When to see your Gynecologist

When your period signals a problem and when to see your gynecologist

(ARA) – Your period comes at the same time every month – except when it doesn’t and you’re not pregnant. Millions of women wonder why it doesn’t always run like clockwork … and when to see a doctor. Truth is, there’s nothing fun about getting your period. Still, when it arrives on time a lot of women think of it as a sign that all is well on the inside.

The great flood: Unusually heavy menstrual bleeding

What does it mean when a period is heavy or longer than usual? Often, it’s nothing to worry about. Yet, points out Dr. Whitney Pollock, Gynecology Center, Pottsville, Pa., “If heavy periods have become your ‘new normal’, it’s not something to deal with for any length of time. Many menstrual irregularities are normal, but it’s crucial to check with your doctor to find out why and get relief.”

When you think of the most common reasons women visit their gynecologist, annual physicals, pregnancy and mammograms come to mind. The little-known truth is heavy periods are the No. 1 reason women see their doctor. More than 10 million American women deal with periods that come in tsunami-like waves. “If you change your pad or tampon more than five times a day, you could have a problem,” adds Dr. Pollock, “and it’s something your doctor wants to hear about.”

Heavy menstrual bleeding is all too common a condition that disrupts everyday life, but the good news is that it is easily treatable once diagnosed. Unfortunately, many women accept heavy menstrual bleeding as a normal process of aging, are too embarrassed to seek help or think they can stand the bleeding until menopause.

See your doctor

Do you change your pad or tampon more often than every one or two hours? Are you up at night to change protection? Does the frustration and embarrassment of a heavy flow affect your life? If so, heavy periods are more than just a hassle, they’ve now become an unnecessary way of life. The good news is there are simple, trusted, non-surgical treatments that can dramatically change your situation.

“The coping mechanisms women adopt to manage their heavy periods can be extreme. I have patients tell me they use two pads or two tampons at a time, or that they travel with an extra set of clothes, just in case,” says Pollock. “It’s important to let your doctor know if you have heavy periods. It’s one of the most common problems that women are embarrassed to talk about, but also one of the easiest to fix.”

For women who are done having children, the NovaSure procedure is a one-time, five-minute procedure that provides a solution to heavy menstrual bleeding. Done in your doctor’s office, NovaSure gently removes the uterine lining, while preserving the uterus, which dramatically reduces or eliminates bleeding altogether for 90 percent of women.

Women can experience some mild cramping and recovery time is typically just one day. The procedure usually is covered by insurance and can be done for the cost of a co-pay. Approximately 1.5 million women have had NovaSure in the past 10 years and 97 percent of women would recommend the procedure to others.

“Besides being frustrating and embarrassing,” adds. Pollock, “heavy menstrual bleeding robs women of time with their friends, family and career. It’s a horrible thief, but one that can be readily controlled with proper treatment.”

Heavy menstrual bleeding, heavy periods, heavy flow, menorrhagia, problem periods – no matter what you call it, there is no reason to suffer another month. Take the next step and find the right solution for you. Talk with your doctor about your options.

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