Key Steps to Getting Diagnosed with Heavy Periods

A women's health doctor meeting with a patient

Heavy periods, also known as heavy menstrual bleeding or menorrhagia, can significantly impact your quality of life, from daily discomfort and pain to excessive trips to the bathroom that keep you from engaging in work, school, and social activities. If you suspect you have heavy periods, you are not alone — as many as one in five women suffers from this condition in the US.1 Even so, there are steps you can take to diagnose and treat the symptoms of heavy periods and, ultimately, get back to living life how you want.

Step 1 | Schedule an Appointment with Your Gynecologist

The first step to addressing heavy periods is to make an appointment to see your gynecologist. Come prepared to discuss your symptoms in depth, including the amount of bleeding, the intensity of cramps, other symptoms or health conditions that may be related, and most importantly, how your periods are impacting your quality of life. To get the most out of your visit, take the Heavy Period Assessment ahead of time and use your results to guide the conversation. Your OBGYN will help you understand why you’re experiencing these symptoms and help get you on track to a firm diagnosis.

Step 2 | Medical History and Pelvic Examination

During your appointment, your gynecologist will review your medical history to identify any underlying conditions or factors that could be causing severe menstrual symptoms. Provide as accurate and up-to-date information as possible, including family history and any recent changes in your menstrual patterns, to help guide your gynecologist in their decision-making process. Your doctor may also conduct a pelvic exam to evaluate your reproductive organs. This physical exam can help identify any abnormalities, such as fibroids or polyps, that could be contributing to your heavy bleeding. If your doctor doesn’t find any sign of a structural issue, they will likely refer you for additional testing.

Step 3 | Diagnostic Testing

To confirm a diagnosis of heavy periods and rule out any underlying issues, your doctor may recommend a series of diagnostic tests, including:2

  • Bloodwork. A panel of tests to assess your hormone levels and check for conditions like anemia or clotting disorders.
  • Pap smear. A routine test to check cervical cells for infection, inflammation, or signs of cancer.
  • Ultrasound. A non-invasive imaging test for your doctor to visualize your uterus and surrounding structures.
  • Hysteroscopy. A thin, lighted tube is inserted into the uterus to visually examine the endometrium.
  • Endometrial biopsy. A small tissue sample is taken from the lining of your uterus (the endometrium) to test for abnormalities. 
  • Sonohysterography. An ultrasound is performed while introducing saline into your uterus to create more detailed images.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. A thorough imaging scan used to evaluate pelvic organs if ultrasound images are still unclear.

Step 4 | Discuss Treatment Options

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, your gynecologist will discuss potential treatment options based on the severity of your symptoms, your overall health, and your future plans for pregnancy. Hormone therapy (birth control like the pill, intrauterine device (IUD), arm implant, etc) is often the first-line treatment used to regulate the menstrual cycle and reduce bleeding without escalating to surgery. 

However, if birth control is ineffective or not tolerated, your doctor may recommend a surgical treatment to help relieve your symptoms. While hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) is the only guaranteed way to stop bleeding altogether, the procedure is extensive and costly, typically with longer recovery times and a higher likelihood of complications.3 To achieve long-lasting relief without major surgery, your doctor may recommend a less invasive procedure, such as endometrial ablation.

Step 5 | Consider Endometrial Cryoablation with Cerene

Endometrial ablation is a highly effective treatment for heavy periods that uses either heat- or cold-based methods to kill the tissue lining the endometrium. Doing so can reduce the amount of blood that is lost during your period. However, heat-based methods, such as heated balloon therapy or radiofrequency, can produce scar formation that may cause long term consequences like cyclic pelvic pain. Cryotherapy, an ablation method that uses cooling technology to freeze endometrial cells, provides effective relief with minimal to no scarring inside the uterus.

As an FDA approved endometrial cryoablation device, the Cerene Cryotherapy Device® delivers safe and effective endometrial ablation for women suffering from heavy periods. Cerene helps 90% of patients achieve normal, light, or no periods, in addition to providing relief from severe cramps in 86% of patients. Moreover, the Cerene treatment is well-tolerated and can be performed in the comfort, convenience, and familiarity of your doctor’s office

Ask your doctor about how Cerene can help you find relief from heavy periods and jump back into life. Learn more at

† Patient-reported data are 1 year after treatment with durable results at 3 years

‡  Improvement reported one year after treatment for patients reporting severe/very severe period pain

Key Takeaways:

  • If you suffer from excessive bleeding and painful cramping during your periods, you should schedule an appointment to see your gynecologist.
  • After evaluating your medical history and performing a pelvic exam, your gynecologist may recommend further diagnostic testing, such as bloodwork, pap smear, ultrasound, endometrial biopsy, sonohysterography, and/or MRI scan.
  • Once you have a diagnosis, your doctor will likely begin treatment with hormone therapy. If surgical intervention is needed, consider Cerene for highly effective, safe, and well-tolerated endometrial cryoablation that significantly reduces period bleeding and cramping.


  1. Heavy Menstrual Bleeding. (2023, June 23). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  2. Heavy Menstrual Bleeding (Menorrhagia). (n.d.). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved January 11, 2024, from
  3. Carugno, J. & Fatehi, M. (2023, January 4). Abdominal Hysterectomy. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing. Retrieved January 11, 2024, from
  4. Curlin HL, Cintron LC, Anderson TL. A Prospective, Multicenter, Clinical Trial Evaluating the Safety and Effectiveness of the Cerene Device to Treat Heavy Menstrual Bleeding. J Minim Invasive Gynecol. 2021 Apr;28(4):899-908. doi: 10.1016/j.jmig.2020.08.013. Epub 2020 Aug 22. PMID: 32835865.
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Important Safety Information

Cerene® Cryotherapy Device is indicated to ablate the endometrial lining of the uterus in premenopausal women with heavy menstrual bleeding due to benign causes for whom childbearing is complete. Pregnancy following the Cerene procedure can be dangerous; therefore, contraception must be used until menopause. The Cerene procedure is not for those who have or suspect uterine cancer; have an active genital, urinary or pelvic infection; or an IUD. As with all surgical procedures, there are risks and considerations associated with the use of the Cerene Cryotherapy Device. Temporary side effects may include cramping, nausea, vomiting, vaginal discharge and spotting. For detailed benefit and risk information, consult the Cerene Instructions for use (IFU) or your healthcare professional. Learn More