Menorrhagia (Painful Periods)

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Menorrhagia is the medical term for heavy menstrual bleeding. Menorrhagia is prevalent, affecting one out of every five premenopausal women. It can be caused by hormonal imbalances, non-cancerous tumors of the uterus, polyps on the lining of the uterus, and other abnormalities of the uterine lining. Common symptoms of menorrahgia are:

  • periods that last more than five days
  • heavy bleeding that requires double protection
  • or changing protection every 1 to 2 hours
  • passing large blood clots
  • painful pelvic cramping
  • fatigue, anemia, headaches, and nausea.

Due to the above symptoms, many women are forced to miss work, avoid sexual activities, and miss social events. Many women with menorrhagia also report depression, anxiety, and lack of confidence as a result of the impact menorrhagia has on their lives.

Until recently, medical treatments for menorrhagia included hormones, and hysterectomy, which is the surgical removal of the uterus.

Endometrial ablation is a newer treatment option for women with menorrhagia. It is a surgical procedure that involves burning the endometrium to eliminate it. The endometrium is the tissue that lines the uterus and is responsible for menstrual bleeding. After the procedure a woman may never bleed again, or her bleeding is significantly less. There are no hormones involved, there is minimal risk, minimal pain, and virtually no recovery time. The procedure can be performed in the office or as an outpatient procedure.

Questions and Answers About Menorrahgia

1. How long does the procedure last?
Depending on the type of endometrial ablation, the actual ablation time varies between 2 to 10 minutes. The total procedure time usually varies between 15 to 20 minutes. Women can have the procedure performed in the office under local anesthesia or IV sedation. It can also be performed as an outpatient procedure in the operating room under general anesthesia.

2. Will endometrial ablation cure my condition?
Studies show that approximately 30 to 40% of women who have an endometrial ablation have no further menstrual bleeding. 10% of women who have the procedure continue to have heavy bleeding. The remaining women have normal or very light menses. Basically this means that 90% of women who have an endometrial ablation are satisfied with the procedure and have lighter menses or no menses at all.

3. Does this procedure eliminate all the problems: cramping, headaches, nausea, anemia?
Because most women have lighter or no menstrual bleeding, associated symptoms such as pelvic cramping, bloating, and nausea are also improved or eliminated. Anemia also resolves if their bleeding decreases.

4. Can the problem come back when the endometrium re-grows?
Once the endometrium is burned it does not grow back. The reason women can still have bleeding is because some endometrium gets missed. The remaining endometrium continues to bleed.

5. How does this procedure affect women of childbearing age?
Women who have this procedure should not get pregnant afterwords because it can cause serious complications for the pregnancy. Women who desire future childbearing are not candidates for this procedure. Additionally, a women who has an endometrial ablation must use some form of birth control, preferably permanent birth control, after having the procedure.

6. Are all Alegent Health Clinic OB/GYNs trained in this procedure?
All Alegent Health Clinic OB/Gyns do at least one type of endometrial ablation in the operating room under general anesthesia which increases the risk, recovery time, and cost of the procedure to the patient.

Only Dr. Erin Evans and Dr. Ann Sullivan currently are performing the procedure in the office under local anesthesia. click the right-hand link to make an appointment with one of these physicians.

More Information
Scheduling information

Your doctor needs to refer you to ensure this procedure is appropriate for you. If you don't have a primary care physician, we can help you find one near your home or where you work.

You can even request an appointment online. Or call 1-800-ALEGENT (1-800-253-4368).