® is a newer treatment for menorrhagia. It is a quick, safe, simple, one-time endometrial ablation treatment. It is an alternative to hysterectomy. NovaSure gently removes the lining of the uterus with precisely measured electrical energy. This quick simple procedure is performed as an in-office procedure and generally takes less than 5 minutes. Unlike other ablation methods or hysterectomy, NovaSure does not involve hormones and has a quick recovery time—most women return to their regular activities the next day.
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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.
The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.