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Living With Heavy Periods -- An OB/GYN’s Perspective

Abigail Whetstone, DO, jFACOG

Are you living your life with heavy or irregular periods and just figure this is what you have to deal with monthly?  As an OB/GYN, I see patients of all different ages and backgrounds and the single most common complaint is heavy, irregular periods. It is my job to let women know this does not have to define you – it is treatable and you can have a normal, monthly cycle. 

Although heavy or irregular periods happen at both ends of the lifespan, I find many of my patients are teenagers and college students.  In younger patients, while the brain and reproductive system are still developing, women do not ovulate every month and therefore may not get their period every month. Other common causes can be hereditary bleeding disorders such as Von Willebrand's, gynecologic infections or polycystic ovaries – all of which are treatable. 

In the older population, heavy periods can also stem from perimenopause, uterine fibroids, polyps, adenomyosis or precancerous conditions. 

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Or maybe, in either situation, there is a hormonal imbalance, where most likely ovulation did not occur. 

Every patient is different and requires an individual, customized evaluation including a review of health history, physical exam with cultures, uterine sampling, office hysteroscopy, ultrasound and/or blood work – all done in the right in the convenience of the office.  

Once a diagnosis has been made, treatment can be discussed to get you one step closer to having a life unaffected by your period. Depending on the stage of your life, a treatment option will be designed specifically to your situation. The simplest options begin with hormonal regulation or medications that decrease bleeding. This could be as easy as adding a birth control pill, a patch or an IUD. There are also now state-of-the-art non-invasive procedures like Her Option Cryoablation or MyoSure fibroid removal that can be conducted in the office in 15 minutes or less, without downtime. More advanced options may be surgical procedures but typically most issues can be resolved without having to go into a surgery room. 

Having heavy or irregular periods is not something you need to live with. There are treatment options out, often very simple, there that will greatly improve the quality of your life.

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