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Menorrhagia

Overview

Menorrhagia is an abnormally heavy or prolonged menstrual period, at regular intervals.

What is a normal menstrual cycle?

A normal menstrual cycle comes every 21-35 days, with bleeding on average for 5 days, with a total blood loss 25-80 ml. It is possible to estimate the amount of bleeding by the number of pads a women uses during her period. A regular tampon fully soaked will hold about 5 ml of blood.

What is regarded as abnormal?

  • If menses are prolonged (more than 7 days)
  • If you are passing clots
  • If you are feeling weak

Why should I seek help?

Aside from the social distress of dealing with a prolonged and heavy period, over a period of time the blood will result in depleting iron stores and anaemia.

What causes menorrhagia?

  • Hormonal imbalance (most common cause)
  • Uterine fibroid
  • Uterine polyp
  • Endometrial cancer
  • PID, intrauterine device(Cu-T)
  • Blood disorders of coagulation

When should I visit the doctor?

If you're experiencing abnormalities in quantity of bleeding, passage of clots, excessive pain and/or severe anaemia.

Menorrhagia is never normal, even if it's occurring at an older age when periods should be halting (menopause).
Menorrhagia is easily treatable and should not be ignored.

Treatment options

Medical therapy
  • Iron supplements
  • Hormone tablets (estrogen, progesterone)
  • Hormone containing intrauterine device (Mirena)
The doctor, on understanding your problem, will prescribe what is best suited for your condition.
Surgical therapy
These can vary from a simple D&C to endometrial ablation or even a hysterectomy. Newer, minimally invasive treatments which do not involve prolonged hospital stay or periods of rest, are available.

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