I am continually amazed at how many women in my practice describe their cycles as “normal”. While it may be their usual pattern to bleed for 5-7 days and need to curtail their work or social lives, it is far from normal. Most women who seek treatment are at the severest end of the spectrum with anemia and “accidents” where both a tampon and maxi-pad have failed.
Estimates are that 1 in 3 women suffer from heavy periods or menorrhagia. Menorrhagia by the way is derived from the latin meaning “heavy” periods. Variations include metrorrhagia (frequent periods) or menometrorrhagia (frequent heavy periods). Many women are unaware that effective reversible and permanent treatments exist.
Some treatments are permanent and extremely effective for those who have completed their childbearing ; endometrial ablation being the most effective/least invasive. Reversible treatments involve a variety of medical therapies, ranging from regular use of NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), hormonal management,and now finally a drug that stabilizes clots and specifically has been shown to reduce menstrual bleeding called Lysteda. Lysteda(brand name) or Tranexamic Acid (generic name) is a non-hormonal reversible treatment NOW available in the United States for treatment of menorrhagia. We now have another tool in our chest to treat menorrhagia.
While the latest addition of Lysteda increases the number of treatment options, what is really needed is greater recognition of heavy menstrual bleeding as a problem. Probably the most frequent comment I hear in my practice is a women asking, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”