Heavy or irregular menstrual bleeding can be an upsetting problem for some women. The problem affects each woman differently, but for many, its a quality-of-life issue. Their bleeding is so heavy or unpredictable that they worry about leaving the house and going about their normal activities. These women may have periods that last longer than a week or have to change their sanitary napkins or tampons every hour for several hours at a time.

What Is Menorrhagia?
Abnormal or irregular menstrual bleeding is called menorrhagia and can affect women of any age. Menorrhagia may be caused by benign growths called fibroid tumors. These affect up to 25% of women of childbearing age. Still for other women, there may not be a clear cause of the problem.

No Need to Suffer
Fortunately, there are many medical and surgical options for women who suffer from this condition. Treatment depends on a number of factors, such as a woman's age and whether she plans to have children in the future.

Some of the options include oral hormones and other medicines, which can help reduce blood loss. Another option is a dilation and curettage, or D and C. During this procedure, the doctor uses a surgical tool to remove the lining of the uterus.

In the past, a hysterectomy was sometimes suggested for some women with heavy bleeding. But a new alternative, called endometrial ablation, does not require removing the uterus. However, it is only an option for women who no longer want children. With this minimally invasive treatment, doctors often can eliminate a womans periods completely. During the procedure, the doctor inserts a device into the uterus that uses microwave energy to destroy the lining. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis, so women go home the same day. The most common side effect is cramping. Most women are back to work within two to three days of the procedure.

In our Millburn office, we have expertise in all aspects of women's reproductive health and offer a full range of services, including endometrial ablation.

Women who suffer from heavy, irregular periods should explore the options with their doctor. With all of the options available today, women can free themselves from the worry they may have about bleeding.