DR. DONNICA DISCUSSES HEAVY PERIODS
Q: I have very heavy periods. How can I tell if this is normal or not?
A: Bleeding is considered heavy if it interferes with your normal daily activities—including sleep. You may have to change a tampon or pad every hour, for example, instead of three or four times a day, or you may need to use double protection with a tampon and a pad. You may need to wake up at night to change protection, or have to pay the consequences of leaking through.
Millions of women bleed so heavily during their periods that they have to put their normal activities on hold. Below is a list of signs and symptoms of heavy menstrual bleeding. If you answer yes to any of these questions, talk to your health care provider about your period and possible treatment options.
- Does your heavy period limit your daily activities?
- Does your period make you miss school, work or family events?
- Do you need to change your sanitary protection during the night?
- Does your bleeding soak through one or more pads or tampons every hour for several hours?
- Do you often double up sanitary protection to manage your heavy flow?
- Do you have to organize social, leisure and physical activities around your period?
- Do you suffer the consequences of embarrassing “accidents” where you leak through your sanitary protection. . .and your clothing?
Q. What are some common treatment options?
A. Your health care professional may recommend prescription treatment options, including FDA-approved Lysteda® (tranexamic acid) tablets, a non-hormonal treatment that doesn't affect fertility, or a hormone-releasing intrauterine device (IUD) for women seeking contraception. Oral contraceptives or progesterone therapies also may be prescribed, even though they are not specifically approved to treat heavy monthly bleeding. For more information about Lysteda, visit http://www.lysteda.com and for Full Prescribing Information, click here.
If these non-invasive treatment options do not reduce your heavy bleeding, one of several surgical options may be recommended. These range from endometrial ablation to hysterectomy, which is a major surgical procedure. A hysterectomy is usually only considered as a last resort, when other options have failed to help and when preserving fertility is no longer an issue.
Q: How can I prepare to talk with my health care provider about my heavy periods so I can make the most of my appointment?
A: Preparation is key to getting the most out of your appointment. There are several treatment options available for women with heavy periods, and it's important to think about which ones will be best for your health and lifestyle. Before you talk with your health care provider, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you want contraception as part of reducing your heavy flow?
- Are you comfortable with taking a pill every day throughout the month or do you prefer to take medication only during your period?
- Do you prefer a hormonal or non-hormonal treatment option?
- Do you want a treatment that works as early as your first period?
- Does your health care professional recommend hormone therapy for you? Do you know why or why not?
- Do you want to preserve your fertility?
- Are you willing to consider a surgical procedure?
Q: What is Lysteda?
LYSTEDA® is a prescription medicine used to treat your heavy monthly period (menstruation) when your bleeding gets in the way of social, leisure and physical activities. LYSTEDA does not contain any hormones and is taken only during your period. It does not treat premenstrual symptoms, does not affect your fertility, and cannot be used as birth control. It does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.
LYSTEDA has not been studied in adolescents younger than 18 years of age.
Important Safety Information
You should not take LYSTEDA if you currently have or have ever had a blood clot, have been told you are at risk for having a blood clot, or are allergic to LYSTEDA or tranexamic acid.
LYSTEDA can cause serious side effects, including:
- The risk of serious blood clots may be increased when LYSTEDA is taken with hormonal contraceptives, especially if you are taking higher than your normal dose of birth control, are overweight, or if you smoke cigarettes. Risk of serious blood clots may also be increased if you take LYSTEDA with medicines used to help your blood clot or some medicines used to treat leukemia. Be sure to tell your health care provider if you take any of these medicines.
- Stop taking LYSTEDA if you experience any eye changes, and promptly report any eye problems to your healthcare provider.
- If you have an allergic reaction (have shortness of breath and your throat feels tight), stop taking LYSTEDA and get medical help right away.
The most common side effects of LYSTEDA include: headaches, sinus and nasal problems, back pain, pain in your abdomen, pain in your muscles or joints, anemia, and fatigue.
If you notice a change in your usual bleeding pattern that worries you, or your heavy bleeding continues, contact your healthcare provider right away. This may be a sign of a more serious condition.
You are encouraged to report side effects of prescription drugs. Contact Ferring at 1-888-FERRING (1-888-337-7464) or call 1-800-FDA-1088 or visit www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Sponsored by Ferring Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Created: 10/19/2011  - Donnica Moore, M.D.