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Menorrhagia (Excessive Menstrual Bleeding)

  • Normal menstruation involves shedding the lining of the uterus (endometrium), a cycle that repeats itself approximately every 28 days in women who aren't pregnant.

  • Menorrhagia, or excessive menstrual bleeding, is defined as blood loss of more than 80mL during a menstrual cycle.  This translates into bleeding for more than seven days or needing to use more than 10 pads or tampons per day during the menstrual cycle.
  • Excessive menstrual bleeding is a common cause of iron deficiency anemia (low blood count with low iron).  More than two-thirds (67 percent) of patients who have excessive menstrual bleeding also suffer from anemia.

  • Women describe the symptoms of excessive menstrual bleeding as unmanageable bleeding and constant need to change soaked pads or tampons.  They often complain of fatigue and worry about embarrassing accidents.
Causes of excessive menstrual bleeding
  • Hormonal imbalance-- causes dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB) and accounts for approximately 20 percent of hysterectomies.

  • Fibroids and polyps -- cause structural uterine bleeding, and account for 30 percent of hysterectomies performed.
  • Infection or disease-- infection of the uterus or cervix and certain types of cancer, such as cancer of the uterus, cervix or vagina can cause uterine bleeding.

Created: 6/19/2003  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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