At our Des Moines ObGyn office, we have found that one in five women will experience abnormal uterine bleeding at some point in their lives. This can be for prolonged periods (over 10 days), frequent periods (more often than every 21 days) or excessive flow (passing clots larger than a quarter or changing pads or tampons more often than every two hours).
This excessive bleeding takes a toll on family and social life and can conflict with work. Most women (80%) fail to seek help for this problem. Fortunately numerous treatment options are available today from Dr. Valone your Des Moines gynecologist.
Women in their 20’s and 30’s experience abnormal uterine bleeding because of pregnancy, hormone imbalance or – more rarely – medical conditions. Pregnancy can usually be ruled out with a blood pregnancy test.
Hormone imbalances usually result in unpredictable periods and missed periods. This can usually be corrected with medication. Frequently Dr. Valone our Des Moines gynecologist will recommend Provera twice a day for five days. In women not interested in becoming pregnant, oral contraceptives following the Provera therapy will usually correct the problem.
Most medical conditions will be associated with other telltale symptoms that lead to appropriate testing for a diagnosis. A newer medication, Lysteda, is available to treat excessive flow. Taken three times a day during the menses, the bleeding is significantly reduced. This is safe and non-hormonal.
For women in their mid 30’s and 40’s the causes of abnormal uterine bleeding now include anatomic abnormalities, cancer and hormone imbalance. The anatomic causes can be detected by a physical exam, ultrasound testing and minor surgical interventions. For women in their 40’s, cancer must also be excluded with a simple biopsy.
Endometrial ablation is a simple, safe and effective procedure that corrects abnormal uterine bleeding in 90% of patients. Once the uterine lining is biopsied to rule out cancer and the cavity of the uterus is visualized with a hysteroscope, an instrument is placed into the uterine cavity and using radiofrequency cautery, the endometrium (uterine lining) is destroyed. The procedure can be completed in less than ten minutes. Recovery is short and symptoms of cramping resolve in a few days.
The definitive treatment for abnormal uterine bleeding is hysterectomy. This is less frequently performed since the introduction of endometrial ablation. A hysterectomy completely eliminates menstrual periods. As a rule, the ovaries are not removed so there is no change in hormones. A hysterectomy requires up to four weeks away from work.
We want to be your Des Moines gynecologist; if you are suffering from abnormal bleeding, call our office today at (515) 225-7201 to set up an appointment or to talk to any of our highly qualified staff members. We look forward to serving you.
Thank you for trusting us with your care!