Menstrual problems and heavy bleeding are topics most women don't like to discuss. You might feel embarrassed, frustrated, or that you're the only one dealing with these issues. But you're not alone. In fact, 1 in 4 women suffer from excessive bleeding.
Unmanageable periods occur most often in women ages 35 to 50. They can be more than bothersome, causing many women to limit their daily activities and lifestyle. If you've been suffering with this debilitating condition, it may be time to talk with your doctor about what's going wrong and treatment options.
"Many women falsely believe there's nothing easy that can be done for heavy bleeding and continue to just 'live with' their symptoms because they're afraid of surgery," says C. Ann Mashchak, M.D., OB/GYN and reproductive endocrinologist at the Memorial Women's Center. "Non-surgical options are available in many cases that solve the problem without the need for a hysterectomy."
A 'Cool' Procedure
After an evaluation has ruled out more serious problems, the traditional treatments offered to women to reduce bleeding are drug therapy, thermal or cautery ablation, or hysterectomy. Although effective for some, these choices may not be right for you. The unique combination of cryoablation and ultrasound guidance gives women an excellent non-surgical option for treatment.
If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may be suffering unnecessarily
Does your period last longer than seven days?
Do you become fatigued due to your heavy bleeding?
Does your heavy bleeding affect your social, athletic or sexual activities?
Has medication (birth control pills) failed to help your heavy bleeding?
Do you miss work because of your periods?
Cryoablation is an effective, safe, easy-to-tolerate office treatment for heavy bleeding that uses sub-zero temperatures to thin the lining of the uterus. By thinning most or all of this lining, most women's periods are effectively reduced or eliminated, and because of the cold temperature, with little, if any, scarring. Ultrasound guidance makes this procedure unusually safe. The sub-zero temperature of the probe reduces pain.
The procedure is most often performed in a doctor's office and typically lasts 45-50 minutes. With a little local anesthesia, something to calm your nerves, and an MP3 player with headphones, the time passes quickly. You can usually return to most normal activities the next day.
Within the first three months after cryoablation therapy, 80% or more women's periods progressively lighten. The results vary from woman to woman and some experience no bleeding at all. In addition, other menstrual period-related symptoms improve such as less cramping, less fatigue and less irritability.
Could You Have AUB?
A number of conditions can cause heavy periods, including hormonal imbalances, cancerous or non-cancerous growths, including fibroids or polyps. Other illnesses or complications from pregnancy can also result in heavy periods. The first step is to work with your doctor to analyze the cause of your bleeding and start on the proper course of treatment.
"If you've noticed a change in your periods, such as the amount or duration, or if they are making your daily life more difficult, talk to your doctor," says Dr. Mashchak. "This important conversation is the first step in finding relief."
For more information about your treatment options or to make an appointment at Memorial Women's Center, call (423) 495-5890.