Many women suffer from heavy, prolonged, or painful periods. Often, bad periods can start to impact your quality of life. You don’t have to suffer anymore!
Alternatively, some women develop irregular periods, where they skip cycles or may even go several months without a period. We believe the menstrual cycle is a “vital sign,” if periods are changing, it warrants an investigation into the underlying cause.
There are many treatment options currently for period problems. We encourage you to come in and speak with Dr. N or Dr. Zaander to find which treatment may be right for you.
Often the first step to addressing problem periods is a diagnostic evaluation — finding out why your periods may be worsening. This can help us tailor treatment options more specifically to you.
Diagnostic evaluation may include:
- History and physical exam
- Imaging, such as a pelvic ultrasound
- Biopsy of the lining inside the uterus, called an endometrial biopsy. This is done in the office and is used to rule out uterine cancers or pre-cancers.
- Looking inside the uterus with a small camera, called a hysteroscopy. This can help us find abnormalities inside the cavity of the uterus, such as polyps or small fibroids, that may be missed with ultrasound.
- Blood work, such as checking for anemia or common hormonal causes of period problems, such as thyroid disease.
Pending the results of the diagnostic evaluation, we will discuss treatment options for you. Treatment may include:
- Medical management with birth control pills or another hormonal method.
- Placement of an IUD. The Mirena IUD, in particular, has a separate FDA approval for use treating heavy periods, as it decreases menstrual bleeding by up to 80-90% and can be in place for 5 years.
- Uterine ablation is a procedure that is most commonly done in-office, though can be done in the operating room in some cases. Following ablation, 72% of women will not have any periods afterwards, and another 20% will go from heavy to at least light/normal periods. It is a safe, minimally invasive procedure, where the lining inside the uterus is treated so that it cannot rebuild/shed every month with your period. You are back on your feet the next day and it can make a huge difference in your periods!
- Hysterectomy, or removal of the uterus entirely, is a definitive surgical procedure to stop your periods. Most hysterectomies are completed minimally-invasively, either completely through the vagina, or laparoscopically, which uses 3 to 4 tiny incisions on the abdomen. In most cases, the ovaries will remain so that there are no hormones changes, but your doctor will discuss the pros/cons with you. For many women who are frustrated by persistent period problems, hysterectomy can be a life-changing decision. With modern minimally-invasive approaches, recovery is easier and faster.