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Heavy Periods (Menorrhagia)

If you suffer from excessive menstrual bleeding, you're not alone. Menorrhagia, as it is known, affects roughly one in four healthy women in the United States. Characterized by heavy periods that last more than seven days, this condition is usually caused by hormonal imbalance or uterine fibroids.

Menorrhagia Facts:

  • A common condition, especially for women in their 40s
  • Affects more than 10 million women in the United States
  • Can be accompanied by anemia, fatigue, extreme cramps and back pain
  • Uncomfortable and disruptive to everyday activities
  • The vast majority of women with menorrhagia do not have cancer
  • Excessive bleeding can sometimes be a sign of uterine or ovarian cancer

If you're experiencing abnormal menstrual bleeding, don't rely on girlfriends or family members for health information; keep a menstrual calendar that chronicles the dates and severity of each period, and then share that information with your physician. Patterns tracked over time can often shed light on what's causing heavy bleeding, leading to quicker diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

Diagnostic Services & Treatment Options

Fortunately, there are several diagnostic and therapeutic procedures now available for menorrhagia in lieu of hysterectomy.

Outpatient (same-day) Procedures

  • Procedures such as Hysteroscopy and laparoscopic ;Myomectomy use different kinds of thin, tube-like instruments to remove lesions from the uterine wall. These treatments will allow a woman to keep her uterus in case she wants to have children, but because they often weaken the uterine wall, future births may require a cesarean section.

  • Uterine Ablation a less invasive, drastic alternative to hysterectomy sometimes called Endometrial Ablation or Uterine Balloon Therapy. For women who have passed their childbearing years, yet another alternative is Endometrial Ablation, or NovaSure, which delivers a precisely controlled dose of energy via a slender, handheld wand to remove the endometrial lining. This quick, simple procedure requires no incision and no endometrial pre-treatment. It can be performed in an outpatient setting, under local or regional anesthesia, and generally takes about a half-hour to perform, significantly less time than any other endometrial ablation procedure, so recovery time is quicker. During the procedure a soft, flexible balloon is inserted into the uterine cavity through the vagina; the balloon is filled with water which is heated to a temperature high enough to burn and cauterize the lining of the uterus. After the procedure: uterine ablation has been shown to reduce menstrual flow by an average of 86%; In some cases, menstrual bleeding stops altogether. Recovery is fast and most women return to their normal activities in just two or three days, and occasionally even as soon as the next day. The treated uterine lining sloughs off (like a period) over the seven days following the procedure. The result is drastically reduced (lighter) periods and no more worrying about profuse and potentially embarrassing bleeding. The NovaSure Endometrial Ablation procedure provides an effective and minimally invasive alternative to hysterectomy while avoiding the potential side effects and long-term risks of hormone therapy.

Surgical Options


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