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The condition of experiencing heavy periods is medically known as menorrhagia. A heavy period is the result of abnormal uterine bleeding. An entire sanitary pad can become soaked within an hour and the woman has to change pads frequently for many subsequent hours. Heavy periods are unpleasant, inconvenient and frightening. Sometimes, bleeding is so severe that it interrupts normal daily routines like work, school and social life.

This condition may be caused by medical problems and hormonal imbalances. The endometrium ( uterus lining ) becomes thick and when shedding occurs, it results in heavy periods. Medical problems causing menorrhagia are uterine fibroids, endometrial cancer, inflammation of the vagina, polyps and thyroid problems.

The new treatment for menorrhagia is called Microwave Endometrial Ablation ( MEA ). This is the alternative to hysterectomy. MEA is done with the help of a hand-held microwave applicator. The microwave energy is directed to give out quick and accurate heat to destroy the endometrium. MEA is only suitable for women who don't want to conceive. MEA is irreversible. Before MEA is done, the patient has to take a course of prescribed hormonal drugs- to thin the endometrium lining.

Due to the irreversibility of the process, MEA is only used for women who don't want any more pregnancies. The doctor will advise the woman of the consequences of MEA. If necessary, the couple has to consider carefully before making the decision. Women who suffer from heavy periods but want to conceive in the future cannot try MEA. MEA is not used as a form of birth control.

MEA is a relatively short surgical procedure. The patient spends less time in the hospital than for a hysterectomy. She also recovers faster. The only side effect is abdominal cramps for about 3 days. By then, the patient can resume her daily routines of work, exercise and sexual activities. After MEA, the woman will get a watery discharge which lasts for a few weeks. There is no post-operative pain.

MEA is a highly successful surgery. In only about 10 % of all MEAs need further treatment. After about 2 years, the periods get lighter and the period pains decrease.