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What are the treatment options for menstrual problems?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Menstrual problems may be curable depending on what is causing them. For instance, menorrhagia (abnormally heavy periods) may be caused by a wide variety of things, including an intrauterine device (IUD), some medications and underlying conditions such as thyroid disease. Removing the IUD, stopping the medication or treating the disease may result in lighter menstrual flow. However, in some cases, menstrual problems are incurable. One example is amenorrhea (absent periods) caused by a genetic condition such as Turner's syndrome.

Here are some treatment options for menstrual problems:

Hormone treatments ­– Hormone imbalances are often at the root of menstrual problems. For example, a progesterone imbalance can cause menorrhagia (abnormally heavy periods), so your doctor may prescribe progesterone that you can take orally to lighten the menstrual flow. For teenage girls with delayed puberty and amenorrhea (no periods), hormones such as progestin and estrogen may be given to prompt periods and breast development to start. Women who do not have periods and are trying to become pregnant may take hormones to prompt ovulation.

Medications – Depending on the particular menstrual disorder you have, medication may correct the problem or it may simply ease the symptoms. For example, if you have menorrhagia (abnormally heavy menstrual flow), taking birth control pills may result in lighter periods. Ibuprofen can also reduce menstrual flow, as well as ease menstrual cramps and headaches. Birth control pills can also relieve the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) for some women. If PMS causes you to become depressed, prescription antidepressants may help.

Surgery – Some types of menstrual problems can be relieved with surgery. For example, women with extremely painful periods (dysmenorrhea) may have an underlying problem, such as a cervical canal that is too small or fibroid tumors in the uterus, that can be corrected with surgery. If pain is very bad, a surgeon can sever the nerves connected to the uterus, but this procedure may harm nearby tissues in the body. Endometriosis is the most common cause of dysmenorrhea, and surgical treatment options are available as needed; for example, patches of tissue outside the uterus that cause pain may be removed surgically.

Menorrhagia (abnormally heavy menstrual flow) is another menstrual disorder that may need surgery. If menorrhagia is severe and medication doesn't help, a doctor can perform a dilation and curettage (D and C) to remove tissue from the uterine lining.

Alternative therapies ­– Alternative methods may help with some menstrual problems, but some of these treatments are more effective than others. For example, acupuncture and hypnosis have been used to ease menstrual pain. Some women find dietary supplements, such as calcium and vitamin E, helpful in relieving premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms.

Continue Learning about Menstruation

How Can I Relieve Mild Menstrual Cramps?
How Can I Relieve Mild Menstrual Cramps?
Are There Alternative Treatments for Menstrual Problems?
Are There Alternative Treatments for Menstrual Problems?
What Is PMS?
What Is PMS?
What Is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?
What Is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.