Need Heavy Period Relief? You Have Options
Posted bySarah Handzel, BSN, RN
You tried The Pill because your periods were heavy, painful or just totally miserable. Many women try The Pill because they want relief from their period symptoms, but some find out that birth control pills aren’t everything they’re cracked up to be. The Pill may not provide period pain relief, your bleeding may still be abnormal or heavy, and you could still feel overall crummy. The good news is that there are many other options besides The Pill that might be able to help relieve your period symptoms.
Most of us have heard of intra-uterine devices (IUDs), like Mirena, by now. An IUD is an easily implantable device that’s inserted through your vagina and cervix into your uterus. It can have hormones or be hormone-free. Depending on the type of IUD, the implant works as a birth control method for up to 10 years. Besides providing birth control, IUDs have been shown to give many women relief from their period symptoms after an initial adjustment period soon after the device is implanted. Many women have periods that are lighter or more regular after they get an IUD. Some women even stop having periods. Hormonal IUDs may also provide period pain relief, and cramps typically get better or go away in a few months after the IUD is inserted, according to the Center for Young Women’s Health.1
This type of birth control is only about the size of a toothpick. It’s a small tube that’s inserted into your upper arm, and it provides birth control for up to three years by slowly releasing small amounts of hormones that prevent pregnancy. Contraceptive implants, like Implanon and Nexplanon, have been shown to help women find relief from their period symptoms by causing very light or no bleeding during their cycles. Many women find that contraceptive implants give them period pain relief because they have fewer menstrual cramps.2
Endometrial ablation is a surgical procedure performed to treat abnormal uterine bleeding by removing the uterine lining. There are many different procedures that your doctor may use to perform an endometrial ablation. One example is the NovaSure endometrial ablation procedure, offered by Hologic, the sponsor of this blog. It is a quick, one-time surgical option that has already helped over 2.5 million women have lighter bleeding or no bleeding at all with their periods. During the procedure, a slender wand is passed through your vagina and cervix to place a small, netted device into your uterus. The netting then expands to fill your uterus and molds itself to your unique shape. Once in place, precisely measured radiofrequency energy is delivered to the lining of your uterus through the device. This only lasts for about 90 seconds. Afterward, the netting device and the wand are removed from your body.3
The procedure removes just the uterine lining that can cause the heavy bleeding you experience with your period.3 In fact, many women who’ve had this procedure experience period pain relief in addition to relief from abnormal bleeding.4 For some women, their PMS symptoms are also greatly reduced. Please note that the NovaSure procedure is only recommended for women who have completed their child bearing years.
Myomectomy or Polypectomy
If your heavy periods are caused by growths in your uterus, you may find relief from a myomectomy or polypectomy. Myomectomies surgically remove fibroids from the uterus and polypectomies remove uterine polyps; and both procedures are minimally invasive. One option that your doctor may recommend is the MyoSure procedure, which is offered by Hologic, the sponsor of this blog. The MyoSure procedure, safely and effectively removes fibroids and polyps from the uterus. A slender wand with a camera attached is inserted into your uterus through your vagina and cervix. Then, another slender wand is passed through the first wand. The second wand is used to cut fibroids or polyps away from the inside of your uterus. These types of tissues can cause pain and heavy or abnormal bleeding in some women. The cut tissue is suctioned out of your uterus through the second wand. Both wands are then removed from your uterus.5
The removal of fibroids and polyps, with the MyoSure procedure, may help lessen your heavy or abnormal bleeding.6 This may be a good option for women who want relief from their heavy period symptoms caused by fibroids or polyps, but still want to be able to get pregnant in the future.
If you’ve tried The Pill and it didn’t alleviate your period symptoms, don’t worry. There are several options to discuss with your doctor that can help you find the relief you need. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor to determine which option might be the best for you, because you shouldn’t have to suffer.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
NovaSure® endometrial ablation is for premenopausal women with heavy periods due to benign causes who are finished childbearing. Pregnancy following the NovaSure procedure can be dangerous. The NovaSure procedure is not for those who have or suspect uterine cancer; have an active genital, urinary or pelvic infection; or an IUD. NovaSure endometrial ablation is not a sterilization procedure. Rare but serious risks include, but are not limited to, thermal injury, perforation and infection. Temporary side effects may include cramping, nausea, vomiting, discharge and spotting. Inform patients to contact you if they experience a possible side effect related to use of this product. For detailed benefit and risk information, please consult the IFU.
The MyoSure® hysteroscopic tissue removal system is intended for hysteroscopic intrauterine procedures by trained gynecologists to resect and remove tissue including submucous myomas, endometrial polyps and retained products of conception. It is not appropriate for patients who are or may be pregnant, or are exhibiting pelvic infection, cervical malignancies or previously diagnosed endometrial cancer.
1Intra-uterine devices (IUDs). Center for Young Women’s Health. http://youngwomenshealth.org/2012/08/02/iud/.
2Hormonal implants. Centers for Young Women’s Health. http://youngwomenshealth.org/2011/07/13/hormonal-implants/.
3What is NovaSure Endometrial Ablation? NovaSure, Hologic. http://www.novasure.com/patients/what-novasure-endometrial-ablation.
4Benefits and risks. NovaSure procedure, Hologic. http://www.novasure.com/patients/benefits-and-risks.
5Steps of the MyoSure procedure. Hologic, Inc. http://www.myosure.com/patients/what-myosure-system.
6Benefits and risks. Hologic, Inc.. http://www.myosure.com/patients/benefits-risks.
- Posted by Sarah Handzel, BSN, RN
- On March 27, 2017