Menorrhagia

General Illness Information

Medical Term: Menorrhagia

Common Name : Heavy Menses

Description: A common disorder that is characterized by unusually heavy menstruation or prolonged menstrual flow. The average amount of blood loss during a normal menstrual period is 40 to 50 ml. With menorrhagia, a woman may lose 80 ml or more. It rarely signifies a serious underlying disorder.

Causes: Menorrhagia can be caused by a variety of causes. These include: Imbalance of hormones (estrogen and progesterone), Fibroids (benign uterine tumors), Pelvic infection, Endometrial disorder, Intrauterine device, Hypothyroidism, Pregnancy, Ovarian cyst or tumor and other hormonal causes.

Prevention: Annual pelvic examinations with a cervical smear test (Pap smear).

Signs & Symptoms

  • Excessive menstrual flow (varies greatly from woman to woman).
  • Menstrual period lasts for more than 7 days.
  • Large clots of blood may be passed.
  • Paleness and fatigue (anemia).

Risk Factors

  • Obesity.
  • Estrogen administration (without progesterone).
  • Young women who have not established a regular ovulation cycle.
  • Women approaching menopause.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Special medical diagnostic tests (e.g.. pregnancy test, endometrial biopsy, blood tests) to help determine cause of bleeding may be performed. Pelvic ultrasound may also help in determining the cause of menorrhagia.

General Measures:

  • Treatment usually depends on age of the patient, whether or not she wants children, and on any underlying disorder.
  • If using an IUD, consider a change to another method of contraception.
  • Dilation and curettage, often referred to as D&C (dilatation of the cervix and a scraping out of uterus with a curette) may be performed.
  •  Endometrial ablation ( wherein the enometrial lining is destroyed by applying heat treatment) or hysterectomy may be considered in persistent and severe cases where fertility is not desired.

Medications:

  • Hormone therapy to control bleeding may be prescribed.
  • If hormones cannot be taken for some reason, other medications to control the bleeding my be recommended.
  • Iron replacement therapy may be prescribed for anemia.

Activity:

Bed rest may be helpful.

Diet:

No special diet.

Possible Complications :

  • Anemia due to excessive blood loss.
  • Surgery may be required.

Prognosis

Varies with cause of bleeding. Patients with hormonal causes usually respond to treatment.

Other

Nothing Specified.

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