Definition - What does Menorrhagia mean?

Menorrhagia is menstrual bleeding that is abnormally heavy or prolonged. Abnormally heavy is classified as bleeding that lasts for more than 7 days, requires the changing of a tampon or pad more than every 1-2 hours, or produces blood clots larger than a quarter. This kind of heavy bleeding is not considered to be part of a normal menstrual cycle.

Menorrhagia has the potential to disrupt daily life. It may also indicate serious health concerns, which may complicate or prevent pregnancy from occurring.

FertilitySmarts explains Menorrhagia

What causes menorrhagia?

  • Uterine issues, including growths, tumors, or pregnancy-related complications such as miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy
  • Hormone issues
  • Certain illnesses or disorders

How is it diagnosed?

To diagnose menorrhagia, a physician uses patient provided information regarding menstrual period symptoms along with health history and a physical examination. Questions similar to this screening tool may be used.

Blood tests, Pap tests, ultrasounds, or an endometrial biopsy, which removes a tissue sample from the uterus for analysis, may be conducted.

What are the treatment options?

Treatment of menorrhagia will depend on the diagnosed cause, severity of the condition, and expectations for the outcome. Possible treatment routes include:

  • Iron supplements, to address anemia, if present
  • Oral birth control or Intrauterine contraception device (IUD), to regulate periods and reduce bleeding
  • Hormone treatment
  • Dilation and curettage (D&C), a procedure to remove the top layer of the uterine lining
  • Endometrial ablation resection, a surgical procedure to removes the lining of the uterus
  • Hysterectomy, a surgical procedure to remove the uterus
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