Menorrhagia is in fact, just the fancy term for “heavy periods”, which aren’t exactly life threatening, but can put a serious damper on life activities!
Menorrhagia may just be a symptom of a fairly simple, treatable issue, like hormone imbalances, or can indicate a serious condition. If menstrual bleeding seems excessive, lasts longer than a week, greatly impacts everyday life, or just seems different than the norm, make an appointment with a gynecologist. Other signs that indicate the need for a visit to the doctor include bleeding between periods, after menopause, after sex, or during pregnancy.
If you have bleeding that lasts longer than 7 days per period, or is so heavy that you have to change your pad or tampon nearly every hour, you need to talk with your doctor.
Your doctor might tell you that one or more of the following tests will help find out if you have a bleeding problem:
1. Blood test. In this test, your blood will be taken using a needle. It will then be looked at to check for anemia, problems with the thyroid, or problems with the way the blood clots.
2. Pap test. For this test, cells from your cervix are removed and then looked at to find out if you have an infection, inflammation, or changes in your cells that might be cancer or might cause cancer.
3. Endometrial biopsy. Tissue samples are taken from the inside lining of your uterus or “endometrium” to find out if you have cancer or other abnormal cells. You might feel as if you were having a bad menstrual cramp while this test is being done. But, it does not take long, and the pain usually goes away when the test ends.
4. Ultrasound. This is a painless test using sound waves and a computer to show what your blood vessels, tissues, and organs look like. Your doctor then can see how they are working and check your blood flow.
The type of treatment you get will depend on the cause of your bleeding and how serious it is. Your doctor also will look at things such as your age, general health, and medical history; how well you respond to certain medicines, procedures, or therapies; and your wants and needs. For example, some women do not want to have a period, some want to know when they can usually expect to have their period, and some want just to reduce the amount of bleeding. Some women want to make sure they can still have children in the future. Others want to lessen the pain more than they want to reduce the amount of bleeding. Some treatments are ongoing and others are done one time. You should discuss all of your options with your doctor to decide which is best for you.