Many women have heavy cycles which affect their quality of life. Women with this condition suffer from anemia, dizziness, weakness, and even fainting from hemorrhage. For other women with this condition, it hard to function effectively in the workplace because of the hazard and embarrassment associated with soiling of clothing. Normal women change their pads 3-6 times a day. A woman who has to wear double pads or a tampon and pad and change more than 6-10 times a day is having abnormal bleeding. The passing of large clots is abnormal Excessive menstrual bleeding accounts for more than 30% of the 600,000 hysterectomies performed in the United States each year. Hysterectomy, the second most frequently performed female operation in the United States (surpassed only by Cesarean section), is the most common surgical treatment. A hysterectomy is a definitive cure but is often accompanied by other problems including a hospital stay, significant post surgical pain, and a convalescence of 4-6 weeks.
There are now new treatments which can dramatically reduce or even stop heavy menstrual bleeding without performing a hysterectomy. The first is an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUD) called Mirena. This device can be easily placed in the uterus in the office and left in place for five years. If the uterus is not diseased, menstrual flow will be dramatically reduced. It is covered by most health insurance plans.
Another treatment, which can be performed in an outpatient surgical center or hospital, involves the destruction of the lining of the uterus. This is called a hysteroscopic endometrial ablation.These treatments are an alternative to hysterectomy for women who have completed childbearing and who are having heavy periods. It could also be used for post-menopausal women annoyed by bothersome periods induced by hormone replacement therapy as long as there is no indication of cancerous or pre-cancerous conditions. In the Novasure procedure, a metal fan is placed in the uterine cavity for approximately 90 seconds. The electrical current destroys the lining. The total surgical time is about 30 minutes including the administration of local or general anesthesia. The patient goes home within 1-2 hours and resumes normal activities the next day.