At Home with Chris Jessen 2018 - 177

WO M E N ' S H E A LT H ▲

She reassured me that it was common and nothing to
be embarrassed about, and referred me to the gynae
department at my local hospital.'
Treatment options include a vaginal support device;
some are fitted for months at a time and some may be
inserted and taken out daily. Surgery may include a
hysterectomy or less invasive techniques to preserve the
uterus in women who want to have children.

HEAVY PERIODS
IT COULD BE: MENORRHAGIA

Unusually heavy or prolonged menstrual periods
(menorrhagia) are a monthly problem for many women.
Aside from the inconvenience and social distress they
can cause, heavy periods can also leave you feeling
exhausted due to iron depletion.
Scientifically speaking, periods are deemed to be
heavy if they involve the loss of 80ml of blood for each
menstrual period, but if your periods are so heavy that
you are leaking through onto your clothes or bedding,
and having to change your protection more than every
few hours, or are passing clots, you're likely to be
classed as having heavy periods.
Georgina, 28, went to her GP about this. 'My periods
were so heavy I was housebound for three days each
month. Within 10 minutes of standing up, or trying
to walk anywhere, I would have soaked through my
supersize tampon, towel and clothes. I passed massive
clots the size of my fist. It was a nightmare. My GP put
me on medication to reduce the flow, which helped, and
I started using a period cup to catch my flow, instead of

* SOURCE: GYNAECHOICE.COM

OFTEN, NO CAUSE FOR HEAVY
PERIODS CAN BE FOUND SO THE
FOCUS IS ON TREATMENT TO
REDUCE BLOOD FLOW

tampons, which meant I could act normally during my
period, rather than put everything on hold each month.'
Heavy periods can be caused by conditions such
as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease and
fibroids. That said, often no actual cause will be found,
so the focus is on treatment, usually starting with
non-hormonal tablets such as tranexamic acid and
mefenamic acid, to reduce blood flow. Sometimes the
combined pill or the progesterone only pill will be
prescribed, or a Mirena coil.
For more severe cases, a treatment is available called
endometrial ablation, which works by destroying the
lining of the womb with very hot water, so preventing
heavy periods. However, this means you will no longer
be able to have children so it's only an option for
those who have finished their family. In very extreme
cases, surgery to remove the womb (hysterectomy)
may be recommended.
www.athomemagazine.co.uk FEBRUARY 2018 | 177



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