Treatment options

Heavy periods : treatment options

Heavy or irregular periods can be due to different causes. Therefore it is important to determine the cause of your bleeding disorders, whatever they are, in order to offer you the appropriate treatment for your condition.

Following the medical examination, you may be faced with several options for treatment:

 

Drug therapy

The first line of action is most often drug therapy. There are many different types of medication in varying doses, and in different forms (tablets, hormonal intrauterine devices, injections, etc.). Drug therapy is easy to try and allows you to avoid surgery in the first instance. However it may be a continuous treatment that you have to take until you reach menopause. Some patients suffer from side effects associated with these drugs. For some women drug therapy is the solution whilst for others it simply does not work out, or not adequately enough.

Curettage

A dilatation and curettage is a procedure, in which the physician manually scrapes away the lining causing bleeding from the womb, which can possibly reduce the amount of blood loss during periods for a few months. The layer removed is only superficial and profuse bleeding eventually returns after a few months. Physicians agree that it is not a long-term solution. However it is a reversible method, which will not affect future pregnancies. It is mainly used to retrieve a specimen of endometrial tissue for analysis, which will allow your gynaecologist to find clues for the choice of a future permanent treatment.

Hysterectomy

It is an operation in which the “womb”, also called uterus, is surgically removed. It is a definite cure for persistent heavy periods, as well as other conditions associated with the uterus, but it should be noted that hysterectomy is a major surgery involving risks and possible complications, which your gynaecologist can explain to you. The procedure itself lasts between 30 and 125 minutes and the hospital stay can be up to 5 days. Typical recovery time is 3 weeks but some women need up to 13 weeks for a complete recovery. In cases of organic lesions hysterectomy is the only solution, but in most cases heavy periods can be efficiently treated with less invasive methods.

Hysteroscopic endometrial ablation

Hysteroscopic endometrial ablation is a surgical procedure starting with the distension of the uterus using a liquid. The physician places a device inside your womb to burn or peel away the tissues causing heavy periods. Removing this tissue is difficult to perform but it will reduce or stop the bleeding during periods. The uterus will be preserved, only the internal lining - from which the bleeding originates - will be destroyed. This procedure is less invasive than hysterectomy but it requires extensive training and specific skills from the surgeon. Your gynaecologist can explain the benefits, as well as risks and possible complications associated with hysteroscopic endometrial ablation.

Second generation endometrial ablation methodsCavaterm is an option for the treatment of heavy periods

These methods are called second generation or global endometrial ablation methods because they are comparable to hysteroscopic endometrial ablation, only removing the lining inside the uterus, but they are also safer, more comfortable and easier to perform than hysteroscopic endometrial ablation. These more recent technologies allow surgeons to perform global ablation of the tissue causing heavy periods. These methods are applicable in outpatient settings under light anaesthesia. Recovery time is extremely short. After the treatment, most women will have little or no more menstrual bleeding.

Cavaterm™ is a second generation endometrial ablation method.

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