Menorrhagia (excessive uterine bleeding) affects some 20 percent of the women of reproductive age worldwide. The following review describes known and theorized etiologies of the disorder, followed by a discussion of treatment options that are currently in use as well as those on the horizon. There is much interest internationally in decreasing hysterectomy rates, particularly for those women with abnormal bleeding and anatomically normal uteri. It is these women who are the focus of this paper. Pharmacotherapy and surgery are the mainstay treatments for such patients with menorrhagia secondary to dysfunctional uterine bleeding. Most commonly, hormonal and nonhormonal medications are followed by dilatation and curettage, and ultimately, in many cases, hysterectomy. Endometrial ablation techniques have been evolving since the 1980s in response to the need for an efficacious, safer, and more cost- effective alternatives to hysterectomy. Hysteroscopic ablation achieves these goals but is difficult technically and requires significant additional training even for otherwise skilled and experienced gynecologists. The current decade has seen the development of many innovative approaches to performing endometrial ablation. These methods are intended to be much simpler to perform with less risk than electrosurgical or laser endometrial ablation. The final section of this article presents the published data to date on these new technologies, which should (in their refined state) revolutionize the treatment of menorrhagia secondary to dysfunctional uterine bleeding.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology