Information you need
Abnormal bleeding & fibroids
If you experience heavy periods, irregular bleeding, postmenopausal bleeding, or any other abnormal bleeding, it's important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. The staff at Bosque Women’s Care is available to answer your questions and make sure you receive the treatment you need to remain healthy and active.
What causes abnormal bleeding?
Abnormal bleeding is most often the result of a hormone imbalance or changes in the uterus like fibroids or polyps. Hormone imbalances can be caused by some medications, stress, or severe or chronic illnesses.
Another cause of abnormal bleeding can be a miscarriage. If you believe there is any possibility that you were pregnant and had a miscarriage, it's imperative that you see your provider immediately. They will be able to determine the exact cause of the bleeding and offer an appropriate treatment plan.
Can hormone-based birth control help control heavy vaginal bleeding?
Hormone-based birth control is often recommended to control heavy vaginal bleeding associated with irregular periods. If your provider determines that the problems you're having with your periods are associated with a possible hormonal imbalance, oral contraceptives and other forms of hormone-based birth control may be able to help control them.
Using birth control to manage your periods will keep them more regular and keep the bleeding from being excessive. In most cases, hormone replacement therapy can control peri-menopausal bleeding as well.
Why should I consider endometrial ablation?
Uterine ablation techniques treat the lining of the uterus to help with heavy periods. The goal of ablation is to get back to “normal” periods, but some women are lucky enough not to have any periods at all after ablation. At Bosque Women’s Care we usually offer Novasure endometrial ablation, which is performed with Radio Frequency energy. This type of ablation has been shown through years of studies to be the safest and most effective.
Because ablation permanently affects the lining of the uterus, pregnancy is not advised after this procedure. Therefore, excellent birth control is required before scheduling. This may include tubal ligation (“tied tubes”), vasectomy, abstinence, or long-term infertility.
Ablation can be a simple, office-based procedure to solve heavy bleeding problems without having to have a hysterectomy.
What are fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are lumps that grow on your uterus. You can have fibroids on the inside, outside, or in the wall of your uterus.
Your doctor may call them fibroid tumors, leiomyomas, or myomas. But fibroids are not cancer. You do not need to do anything about them unless they are causing problems.
Fibroids are very common in women in their 30s and 40s. But fibroids usually do not cause problems. Many women never even know they have them.
Doctors are not sure what causes fibroids. But the female hormones estrogen and progesterone seem to make them grow. Your body makes the highest levels of these hormones during the years when you have periods.
Your body makes less of these hormones after you stop having periods (menopause). Fibroids usually shrink after menopause and stop causing symptoms.
Often fibroids do not cause symptoms. Or the symptoms may be mild, like periods that are a little heavier than normal. If the fibroids bleed or press on your organs, the symptoms may make it hard for you to enjoy life.
How can fibroids be treated?
If your fibroids are not bothering you, you do not need to do anything about them. Your doctor will check them during your regular visits to see if they have gotten bigger.
If you are near menopause, you might try medicines to treat your symptoms. Heavy periods and many symptoms of fibroids stop after menopause.
There are a number of other ways to treat fibroids.
If heavy periods are the main symptom, treatments like birth control pills, a progestin IUD, or an ablation may help.
If pressure or pain is a significant problem, then there are several procedures or surgeries that may help. Removing the fibroids is called myomectomy and can be done either through the vagina or small incisions in the belly, depending on where the fibroids are located.
A new treatment called Acessa is also available. Dr Swartz is the only doctor in New Mexico to offer this therapy. It uses radiofrequency energy to cut off the blood supply to the fibroids, causing them to shrink and usually reduces heavy periods and many of the other symptoms associated with fibroids like bloating, pelvic pain, urinary frequency, and constipation. It is done through small incisions in the belly (laparoscopy) and requires a visit to the hospital for outpatient surgery.
Another treatment is called uterine fibroid embolization. This can shrink fibroids and does not require surgery, but not all women are good candidates.
The most effective option is hysterectomy (removing the uterus). This can be a big step, and is not an option for some women, especially if they desire to have pregnancies in the future.
Any surgery or procedure where the uterus is left in place means new fibroids may grow and you may need more procedures in the future.
Which option is better for you depends on your age, how big your fibroids are, where they are, and whether you want to have children.
Our research department also often is enrolling patients for new treatments for fibroids. These are studies approved by the FDA to look at new options for women to treat fibroid and the symptoms women experience.
Bosque Women's Care is pleased to offer more options for the treatment of fibroids than any other provider in New Mexico and the region.