PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- It is a subject that most people don't want to talk about. But one-third of all women seek treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding at some point in their lives. For some premenopausal women, a new non-surgical treatment is providing quick relief.
Forty-nine-year old Ann Rich is a graphic designer for a large law firm. For almost a decade, she started feeling sick every month. It started right after she had twins at age 38.
"Once I stopped nursing and got my period back again, it was sort of overwhelming." Rich said.
Rich also struggled with bad migraines that came along with her period. For years she just dealt with it.
Rich said, "I'm sort of like an 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it kind of girl. Surgery kind of scares me."
Stephanie Brown, MD, OB/GYN at the Advanced Women's Care of Pittsburgh says for many women in the years after childbirth and before menopause, periods can bring heavy bleeding and discomfort. For some women, birth control pills can regulate hormones and provide relief, but for others a new ablation technique may be a solution. Doctor brown uses a device called Minerva.
"It's a great option for when you don't want to be as aggressive as a hysterectomy. It kind of meets in the middle." Dr. Brown said.
Minerva is used during an outpatient procedure that takes about two minutes.
Dr. Brown explained, "a thermal conductive apparatus that is placed in the uterus that gently removes endometrial lining and glands that produce heavy bleeding every cycle."
After the procedure, doctor brown says women see an immediate improvement, little or no bleeding for up to three years. Ann rich says when her periods went away, her migraines did, too.
Rich said, "I can handle it and take care of the kids."
Dr. Brown says the Minerva endometrial ablation is for premenopausal women who are finished having children. It is not a good option for women with uterine abnormalities.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Field and Supervising Producer; Hayley Hudson, Assistant Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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TOPIC: MINERVA ABLATION TO STOP AUNT FLO
REPORT: MB #4486
BACKGROUND: Menorrhagia is the medical term for menstrual periods with abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding. Although heavy menstrual bleeding is a common concern, most women don't experience blood loss severe enough to be defined as menorrhagia. With menorrhagia, you can't maintain your usual activities when you have your period because you have so much blood loss and cramping. If you dread your period because you have such heavy menstrual bleeding, talk with your doctor. Excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding can lead to other medical conditions, including anemia or severe pain.
HYSTERECTOMY: A hysterectomy is a surgery to remove a woman's uterus. The uterus is where a baby grows when a woman is pregnant. During the surgery the whole uterus is usually removed. A doctor may also remove the fallopian tubes and ovaries. After a hysterectomy, women no longer have menstrual periods and cannot become pregnant. Some reasons women get a hysterectomy are uterine fibroids, heavy or unusual vaginal bleeding, uterine prolapse, endometriosis, adenomyosis and cancer (or precancer) of the uterus, ovary, cervix, or endometrium.
MINERVA: Stephanie Brown, MD, OB/GYN at Advanced Women's Care of Pittsburgh explained how Minerva ablation works: "It is basically a thermal conductive apparatus that's placed in the uterus that gently removes endometrial lining and glands that produce that heavy bleeding every cycle." Dr. Brown said risk factors are minimal. "The complication rates are very low. The risks are mainly if you puncture the uterus or the cavity is not secure. And Minerva tells you that before you can even start the procedure. There is a safety stop there. In which they do two different kinds of cavity assessment tests that assure that you have a sealed cavity to do the procedure. Someone would not be a good candidate if they have a significantly irregular shaped uterus. With fibroids, and uterine abnormalities they probably would not have as good of a success rate because the apparatus wouldn't fit as well. And usually the apparatus tells you that too."
(Source: Stephanie Brown, MD, OB/GYN)
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