"Silent Sufferers" Needlessly Endure Heavy Periods

A survey of women age 35 49 years old reported the following:

  • 58% with excess menstrual bleeding have not discussed it with a health care provider
  • 82% of women who discussed heavy menses had to initiate the dialog
  • 62% waited more than one year, and 1 in 5 waited more than 5 years to discuss it with their doctor

These women have been labeled “Silent Sufferers.” Another study reported that only 5% women recalled that their doctor inquired about menstrual bleeding patterns as part of their annual physical exam; whereas 38% of these physicians reported doing so; Why the discrepancy? A classic study in 1966 compared a woman’s perception of their menstrual flow to actual measurements. Surprisingly, half the women with heavy menstruation rated it as normal or light. So asking a straightforward question “Is your period normal?” fails to reveal many who are afflicted. Hence, these women suffering with excess menstrual bleeding are left unidentified, and consequently tolerating their embarrassing condition.

woman-dancing-on-beach.thumbnailIn a study published in the British Journal of Medicine, 1 in 5 women responded “yes” to the question, “Does your period disrupt your life?” Notice the question is not judging whether the amount of bleeding is normal or not, but rather focuses on impact on lifestyle.

So lifestyle questions are the key to opening the door to solutions for these women. Treatments target the inside lining of the uterus, since bleeding originates from sloughing this tissue. The good news is there are often alternatives to hysterectomy (the removal of the uterus):

  • Hormonal therapy (Birth control pills or progesterone minimize growth of the inside uterine lining)
  • Progestin IUD (The Mirena® Intra-Uterine Device only delivers progesterone to the uterine lining, so less side effects)
  • Endometrial Ablation (NovaSure is a 90 second treatment to remove the inside lining of the uterus so it doesn’t grow back)

At Women’s Health Specialists we offer women the convenience and efficiency of a complete work up for abnormal uterine bleeding in a single office visit that includes a pelvic ultrasound, hemoglobin, and endometrial biopsy if indicated. We can then promptly proceed to treatment options that you’re comfortable implementing. This saves time, expenses, and most importantly lessens anxiety.

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