Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
En Español (Spanish Version)
More InDepth Information on This Condition

Definition
Heavy menstrual bleeding (also called menorrhagia) is excessive menstrual blood loss that interferes with a woman's quality of life.

Menstrual Flow

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
Prevention
There are no current guidelines to prevent heavy menstrual bleeding.




RESOURCES:
Office on Women's Health

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

CANADIAN RESOURCES:
The Canadian Women's Health Network

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada

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.

Last Reviewed August 2014



Health Information Library content is provided by EBSCO Publishing, fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

 

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

 

To send comments or feedback to EBSCO's Editorial Team regarding the content please e-mail healthlibrarysupport@ebscohost.com.