During each woman¡¦s reproductive life, she probably experiences heavy bleeding during a menstrual period. If you're like some women, you have heavy periods almost every cycle. Menorrhagia is the medical term for excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding ¡X and for periods that are both heavy and prolonged. The condition is also known as hypermenorrhea
The signs and symptoms of menorrhagia may include:
„X Menstrual flow that soaks through one or more sanitary pads or tampons every hour for several consecutive hours
„X The need to use double sanitary protection to control your menstrual flow
„X The need to change sanitary protection during the night
„X Menstrual periods lasting longer than seven days
„X Menstrual flow that includes large blood clots
„X Heavy menstrual flow that interferes with your regular lifestyle
„X Constant pain in your lower abdomen during menstrual periods
„X Tiredness, fatigue or shortness of breath (symptoms of anemia)
Doctors generally recommend that all sexually active women and women over the age of 21 have yearly pelvic exams and regular Pap tests. However, if you experience heavy or irregular vaginal bleeding, schedule an appointment with your doctor and be certain to record when the bleeding occurs during the month. If you're having heavy vaginal bleeding ¡X soaking at least one pad or tampon an hour for more than a few hours ¡X seek medical help. Call your doctor if you have severe menstrual pain that doesn't respond to at-home treatment or if you have any vaginal bleeding after menopause.
Specific treatment for menorrhagia is based on a number of factors, including:
„X Your overall health and medical history
„X The cause and severity of the condition
„X Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies
„X The likelihood that your periods will become less heavy before long
„X Effects of the condition on your lifestyle
„X Your opinion or personal preference
Drug therapy for menorrhagia may include:
„X Iron supplements. If the condition is accompanied by anemia, your doctor may recommend that you take iron supplements regularly. If your iron levels are low but you're not yet anemic, you may be started on iron supplements rather than waiting until you become anemic.
„X Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) help reduce menstrual blood loss. NSAIDs have the added benefit of relieving painful menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea).
„X Oral contraceptives. Aside from providing effective birth control, oral contraceptives can help regulate ovulation and reduce episodes of excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding.
„X Progesterone. The hormone progesterone can help correct hormonal imbalance and reduce menorrhagia.
Consider these tips for successful self-care of menorrhagia:
„X Get your rest. Your doctor may recommend rest if bleeding is excessive and disruptive to your normal schedule or lifestyle.
„X Keep a record. Record the number of pads and tampons you use so that your doctor can determine the amount of bleeding. Change tampons regularly, at least every four to six hours.
„X Avoid aspirin. Because aspirin interferes with blood clotting, avoid it. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) often is more effective than aspirin in relieving menstrual discomforts.
Excerpted from MayoClinic.Com. For complete article go to www.mayoclinic.com/health/menorrhagia/DS00394/DSECTION=