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Dealing with Heavy Menstrual Cycles

written by Guest Blogger April 2, 2014

This might not be a post for everybody, but for those who are interested, I know you`ll enjoy this article by guest blogger, Ashley Hardway. Share it with others who you think might benefit from it!

Down through the generations of our family we have all dealt with menstrual problems. We have a history of heavy bleeding at least as far back as my great-grandmother. Followed by my grandmother, mother, myself, and now even my daughter is suffering from this problem. Over the years things have changed a great deal as far as treatment goes but the suffering attached with these menstrual cycles has not changed.

I have heard stories from my mom about how menstruation issues were handled in the past and I have to say that I am very thankful that we have advanced in the area of sanitary products. I cannot imagine dealing with heavy bleeding before having the more modern sanitary products. I shudder to think of it!

I know that the answer in my grandmother’s day for heavy bleeding was a hysterectomy and this was the case for my mother as well. Hearing about the details of my grandmother’s hysterectomy and her suffering afterwards made me cringe. It was almost to the point of being barbaric in nature. But then my grandmother was born in the early nineteen hundreds and most women were still having their babies at home as well. My mother reassured me that times had changed and that her hysterectomy was not as gruesome.

Just a couple of years ago now my doctor advised me that I should also have a hysterectomy because of heavy bleeding. He explained that they no longer had to cut through the stomach muscles and that they actually only had to make a few small cuts. They now use a scope to see what they are doing and can do everything without a major surgery and long recovery periods.

When talking to the doctor about having my uterus removed he also suggested that I have my ovary removed, I say ovary because I already had one ovary removed from a cyst when I was younger. I asked him the reasons why and he said that ovarian cancer was very hard to detect, that the cancer is generally advanced when they find it so he thought it was best.

Since I knew that the ovaries regulated the hormones I was concerned because I have suffered with migraines since I was a teenager and the migraines were mostly due to the crazy fluctuations of my hormones. I also wondered if I would go into menopause right away if I had my ovary removed. He told me that I may have to go on hormone replacements for a while because with the removal of the ovary which produced the hormones my body would most likely experience menopause.

And regarding the migraines, he did not think that it would cause me to have worse migraines; if anything he thought they would get better. I talked to my family and basically my decision was made because of the possibility and fear of ovarian cancer. I told him to go ahead and take the ovary.

After my hysterectomy I did not automatically go on hormone replacements. The doctor told me to wait and see how I felt, that not all women needed them. I did not really want to go on hormone therapy because I had witnessed my mom taking them for years. Every time she forgot to take her hormone she would come down with a serious headache. It took her years to get off the replacements. Just a few weeks after my hysterectomy, however, I was feeling very weepy and emotional and decided to call the doctor. He put me on a low dose hormone replacement which seemed to really help to overcome the ups and downs in my emotions.

As far as the headaches go I have noticed that they have lessoned in severity and in frequency which is a truly wonderful thing. I do still get them but the ones I do are not nearly as bad. I have also noticed they are generally stress related. This particular side affect of the hysterectomy and ovary removal has been a real blessing.

The hormone replacements I was on were in the form of patches that I wore on my stomach near where the ovaries used to be. After about a year I decided to try and wean myself off of them and see what happened. I was really pleased that I was able to get off of them with very little side affects. I realize that this is not the case for all women and I did talk to my doctor about this ahead of time.

Overall, in my case, having the hysterectomy has been a really good thing for me. But I was fifty two and had two children and had previously decided that I would not have any more children. Now my daughter is suffering with heavy periods and cramping just as I have all my life along with most of the women in our family before us. I hate to think of her suffering as many years as I have and I am really hoping that there have been major strides in treatment since I was a young person.

She has been doing research to find the right doctors and medical treatment facilities in our area. She has found a team of doctors that has gotten very good feedback from their patients and she now has hope that she can get help. She has to be very careful because she has already suffered with anemia once in her life from this heavy bleeding and anemia can lead to heart problems if it is not kept in check.

When I was growing up no one ever said anything about checking my hormone levels. The only treatment option I was ever given was being on birth control pills. I understand they now are able to get much more specific in what hormone you are lacking or have too much of. I am hopeful that today’s medicine can go beyond just a generic birth control pill to a specific type of hormone to counteract the heavy bleeding. I have read about different treatment options on the internet and am very hopeful for the sake of my daughter and other women who are suffering with problematic menstrual cycles.

I am thankful that I chose to have my hysterectomy at fifty two and my ovary removed as well. This is not the answer for every woman and not all menstrual problems are the same. I would recommend to all women that they seek out professional help with menstrual problems and not just accept them as the norm and continue to suffer. As in my daughter’s case anemia has to be taken seriously because it can cause even more severe consequences in the end. There has been so much progress made in the medical field and many menstrual problems that had to be suffered through in the past you can now find help for.

About the Author

Always curious, Ashley Hardway is constantly learning and passionate about sharing what she learns with others. Based in Houston, Texas, she loves to help families grow stronger, help their environments and communities, and keep moving forward! Check out @NannyLady on Twitter to connect and find out more.

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