One in five women suffer from heavy periods, also called “heavy menstrual bleeding” or “menorrhagia”.1 The excessive bleeding and severe cramps from heavy periods make it difficult to carry out daily activities, and many women experience a significant disruption to their quality of life due to their symptoms.
If medications, like birth control, are not providing enough relief, gynecologists may recommend a surgical procedure.
Medical Management; or Hormone Therapy (Medications; Injectables or IUD)
Hormone therapy is a common medical treatment for heavy periods, especially for women whose symptoms were not relieved by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen sodium (Aleve). A hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) releases a synthetic form of progesterone (progestin) to thin the endometrium and reduce heavy bleeding. IUD insertion is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed in the gynecologist’s office, with some bleeding and mild cramping afterward. The device can remain in place for up to 8 years and can be removed any time before then.3
Dilation & Curettage (D&C)
Though not often performed anymore, D&C is used to remove tissue from the lining of the uterus. During the procedure, the gynecologist opens the cervix (dilation) and scrapes the tissue out of the uterus (curettage). D&C is a temporary solution for extremely heavy bleeding, as the tissue will eventually grow back and cause heavy periods again. Most patients are sedated with general anesthesia and go home a few hours after the procedure.4 Patients can return to normal activities within a couple days, and they will likely experience some spotting, backaches, and menstrual-like cramping for a few days. Pain is mild to moderate and can be relieved by over-the-counter medications.5
An endometrial ablation destroys the tissue that lines the uterus (the endometrium). The OBGYN may use heat, cold, or different types of energy for the procedure. Most procedures use heat based thermal energy to ablate the endometrium, which puts surrounding organs at a slight risk of tissue damage.6 General anesthesia is typically administered, and patients can go home the same day. Recovery can take anywhere from a few days up to two weeks. Patients can expect bloody discharge and moderate pain sometimes requiring prescription pain medication.7 Endometrial ablation is only for women who no longer want to have children.
A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that completely removes the uterus. It is performed under general anesthesia, and patients may need to stay overnight in the hospital, depending on the type of hysterectomy. Recovery usually takes four to six weeks, and patients will likely experience bleeding, swelling, and discomfort during this time. Recovery may be very painful, especially right after the procedure, so patients should rest as much as possible so their abdominal muscles and surrounding tissues can heal.8 With the longest recovery and the highest risk of complications, a hysterectomy is the most invasive surgical treatment for heavy periods.
When considering a surgical procedure to treat heavy periods, women should work with their doctors to determine the right treatment for them. Many factors should be taken into consideration when deciding on a procedure, including desired treatment results, recovery times, and other factors that may impact a patient’s quality of life. Endometrial ablation is a great option for women looking for relief from heavy periods without undergoing major surgery.
The Cerene Cryotherapy Device from Channel Medsystems takes endometrial ablation one step further.
Cerene is an FDA-approved endometrial cryoablation device that destroys the lining of the uterus with cooling technology (cryotherapy). The freezing temperatures provide natural pain relief, so general anesthesia or IV sedation is not necessary for the procedure.
Cerene can be performed in the comfort of your doctor’s office, and most patients return to their activities within 24 hours after treatment. 9 out of 10 women reported little to no limitations in their activities following treatment with Cerene†. Patients should expect to experience watery (possibly bloody) discharge for 2-4 weeks after the procedure. With clinically-proven reduction of heavy bleeding and severe cramping, Cerene can provide relief without the long recovery times of other procedures used to treat heavy periods.
Talk to your doctor to see if Cerene is right for you.
Learn more at https://www.cerene.com/patients/.
† Patient-reported data are 1 year after treatment with durable results at 3 years
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. There are risks and considerations associated with the use of the Cerene Cryotherapy Device. Temporary side effects may include uterine cramping, vaginal infection, and lightheadedness. For detailed benefit and risk information, consult the Cerene Instructions for Use (IFU) or your healthcare professional. Learn more >