What is heavy menstrual bleeding and how can it be treated?

A woman loses an average of 35ml (or 2.5 tablespoons) of menstrual blood during her normal monthly cycle.

Image 1: Menstrual Cycle (retrieved from PreMom.com blog)

Heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) occurs when the blood flow is so heavy that a woman has to change her sanitary wear every one to two hours or that it keeps her from doing the things she would normally do. HMB is one of the most common conditions that many women experience at some stage of their life, usually in women aged between 30 and 49 years old.

Most women with HMB may require only simple treatments. However, some others may need to go for specialised tests, such as pelvic scans and evaluation of the inner lining of the womb, to confirm if their HMB is caused by any underlying conditions. These conditions include non-cancerous growth that can be detected by a pelvic scan and pre-cancerous changes of the uterus inner lining and womb cancer that an evaluation may detect.

Image 2: Specialised Tests for Women

An accurate diagnosis of the underlying cause of HMB allows your doctor to effectively manage your condition. Common ways to treat HMB may involve one or more of the following:

  1. Reduce the bleeding with non-hormonal medications.
  2. Correct abnormal bleeding using hormonal medications and/or intrauterine device.
  3. Treat the underlying problem with surgery.

Do consult your doctor if you have HMB.

Reference: Heavy menstrual bleeding: assessment and management NICE guideline Published: 14 March 2018 http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng88

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