The normal menstrual cycle has a regular pattern that should be similar month after month. Short cycles, missed periods, irregular periods, heavy bleeding, bleeding between periods – all of these are symptoms of an underlying health problem. Depending on the underlying cause, these symptoms can indicate subtle hormonal abnormalities that may put a woman at risk for infertility or miscarriages, increase her risk of cancer, indicate that menopause is approaching prematurely, or in some cases indicate the presence of a hormone-secreting tumor.
THE COMMON THREAD IN PATIENT EXPERIENCES
Many women who seek treatment from their gynecologist or family doctor for irregular bleeding are dissatisfied with the care they received. They express concern that no effort was made to identify the underlying cause of their symptoms and rather, the doctor recommended simply “covering up” the symptom by suppressing the natural menstrual cycle with a hormonal contraceptive. Women worry about the side effects of hormonal contraceptives and especially about the increasing evidence that long-term use of hormonal contraceptives increase their risk of certain kinds of cancer, such as breast cancer.
The Gianna Alternative
Doctors at the Gianna Center recognize these symptoms as a sign of an underlying health problem and start by identifying the cause of the symptoms. They educate the patient about the functions of her body and what can go wrong to cause the symptoms. Testing may include hormonal tests, ultrasound of the uterus and ovaries and sometimes more advanced imaging such as MRI. Once a diagnosis is made, treatment is directed at correcting the underlying problem to restore health and normal function.
Patients interested in finding out what their irregular bleeding might indicate, or who are looking for an alternative to hormonal contraceptives to manage their irregular bleeding, are encouraged to schedule an initial consultation at their local Gianna Center. For patients who do not have access to a Gianna Center in their community, several Gianna affiliates offer remote consultations by phone.