What Is the Treatment for Heavy Menstrual Bleeding?

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ask the experts

Are there any known causes for heavy bleeding that cannot be controlled by hormonal treatments or birth control pills?

Doctor's response

Oral contraceptives (birth control pills) can certainly fail to control heavy bleeding.  The more important issue is not to routinely use oral contraceptives to control heavy bleeding, but rather to evaluate the bleeding properly to determine the cause. Once this is done, therapy is aimed specifically at the cause of the bleeding.  If all the known causes of bleeding are ruled out by testing, and the woman is still having heavy bleeding, then the condition is called dysfunctional uterine bleeding, or DUB.  The first treatment of DUB is always medication.  Multiple medications are available.  Often, oral contraceptives are used.  In many cases bleeding can be controlled with medication, at least enough to "tide the woman over" until menopause, at which time obviously bleeding will cease completely on its own.  If the bleeding from either uterine fibroids or dysfunctional uterine bleeding is causing truly excessive blood loss (causing low blood count or anemia, for example), then many different types of procedures are available.  Endometrial ablation is one of the many procedures.  

Unfortunately, the final answer of which procedure is "best" is not available.  There is no such thing as best right now.  What exists is some information regarding some possible advantages and disadvantages of hysterectomy compared to endometrial ablation.  Studies are currently in progress that will give more information for women and their physicians to juggle in making these decisions.

For more information, please read our full medical article on Vaginal Bleeding.

Medical Author: Carolyn Janet Crandall, M.D.

Medical Editor: William Shiel, MD, FACP, FACR

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Reviewed on 1/11/2018
CONTINUE SCROLLING OR CLICK HERE FOR RELATED SLIDESHOW