What Are the Treatments for a Heavy Period?
The side effects and blood flow of menstruation periods can vary for women. Some may experience what is considered to be normal bleeding and pain, while others can have extreme bouts of painful cramping or excessive bleeding during each menstrual cycle. The causes of these different reactions depend on a variety of things, including hormone production and reactions in the reproductive organs during menstruation. There are a variety of treatments available for women who experience heavy periods.
Causes of Heavy Bleeding
Heavy bleeding (menorrhagia) during menstrual cycles is not necessarily an indication of a medical problem. Many women bleed heavily during each period and have no adverse conditions that would indicate a more serious hematological dysfunction, such as hemophilia. Menorrhagia can be caused by dysfunctions in the endometrial lining of the uterus, such as fibroid growth, that result from hormonal imbalances. Irregular heavy bleeding during menstrual cycles may be an indication of more serious conditions. Growths that may develop on the uterine lining, the fallopian tubes, the cervix or the ovaries can become problematic if they result in excessive bleeding associated with pain. Cysts that appear within the reproductive system can often become malignant, resulting in heavy bleeding and cellular degeneration that can lead to chronic pain and, in some cases, cancer.
According to the Mayo Clinic, taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can reduce blood loss during the menstrual cycle. Taking NSAIDs can also help to relieve cramps that many women experience during menstruation or prior to their monthly periods. In some cases menorrhagia is accompanied by anemia. For these cases a doctor will suggest taking an iron supplement daily. In cases where the patient is experiencing low levels of iron but is not yet anemic, the doctor may recommend starting iron supplements to avoid becoming anemic.
In many cases, a doctor may prescribe oral contraceptives to address any dysfunctions that may be causing heavy bleeding during menstruation. Hormonal imbalances can cause excessive growth of the endometrial lining of the uterus or polyps in other reproductive organs, which will result in abnormally heavy bleeding. Oral contraceptives, which regulate estrogen and progesterone production, are often prescribed to treat these conditions.
Treatment for Problematic Cases
In more problematic cases of heavy bleeding that do not respond to hormone therapy, injections of Depo Provera or other medications that regulate hormone production may be prescribed. A hysterectomy may be indicated for more severe cases of chronic menorrhagia, although this surgical method results in the removal of the uterus and/or the fallopian tubes and is therefore considered to be a last resort.
Diagnosis of Heavy Bleeding
A thorough pelvic examination may be useful in diagnosing causes of heavy bleeding. This includes an examination of the entire reproductive system for signs of disease or abnormalities that may be causing menorrhagia symptoms. Ultrasound may also be used to find any unusual cystic or fibroid growth on reproductive organs. Blood tests and Pap smears may also be part of a diagnostic examination.