Don't Let Heavy Periods Interfere With Your Life
Donít Let Heavy Periods Interfere With Your
This information was provided by Ethicon Womenís Health & Urology,
Division of Ethicon, Inc.
The menstrual cycle helps a womanís body prepare for a potential pregnancy
every month. Most periods last from four to seven days and occur about every 28
For most women, menstruation is a simple fact of life. But if you have heavy
periods, menstruation is anything but simple.
Heavy periods may be disrupting your life. Do you:
- Need to change menstrual pads or tampons constantly?
- Wear dark clothes to avoid accidents?
- Suffer from exhaustion?
- Experience significant cramping?
If you've experienced symptoms like these, you may have a treatable
What are Heavy Periods?
Heavy periods, also known as menorrhagia (pronounced men-or-ah-jah), is a
surprisingly common condition, affecting approximately 1 in 3 women.1
Almost every woman has a heavy period now and then, but some women have
periods so heavy that they consistently interfere with their regular activities.
What are Common Symptoms of Heavy Periods?
- Periods that last longer than 7 days
- Menstrual flow that soaks through one or more tampons or napkins every
hour for several consecutive hours
- Menstrual flow that includes large blood clots
- Fatigue or shortness of breath (which are symptoms of anemia caused by
here to assess your symptoms and learn about treatment options that may be
right for you.
Causes of Heavy Periods
Several medical conditions may cause or contribute to heavy periods. It's
also possible to experience heavy periods with no known cause.
- Hormonal imbalance: An imbalance of the female hormones estrogen and
progesterone. Hormonal imbalance can also be a sign of early menopause (also
known as perimenopause), which can lead to irregular or heavy periods.
- Fibroids: Benign (noncancerous) growths in the smooth muscle tissue of the
walls of the uterus, or womb. They can be as small as a pea or grow larger
than a grapefruit. Pressure from fibroids may build with each menstrual cycle
and cause heavy periods. Click
here to learn more about fibroids.
- Medication: Some drugs, such as anticoagulants (drugs that prevent the
clotting of blood) or anti-inflammatory medications, can cause heavy or
- Infection or Disease: Heavy periods can also be a sign of more serious
conditions like certain types of cancer or infections in the uterus.
You don't have to accept the limits heavy periods can put on your lifestyle.
here to find a doctor who has experience treating heavy periods.
Treatments for Heavy Periods
Medical experts often treat heavy periods with less invasive methods first,
such as birth control pills or global endometrial ablation (GEA), and reserve
hysterectomy for specific circumstances.2
Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills can help reduce menstrual flow by up to 60%1, but it may
not be the best option for all women.
For some women, birth control pills are simply ineffective in reducing heavy
periods. For others, the potential side effects of weight gain, mood swings and
breast tenderness may be too undesirable.
Global Endometrial Ablation (GEA)
If birth control pills have not been a successful treatment for you, GEA may
offer an effective, nonhormonal option.
During an endometrial ablation procedure, your doctor inserts a catheter into
the uterus (womb) to treat the endometrium, the lining of the uterus. Over the
next week or so after treatment, the uterine lining sheds, much like it would
during menstruation, resulting in lighter periods.
Ablation treatments may be performed in a doctorís office or in a hospital.
here to learn more about GEA.
If birth control pills or endometrial ablation have not been effective or are
not advised for you, your doctor may recommend a hysterectomy. Before you commit
to having a hysterectomy, however, you should know that it is a major surgery.
here to explore your hysterectomy options.
Be sure to talk to a doctor about the treatment options that may be best for
here for a list of questions to ask your doctor about your heavy periods.
Before making a final decision about your treatment, review all your options
and consider getting a second opinion. Click
here to find a list of physicians in your area who may be able to help you.
You donít have to live with heavy periods.
- The Lewin Group. Prevalence and Treatment Patterns of Pelvic Health
Disorders Among US Women. 2007
- ACOG Practice Bulletin. Clinical Management Guidelines for
Obstetrician-Gynecologists. Number 14, March 2000.
For more information on heavy-periods periods or solutions for heavy periods,
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