Healthwatch

By: Terri Russell
By: Terri Russell

During normal menstrual flow a woman can expect to lose a little more than an ounce of blood, but some women suffer from a condition known as Menorrhagia. That's where a significant amount of blood is lost each month.

Anemia can result, but there's also a disruption to home and work life.

"It was starting to be about a week a month where I could do nothing," said a patient named Anne, who asked not to be identified. "You couldn't take the risk of going out without possible embarrassment and I didn't feel very well. I felt weak."

The 51-year-old said she wanted a hysterectomy, but because of other health problems and medications that surgery would have been high risk.

Menorrhagia can be caused by an excessive build up of the lining of the uterus called the endometrium. Doctors can use medications or procedures to alter, or destroy the inner lining.

One procedure involves inserting a balloon catheter into the cervix into the uterus a with heated water measuring 189 degrees for about eight minutes. When cooled the balloon is deflated and removed, leaving behind a destroyed uterine lining.

Anne chose to have this procedure called hydro ThermAbalation. A doctor uses a hysteroscope to look inside the uterus, then 195 degree water with saline is circulated throughout the uterus for about ten minutes.

This procedure is reserved for women who have completed their families as the procedure forever alters the uterine lining.

"Fifty percent of the women who have this procedure will have no period at all. Another 50 percent will have decreased periods, lighter periods," said Dr. Richard Rafael, an OB/GYN.

Another benefit to the procedure is that women are back to daily work the next day, as opposed to a hysterectomy which includes a hospital stay.

There are risks involved with this procedure, and it is not the solution for every woman. Its estimated about 22-percent of those who undergo hydro ThermAbaltion will eventually go on the have another procedure or opt for hysterectomy.


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