23 October 2018
My periods are always so heavy that I go through several pads an hour and even have to wake up at night to change. It’s really affecting my daily life. Are there any treatments for this?
Problems with heavy periods are one of the commonest reasons a woman will consult her doctor.
The medical term for this is ‘menorrhagia’ and it can have a very negative effect on a woman’s quality of life. Regular and heavy periods are not often caused by dangerous conditions such as a cancer. They may however indicate benign problems such as fibroids which are growths in the muscle of the womb. These can be easily identified by a clinical examination and an ultrasound scan. Often it is not possible to establish a specific diagnosis, but the symptoms can still be treated.
The good news is that there are many treatments available that can help and there really is no need to suffer in silence. Treatments range from simple medication that you only need to take when you are bleeding heavily and do not interfere with fertility.
Several contraceptives, such as the combined oral contraceptive pill (“the pill”) can successfully treat heavy and painful periods. Newer treatments such as the Mirena coil and endometrial ablation can also be very effective and help avoid the need for a hysterectomy (the surgical removal of the uterus).
Hysterectomy is a very effective procedure in treating heavy periods but can sometimes result in complications and is only recommended if other treatments have failed or when the patient wants the absence of any periods. Hysterectomy is only used when a woman has completed her family.
Find out more about Mr Dirk Brinkmann, Consultant Gynaecologist and Cancer Surgeon practising at Spire Portsmouth Hospital.
The content of this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other health care professional.