From puberty onwards women can suffer from menstrual cycle disorders, pain and bleeding and this unfortunately can continue right on into menopause.
1 Uterine fibroids are something that many women experience and are certainly a very common cause of excessive bleeding. In the vast majority of cases such fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumours that often occur in the uterus of women during their thirties or forties.
2 Excess oestrogen (oestrogen dominance) is certainly a major factor in many hormonal conditions and particularly in the development of such fibroids and the treatment usually offered is to remove them surgically through a variety of methods and in extreme cases even a hysterectomy. Alternatively, a woman may be offered synthetic or natural hormones, although many women find that natural progesterone is an effective treatment for uterine fibroid tumours. If the fibroids are small, and not troubling you then your doctor may prefer to simply wait and see what happens as, depending on your age, once menopause begins then these fibroids will shrink naturally and usually without treatment.
3 Cervical polyps are another common cause of heavy bleeding and are often the result of an infection and are most frequently found in women over the age of twenty who have had children. Oestrogen again appears to be a factor in their growth together with congestion of the blood vessels located in the cervix. The combination of antibiotics and an out patient procedure to remove the growth is the usual treatment.
4 Endometrial polyps are often associated with an excess of oestrogen following hormone treatment or some types of ovarian tumours. Happily they are typically non-cancerous growths and treatment for endometrial polyps include hysteroscopy and D&C.
5 Lupus is a chronic inflammatory, and autoimmune disease that has a variety of symptoms but is generally thought to be genetically based and can affect several parts of the body, particularly the skin, joints, blood, and kidneys. Other factors that can play a part in triggering Lupus include infections, certain types of antibiotics and other drugs, UV light and severe stress. Lupus can be difficult to treat and you may be offered stress counselling and a variety of drug choices including NSAIDS, steroids, antimalarials, immunosuppressive drugs and anticoagulants.
6 Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) can occur as a result of a sexually transmitted disease or after childbirth, abortion, or other gynaecological procedures. The treatment is usually a course of antibiotics.
7 Cervical cancer in 90% of cases is caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV. As with all cancers, treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy or you may choose one of many alternative treatments also available.
8 Endometrial cancer’s cause is unknown, but you are most likely to be diagnosed with this if you are over fifty, often have endometrial hyperplasia, or have been a frequent or long-time user of HRT. Treatment initially is normally a hysterectomy followed by chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments.
9 IUDs (intrauterine devices) have been used for contraception since the 1980s, but they can be a potential cause of heavy bleeding. If your periods get heavier after insertion of an IUD then it would be sensible to consider a different method of birth control.
10 Bleeding disorders is the generic term applied to anyone when it is difficult to stop the bleeding occurring such as in a nosebleed, or cut. In women the most common one is von Willebrand Disease and any treatment is aimed at increasing clotting factors in the blood. Signs to be aware of are blood clots in the menstrual flow that are greater than 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in diameter and any symptoms of anaemia such as tiredness, fatigue or shortness of breath. Most commonly used treatments include the contraceptive Pill and a nasal spray of a synthetic hormone that controls bleeding. Many women use this at the beginning of their menstrual periods to control excessive bleeding.