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Dr Norafidah: Don’t take heavy menstruation lightly

12th September, 2018


KOTA KINABALU: Women who are experiencing heavy menstruation were told not to take the matter lightly but go for a medical check-up to diagnose the actual causes.

According to statistics, one in five healthy women suffer from this condition but most of them think it is normal.

Menstrual bleeding is actually a condition that would led to cancer in the womb and uterus, said KPJ Sabah Specialist Hospital, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Norafidah Ahmad during an interview with New Sabah Times.

“Those who are overweight, having hypertension and suffering from diabetes are more prone to develop endometrial cancer, and if they are having heavy menses they need to go for health check,” advised Dr Norafidah.

Heavy menses is the unusual increase in the menstrual blood lost or their duration of bleeding is longer than usual and this will affect their quality of life, she explained.

“Typically menses last five-seven days, some people last more than that: 10 days to two weeks, sometimes even more,” she shared.

“The most commonly condition is uterine dysfunction bleeding, probably due to the female hormone imbalance in their bodies. We have to check their womb, sometimes it is also due to other mass in their uterus, such as fibroid,” said Dr Norafidah.

Other diagnostics could be thyroid imbalance and ovulatory problem where they start to have heavy menses after few months of not getting their normal period, she said.

Some women who want to prevent unwanted pregnancy by inserting an intrauterine contraceptive device into their uterus could also cause heavy bleeding too, she said.

Those who suffer from heavy menses should get an examination from a gynaecologist where they probably should get a pap smear or biopsy test too, she said.

“We will use the ultrasound scan to detect any mass, fibroid, cyst and the lining inside the uterus to look for any abnormality. Sometimes, we take out some samples for further testing,” said Dr Norafidah.

Basically, she said the treatment involves medication and operation which is usually the last resort after the hormonal therapy pills have failed to help. Besides pills, a device can be inserted inside the womb to release the hormone, which is something new.

“If this doesn’t work, the other treatment is surgical, for instance, if they have a fibroid, we will remove it. But if it is serious, we have to remove the uterus or womb,” she said.

Overall nationwide, heavy menses has become a common condition among women because of their lifestyle. They eat too many junk foods and over time, gained weight which led to ovulation problem, she noted.

They need to modify their lifestyle to prevent the problem. They need to maintain their weight on the normal range and do exercises as high obesity can cause endometrial cancer, she advised.

She said the heavy menses sometimes affect the teenagers too.

“Those nearing menopause stage will experience heavy menses because their ovulation is disturbed. But, usually those at this age, we recommend them to go for further testing because the chances of getting cancer usually happen at this age.

“So, probably those in their 40s or early 50s, this is the time they have heavy menses, they need to go for further check,” she called.

“The risk factors for those who did not seek treatment when experiencing the complication from heavy menses could develop anemia and the persistent low blood level could disturb the function of the heart,” said Dr Norafidah.

Those who don’t have regular periods are most probably suffering from ovulation problems, and if after three months the period still haven’t come, we recommend to prescribe hormonal tablets to make them bleed as doing so will cut down the risk of getting cancer, she said.

“Either the period is too heavy or less, it can be a related problem,” she said.

Usually the consultation and examination will take half an hour; if there are further tests, the results will take a week to know, she said, adding if the patients have other issues it could extend to one hour or more.

“The treatment we provide is to balance the hormones of the female body as this could reduce the bleeding.

“But, if we detected a fibroid, which is very common in women (every one in three women), we will perform operation to remove it; otherwise if it is too big, it can cause heavy bleeding and disturb the bladder and bowel, and even pregnancy,” said Dr Norafidah.

She said if the fibroid is less than 3cm it is still safe but if it keeps on growing and give rise to other symptoms, the doctors have to remove it because it will be harmful to leave it there in the uterus.

“We want to create an awareness on the importance of doing health screening because a lot of people are still reluctant to see a doctor. We want to encourage to people to check their health regularly,” said Dr Norafidah.

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