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Irregular periods causes and treatments gynecology

Julie Becker, MD, obstetrician and gynecologist at Fairview Clinics – Hugo, and Fairview Clinics – Wyoming, regularly treats women who are concerned about irregular periods. To pinpoint the cause of the problem, Dr. Becker begins with a detailed evaluation of the patient’s medical history.

“The evaluation includes an honest and thorough discussion about the history and current status of the patient’s menstrual cycle and sexual activity,” says Becker. The next step is a thyroid/hemoglobin test to check for hormonal imbalances, and if it’s possible that the woman is pregnant, Dr. Becker orders a pregnancy test. Ultrasounds and biopsies might also be necessary to determine the cause of irregular periods.

Menopause
Menopause, which typically affects women ages 40 to 59, often causes irregular periods. While hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was a popular treatment for menopause, recent studies have linked HRT to higher incidences of heart disease, cancer and strokes. Dr. Becker says, “For women who have severe menopausal symptoms, I can prescribe medications to ease their discomfort. I often recommend estrogen cream for vaginal dryness and hormone-free medications for hot flashes.”

Other causes and treatments
Stress, significant weight gain or loss, thyroid disease, anemia, hormonal imbalances, fibroids,
polyps or endometrial cancer can also be the cause or irregular periods. Depending on the diagnosis, recommended treatments might include life-style changes, medications, and nonsurgical or surgical gynecologic procedures.

If surgery is necessary, our providers who specialize in women’s health, offer several gynecologic surgery options. They provide minimally invasive (little or no cutting or scarring) laparoscopic hysterectomies, endometrial ablation, permanent birth control and robot-assisted surgeries for your complete gynecologic needs. “I believe that all aspects of an individual — physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual — should be taken into account when determining the best treatment plan,” says Dr. Becker.
For heavy periods, some women – who no longer plan to have children – opt for endometrial ablation. This procedure can reduce or stop menstrual bleeding and works by removing the endometrium, or the lining of the uterus (the part that causes the bleeding). There are several types of ablation, one of the more common types is using a quick dose of radiofrequency energy. The endometrium heals by scarring, which usually reduces or prevents uterine bleeding. Ablation can be performed in the operating room or in the provider’s office depending on patient preference.

Immediately after an ablation procedure, some women may experience some cramping, mild pain, nausea or vomiting. Most women feel “normal” and can resume routine activities within a day or so. Be sure to follow any instructions from your doctor, no matter how good you’re feeling. Every woman is different. Plan to give your body about 3 months to fully heal on the inside and resume its normal cycle.

Exceptional Care
From OB-GYN concerns to breast health, heart health to osteoporosis, Fairview offers comprehensive coordinated health services for women of all ages. Our dedicated women’s health specialists deliver preventive care, including annual screenings and expert, individualized care through all stages of a woman’s life.

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