Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

(Menorrhagia; Hypermenorrhea)

Definition

Heavy menstrual bleeding (also called menorrhagia) is excessive menstrual blood loss that interferes with a woman's quality of life.
Menstrual Flow
Nucleus factsheet image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

In some cases, the cause is not known. However, many conditions have been associated with menorrhagia, such as:

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chances of menorrhagia include:

Symptoms

Symptoms of menorrhagia include:
  • Menstrual bleeding lasting more than seven days
  • Unusually heavy bleeding (soaking through a sanitary napkin or tampon every hour)
  • Menstrual flow requiring change of sanitary protection during the night
  • Menstrual flow including large clots
  • Menstrual flow interfering with lifestyle
  • Fatigue and/or shortness of breath (symptoms of anemia )

When Should I Call My Doctor?

Call your doctor if you have symptoms of menorrhagia.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical examination, including a pelvic exam, will be done. Tests may include:

Treatment

Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the heavy menstrual bleeding. Your doctor will work with you to create a treatment plan.

Medications

Your doctor may recommend:
  • Hormonal therapy
  • An IUD that releases the hormone progesterone
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Iron supplement

Surgical Procedures

In some cases, surgery may be needed, such as:
  • Dilation and curettage
  • Operative hysteroscopy—may be used along with other tools to remove a polyp
  • Removal of the lining of the uterus— endometrial ablation
  • Removal of the uterus— hysterectomy

Advertisement

Prevention

There are no current guidelines to prevent heavy menstrual bleeding.

RESOURCES

Office on Women's Health
http://www.womenshealth.gov

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
http://www.acog.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

The Canadian Women's Health Network
http://www.cwhn.ca

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
http://www.sogc.org

References

Apgar B, Kaufman A, et al. Treatment of menorrhagia. Am Fam Physician. 2007;75(12):1813-1819.

Heavy menstrual bleeding. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 7, 2013. Accessed August 18, 2014.

Menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding). Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menorrhagia/basics/definition/con-20021959. Updated July 2, 2014. Accessed August 18, 2014.

11/20/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: FDA approves Lysteda to treat heavy menstrual bleeding. United States Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm190551.htm. Updated April 16, 2013. Accessed August 18, 2014.

Revision Information

Did you like this? Share with your family and friends.
Current Research From Top Journals


Exercise During Pregnancy May Decrease the Risk of Cesarean Birth
December 2014

Exercise during pregnancy has been associated with many benefits for mom and baby. This review supports the trend and finds that even one day of purposeful activity per week may reduce the need for cesarean birth.

dot separator
previous editions

Maternal Caffeine Intake May Be Associated with Low Birth Weight
November 2014

Prevent Eczema in Kids with a Daily Dose of Moisturizer
November 2014

Broccoli Sprout Compound Associated with Reduction in Autism Symptoms
October 2014

dashed separator

Advertisement

Our Free Newsletter
click here to see all of our uplifting newsletters »

 

Advertisement

Advertisement

DiggDeliciousNewsvineRedditStumbleTechnoratiFacebook