We asked members of our medical staff to answer some common questions they
hear from their patients. Read
Dr. Amber Cohn's answer to: I have very heavy periods. What are some treatment options for me?
Q: I have very heavy periods. What are some treatment options for me?
A: Heavy periods, or excessive menstrual bleeding, can be a significant
problem for some women. The heavy bleeding can impact daily activities, and other side effects
include pain and lack of energy.
There are a wide range of treatment options for heavy periods. Medical
options include prescribing birth control pills, which can make periods
lighter, or an injection of a medication called depo provera, which can
stop periods completely. Some other medical options are an implant in
the arm called Nexplanon, or an Intra-uterine device (IUD) such as Mirena
or Klyeena. These IUDs are good for five years. Nexplanon and an IUD can
also decrease a woman’s cycle or make it go away completely.
There are also surgical options like an ablation or a hysterectomy. An
ablation is an outpatient procedure that surgically burns the lining of
the uterus. About 80% of the women who have this procedure have much lighter
periods or their periods stop. A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure
where the uterus and cervix are removed. This is normally done laparoscopically,
which is minimally invasive surgery with much smaller incisions and usually
a quicker healing time. There are no hormonal changes with a hysterectomy
because the ovaries remain in the body, but the heavy cycles are treated.
Each of these treatment options has its own risk and benefits. It is best
to discuss your medical history, goals and expectations with your provider
to see which one is right for you. I always encourage my patients to ask
questions and be informed before deciding on any medical treatment.
Editor's note: Dr. Amber Cohn, FACOG, grew up in Gillette, Wyoming
and practices at
Summit OB GYN.