Menorrhagia: an update

Acta Obstetricia Et Gynecologica Scandinavica
M K Oehler, M C P Rees

Abstract

Menorrhagia is defined as a 'complaint of heavy cyclical menstrual bleeding occurring over several consecutive cycles'. Objectively it is a total menstrual blood loss equal to or greater than 80 ml per menstruation. It is estimated that approximately 30% of women complain of menorrhagia. Excessive bleeding is the main presenting complaint in women referred to gynecologists and it accounts for two-thirds of all hysterectomies, and most of endoscopic endometrial destructive surgery. Thus, menorrhagia is an important healthcare problem. Its etiology, investigation, medical and surgical management are described. In approximately 50% of cases of menorrhagia no pathology is found at hysterectomy. Abnormal levels of prostaglandins or the fibrinolytic system in the endometrium have been implicated. Effective medical treatments suitable for long-term use include intrauterine progestogens, antifibrinolytic agents (tranexamic acid) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (mefenamic acid). Over the past decade there has been increasing use of endometrial destructive techniques as an alternative to hysterectomy. Their further refinement and the advent of fibroid embolization has increased the options available to women.

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