Menorrhagia is the medical term for menstrual periods with abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding (1). It is an extremely common conditions with varying presentations; some women have prolonged bleeding, and others have short but extremely heavy periods. The royal women’s hospital suggests that it is so common that 1 in 5 women experience heavy periods.
Menorrhagia is not to be confused with menorrhagia or dysfunctional uterine bleeding, which is bleeding outside the period.
In some cases, the cause of heavy menstrual bleeding is unknown, but a number of conditions may cause menorrhagia. Common causes include:
The western medicine treatment of menorrhagia is based on the correction of underlying ethology. Common treatments include medications such as oral contraceptives, or oblation. Other treatments include IUD removal or neoplasms removed. Menorrhagia in older women may results in total hysterectomy. However treatments can be difficult in younger women where cause is unknown or older women who do not want total hysterectomy.
It is important to not that many women in late 30’s and 40’s can have uterine fibroids. Anything larger than a ‘robins egg’ and if excessive bleeding is not brought under control by Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine, could consider an myomectomy surgical removal. However since women with 1 fibroid often have small ‘seed’ fibroids, which cannot be seen during surgery women surgically treated often go onto see one or more of these seeds develop into larger fibroids. So should continue treatment post surgery to decrease the chances of these growing and heavy bleeding to resume.
It is important that heavy periods are properly investigated, as some of the less common causes can lower your iron levels and red blood cells. We recommend seeing your GP or gynaecologist before starting Acupuncture & Chinese herbal treatments to rule out more sinister causes.
More information on treatment to come
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