Menorrhagia - When periods are too much

When periods are too much

Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding

What Is It

At the beginning and the end of the reproductive stage of a woman's life, when the production of hormones may be erratic, the endometrial lining may build up excessively, failing to shed on time and when it does, flooding heavily. Occasionally, the hormonal abnormalities arise from stress or illness, but may also be the consequence of other reproductive system disorders or excessive doses of estrogen. During the childbearing years, dysfunctional bleeding can be the result of ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage, and these possible causes must always be ruled out by your doctor.


Unpredictable vaginal bleeding in amount or duration.


Usually, this disorder is not serious, but, if persistent, should not be ignored. It is helpful if you can provide the doctor with an accurate estimate of the loss of blood you have experienced. The easiest way to assess loss is to keep track of the number and absorbency of pads or tampons you use per day.


In most cases, even moderately severe bleeding can be stopped by a short course of hormonal therapy (oral contraceptive agents containing estrogen). When more severe bleeding occurs, hospitalization with bed rest and injections of hormone may be necessary, followed by several months of oral contraceptive agents to prevent recurrence. If anemia has resulted from blood loss, supplementation with iron may also be recommended.

When hormone therapy fails to stop the bleeding, your doctor will recommend a surgical remedy, usually a D&C procedure to scrape away the excess tissue lining the uterus. This procedure usually prevents further bleeding. Some of this tissue will go to the pathologist for microscopic examination to help determine the cause of bleeding.

When To Call Your Doctor

Bleeding that occurs at unexpected times or in unusually large amounts should prompt you to consult your doctor.


Excellent after appropriate treatment.

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