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:: Pelvic Inflammatory Diseases (PID) :: Vaginal Bleeding :: Cancer

Excessive Menstrual Bleeding

From their early teens, women experience and adapt to the rhythm of periodic menstrual bleeding. But when bleeding seems excessive, how much is too much?

Heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding is called menorrhagia, and is defined as a period lasting more than seven days and exceeding more than 80cc of blood. Persistent bleeding can lead to a low red blood cell count, or anemia. Most causes of excessive menstrual bleeding are either the result of distortions in the uterus, or the disturbance of normal ovarian function.

Distorted Uterine Anatomy may be caused by disorders or disease that physically impair normal uterine function. Common examples include: uterine fibroids, endometrial polyps, adenomyosis, endometrial hyperplasia, or malignant tumors.

Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding is abnormal menstrual pattern caused by the interruption of the normal ovarian cycle that leads to egg production (ovulation). Dysfunctional uterine bleeding is often addressed with hormone therapy, using birth control pills, estrogens (e.g. Premarin) or progestins (e.g. Provera).

If medical treatment fails, and cancer has been ruled out as a cause for bleeding, often surgery is recommended.

Whenever surgery is considered to control excessive bleeding, it is important for the patient to realize that there are choices available. The right choice is based on the cause of bleeding, and the preferences of the patient.

Hysterectomy is no longer the only option, and newer, less invasive techniques offer excellent results, with less pain and quicker recovery when compared to traditional abdominal or vaginal operations.

Other procedures include endometrial ablation, which treats the lining of the uterus, and laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy where only the upper portion of the uterus is removed. Both are usually performed as outpatient procedures, with recovery times of less than two weeks.

 

 
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