Menorrhagia is excessive and/or prolonged menstrual bleeding. About 30 percent of women have heavy periods, but only 10 percent have bleeding heavy enough to be called menorrhagia. If left untreated, menorrhagia can lead to anemia.

Symptoms of menorrhagia can include:

  • Menstrual bleeding lasting more than 7 days
  • Unusually heavy bleeding (soaking through a sanitary napkin or tampon every hour)
  • Menstrual flow requiring change of sanitary protection during the night
  • Menstrual flow including large clots

While the cause of menorrhagia is unknown, it is associated with:

  • Certain medications
  • Abnormal growths – such as polyps or fibroids in the uterus
  • Cervical or ovarian cysts
  • Pelvic infection
  • Blood-clotting disorders
  • Liver, kidney or thyroid disease

Treating Menorrhagia

Medications for menorrhagia may include:

  • Hormone therapy
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Medicine to enhance blood clotting

Procedures to treat menorrhagia include:

  • Dilation and curettage (D&C): a procedure that dilates the cervix and removes tissue from the lining of the uterus
  • Operative hysteroscopy:  a long, thin instrument is inserted into the uterus that can aid in removal of polyps or fibroids
  • Myectomy: the surgical removal of fibroids
  • Endometrial ablation or resection: the surgical destructionl of the lining of the uterus
  • Hysterectomy: the surgical removal of the uterus

Robotic hysterectomy can be a viable choice for women with menorrhagia. About 60 percent of all hysterectomies now performed at Swedish are done robotically. If menorrhagia is caused by fibroids, Swedish surgeons are also highly skilled at robotic myectomy, a procedure that leaves the uterus intact.

Patients who undergo these minimally invasive procedures typically experience:

  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Less pain
  • Much quicker recovery

Swedish has been at the forefront of robotic gynecological procedures since the daVinci Surgical System was approved for these procedures by the FDA in 2005.