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Lehigh Valley Children's Hospital

Menstruation

The hormonal process known as menstruation occurs every month to prepare you for pregnancy. The women’s health specialists at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) provide expert care and support for you if you have abnormal menstrual cycles that affect your quality of life.

Menstruation-related concerns are a common reason you might seek care from your OB-GYN. 

Menstrual disorders – PMS, painful or irregular periods, heavy bleeding – not only affect your life by disrupting your usual activities, but they can also cause real health concerns like anemia, infertility or miscarriage.

Our providers work as a team to evaluate what is causing your concern. Then, they collaborate to create a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific need. We provide care for the most complex problems, with treatment options ranging from conservative to aggressive.

Symptoms of menstrual cycle disorders

In adolescence, problem periods can be common as the body is just starting to regulate menstrual cycles. But as an adult, these symptoms can indicate a menstrual disorder that needs attention:  

  • Irregular periods: Periods last more than eight days or occur more frequently than every 21 days are considered irregular
  • Amenorrhea: The absence of a period 
  • Dysmenorrhea: The presence of severe cramping during menstruation
  • Menorrhagia: Heavy, or excessive, bleeding during your period

Common menstruation disorders

Our expert team works together to evaluate the cause of menstruation concerns and identify relief-giving treatments. Common menstruation-related disorders range from minor to severe. They include:

  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS): A range of physically uncomfortable symptoms and minor emotional symptoms that occur before or with your period 
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD): Significant emotional symptoms affect the quality of life and relationships
  • Sexually transmitted infections: Also known as sexually transmitted diseases (STD), gonorrhea and chlamydia cause bleeding between periods 
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS): Cysts develop on the ovaries and affect your body’s ability to establish a viable egg
  • Endometriosis: The tissue that lines the uterus grows outside the womb causing pain and irregular or heavy periods 
  • Uterine fibroids: Non-cancerous growths (tumors) in the uterine wall that cause heavy bleeding or pain
  • Gynecologic cancer: Abnormal bleeding, especially post-menopause, could signal ovarian, endometrial (uterine) or cervical cancer

Treatment for menstruation problems

Your OB-GYN can treat many menstruation-related irregularities. For more complex conditions, they might work collaboratively with:

  • Interventional radiologists
  • Gynecologic surgeons
  • Gynecologic cancer specialists (oncologist)
  • Specialists in blood disorders (hematologist)

Depending on your need, specialists work as a team to provide the right level of treatment including:

Non-surgical treatment

Conservative treatment includes medications, placement of an intrauterine device and complementary therapies like weight loss or stress management.

Less-invasive procedures

We offer less- and non-invasive treatments to correct menstrual irregularities. These include:

  • Uterine fibroid embolization (also called uterine artery embolization), which causes fibroids to die by blocking blood flow to them 
  • Endometrial ablation, which removes a thin layer of the uterine lining to disrupt excessive bleeding patterns

Minimally invasive surgical treatments

When you need a more advanced type of care – including hysterectomy – to correct menstrual irregularities, LVHN offers minimally invasive surgery.

The advantage of minimally invasive treatments, sometimes called laparoscopic, are generally:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Faster recovery
  • Less pain 
  • Decreased infection rates

LVHN offers patients a virtually scarless hysterectomy using the da Vinci® Single-Site® robotic surgery system. This is the most advanced surgical hysterectomy performed today.