Excessively long and/or heavy menstrual periods, called menorrhagia, is a common problem in women, causing not only inconvenience and disturbances in quality of life, but can also lead to anemia, and in severe cases not-responsive to medical treatments, a woman can end up having her uterus removed to solve the problem.
No woman should be subjected to this problem, or to the necessity or potential risks of hysterectomy, so doctors are constantly trying to find better, newer therapies. The first issue of course is to find the cause of the excessive bleeding, and if no serious underlying disorder is found, the usual treatments are various medications, including birth control hormones taken by mouth.
Doctors at the University of Birmingham (England) conducted a long-term study to see if an IUD containing the birth control hormone levonorgestrel was better than the usual oral medications used. They found a clear advantage: the IUD approach showed superior results both in the short and long term.
They presented their findings in the January 10 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine (Boston, USA). Led by principal researchers Janesh Gupta, M.D., Joe Kai, M.D., they looked at a “quality of life” scale used to measure menorrhagia, called the MMAS (Menorrhagia Multi-Attribute Scale). This scale measures, from 0 to 100 (the lower the score, the worse the symptoms), all of these areas in the affected woman’s life: practical difficulties, social life, family life, work and daily routine, psychological well-being, and physical health.
The women using the leveonorgestrel IUD system approach improved on the MMAS scale by 33 points. The women using the various traditional oral medications improved by only 21 points. So the IUD approach was clearly superior, and the researchers also found that at 2 years after the start of the study, more women were still preferring to use the IUD approach over oral medications. They found no difference in side effects or risks between the IUD and traditional medications.
The leveonorgestrel IUD system is available in both Brazil and the USA under the brand name Merina, and it works both as a highly reliable contraceptive as well as providing relief from excessive bleeding. Merina decreases bleeding since it thins the lining of the uterus, and diminishes uterine cramping as well as excessive blood flow.
Once inserted by a qualified medical doctor, Merina can work well and stay in place as long as 5 years. A three-year form of the IUD is being developed for women who prefer a shorter-acting device. But whatever device is used, besides seeming to provide superior results, the IUD frees the woman from the necessity to take pills on a daily basis.
If you, or someone you know, complains of excessive menses, find a qualified doctor for an evaluation and ask about Merina. It could just make life more pleasant and free of the need for daily medication.
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